The following points highlight the top three theories of motivation. The theories are: 1. Drive Reduction Theory 2. Humanistic Theory 3. Cognitive Theories or Expectancy Theory.
1. Drive Reduction Theory:
Drive reduction theory of motivation suggests that when people lack some basic biological requirements such as water, a drive to obtain that requirement (in this case the thirst drive) is produced. According to this view biological needs or states of deprivation arising within the body creates unpleasant state of arousal.
Drives are the subjective feelings associated with needs that we typically describe as hunger, thirst and so on. Drive can also be defined as motivational tension or arousal that energizes behaviour in order to fulfill a need.
In order to eliminate such feeling and to restore a balanced psychological state known as homeostasis we should engage in certain activities. Thus according to drive theory, motivation is basically a process in which various biological needs drive us to satisfy these needs. Behaviour that helps to reduce the appropriate drives are strengthened (found to be repeated). Those that fail to produce such effects are weakened and will not be repeated when the drive is present once again.
2. Humanistic Theory:
Abraham Maslow’s humanistic theory of motivation considers different motivational needs to be ordered in a hierarchy and he suggests that motivation refers to “striving for personal growth”. He proposed the concept of a ‘need hierarchy’, a progression containing ‘deficiency needs’—physical and social survival—at the bottom and uniquely human ‘growth needs’—at the top.
The most basic needs are those that are physiological needs (primary drives such as needs for food, water, sleep, etc.). In order to move up the hierarchy a person must have these basic physiological needs met. Safety needs (needs for feeling, safe and secure) come next in the hierarchy, physiological and safety needs comprise the lower order needs.
Only when the basic lower order needs are met, a person consider fulfilling higher order needs such as the need for love and a sense of belonging, esteem and self- actualization, love and belongingness; needs include the need to obtain and give affection and to be a contributing member of some group or society.
After these needs are fulfilled the person strives for esteem. In Maslow’s thinking, esteem relates to the need to develop a sense of self, to develop a sense of self-worth by knowing that others are aware of one’s coexistence and value.
Once these four sets of needs are fulfilled the person is ready to strive for the highest level need, self-actualization. Self-actualization is a state of self-fulfillment in which people realize their highest potential (self-fulfillment is the desire to become all that one is capable of being).
Maslow’s hierarchy shows how our motivation progresses up the pyramid from a basis in the broadest, most fundamental biological needs to higher order ones. Self-actualization in Maslow’s theory, “self-actualization is a state of self-fulfillment in which people realize their highest potential”.
Hierarchy of needs:
In Maslow’s theory “the suggestion that human needs exist in a hierarchy, so that higher-level needs will not be aroused or satisfied until lower level of needs are satisfied”.
3. Cognitive Theories or Expectancy Theory:
Cognitive approaches to motivation flows on the role of our thoughts, expectations and understanding of the world. For instance, according to one cognitive approach, expectancy value theory, two kinds of cognitions underlie our behaviour.
The first is our expectation that behaviour will cause us to reach a particular goal and the second is our understanding of the value of that goal to us. For example, the degree to which we are motivated to study for a test will be based jointly on our expectation of how well our study will pay off (in exams of a good grade) and the value we place on getting good grade. If both expectation and value are high, we will be motivated to study diligently. If either one is low, our motivation to study will be relatively lower.
Cognitive theories of motivation make a distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation causes us to participate in an activity for our own enjoyment rather than for any tangible reward that it will bring us. In contrast, extrinsic motivation causes us to do something for a tangible reward.
According to researchers the two types of motivation we are more apt to preserve work for higher quality when motivation for a task is intrinsic rather than extrinsic.
Theories on Motivation:
1. Arousal theory:
Similar to Clark Hull’s Drive Reduction Theory, the arousal theory states that we are driven to maintain a certain level of arousal in order to feel comfortable. Arousal refers to a state of emotional, intellectual and physical activities.
It is different from the above theory, however, because it does not rely on only reduction of tension, but a balanced amount. It also does better to explain why people climb mountains, go to school, or watch sad moves, etc.
2. Psychoanalytic theory:
As part of this theory, Freud believed that humans have only two basic drives, the life and death drives. According to this theory everything we do, every thought we have and every emotion we experience, has one of the two goals. It help us to survive or to prevent our destruction. Sigmund Freud believed that most of our knowledge about these drives is buried in the unconscious part of the mind.