We enter into interpersonal relationships in order to achieve certain ends, probably to secure livelihood or to find a mate or to achieve status or recognition. Thus motives constitute the basis for entering into social relationships. In other words, we cannot understand social interaction if we do not take into account the motivations underlying the interpersonal relationships or group interactions.
Whatever the cultural pattern may be, whether it is western or oriental, highly industrialized and technological or very primitive, among rich as well as among the poor, there are certain universal activities which are biogenic. Man eats, drinks, sleeps and tries to keep warm.
In other words, he tries to sustain life as a biological organism. How he satisfies these basic physiological needs depends upon the cultural group in which he has been brought up. We find that such behaviour is reaction to an organic demand. It is a reaction to a chemical deficit or to some organic state.
The organism under such conditions is roused to action and this action continues till the equilibrium is restored by the taking of oxygen or food or water etc. Apart from such reactions being universal in the species, a second distinguishing mark of the biogenic motives is that they are unlearned or innate. It is true that human behaviour aroused by any motive is modified by learning.
Even the simplest activity like breathing is regulated by learning; for example, among the singers and athletes. As we know the Yogic exercises have developed systematic ways of training how to breathe and the, control of breathing. Consequently, these activities are looked upon as ‘unlearned’ not because they are not affected by learning but because we are thinking of the conditions under which they first appear in the organism. The biogenic motives are present either at birth or through maturation.
Among the biogenic motives we can include, hunger, thirst, activity-sleep cycle, temperature regulation, sex, evacuation, urination and defecation and avoidance of organic injuries. These activities are found not only among all human beings but also among all the animals.
Most of these physiological motives recur periodically. They are cyclic. We take our food and go to sleep at regular intervals. Of course, even this periodicity may be affected by social influences. For instance, people in the cities take four meals a day while those in the villages take two meals a day.
The Social Drives:
Just as we find that physiological drives are universal, similarly we find that human beings strive to belong to a group and to acquire a position or a status in every society. Motives like these are to be found universally among all the human groups. Undoubtedly such activities are affected by the social setting to a much greater extent than the physiological drives.
(a) The Need for Affection:
The most fundamental social drive arises out of the need for affection. This need has two expressions. We have the need to receive affection from others, we have also the need to give affection to others. This need is not something peculiarly human. We find it among birds as well as the animals. The domesticated animal gives affection and longs for affection. Often times we find people expressing that a dog is much more reliable than the human beings.
The dog runs to the master the moment he goes home and the master feels that here at least is one being which needs him. To be needed is something basic. When a man feels that he is not needed by anybody, when nobody wants him, nobody loves him, he feels that life is not worth living. This is where we find that family is a very important unit in social life. The parent-child relationship, the husband-wife relationship, the love of siblings, these have a very important position in the family situation.
How important this fundamental need for affection is to the personality of man. Due to wrong upbringing man becomes selfish and finds that nobody needs him, nobody loves him. He forgets that he has not developed the art of giving affection to others. We receive affection to the extent that we are able to give affection. The domesticated animal as well as the child who do not receive affection will become ‘wild’.
Self-assertion is another very important social drive. This may manifest itself in the form of self-display. An individual may undertake difficult tasks to prove his abilities and to demonstrate his powers. He may try to differentiate himself from other people through dress, professional status, club-membership and such other activities, or he may fight for economic, political or intellectual freedom. It may even take the form of physical fighting or verbal argument.
Self-assertion also takes the form of domination. Each tends to dominate over the small primary group or even over the whole secondary group. Even lizards show patterns of domination and subordination. The heaviest males are at the top of the hierarchy of power. Further the lizards fight hard to defend the territory and control some area of movement. Similarly birds also try to establish a ‘territory’; the male drives out the other males.
There is also the dominance-submission pattern among the birds. Cases of ‘despotism’ of one bird over the other have also been observed and reported. The most aggressive bird becomes the ‘leader’. The studies of Zukerman and Maslow have shown that there is the struggle for dominance among the monkeys and the apes.
The dominant monkey reserves all the available food for itself and shows aggression towards the other members of the group who show subordination by being passive or by flight. There is also social hierarchy of power among the monkeys and the apes.
Thus we find that dominance-submission behaviour is not peculiar to the human beings. On the other hand, it is through cultural efforts that an individual or a group renounces domination. These two tendencies of social behaviour are closely correlated when an individual shouts loudly. He may become dominant and the others in the primary group may become submissive. It is quite possible that a person who is dominant in one situation may become quite submissive in another situation.
Another manifestation of self-assertion is the desire to be recognized, to be accepted as an equal, or as a superior, by the other individuals in the group. We find the prototype of this need for recognition even among the animals and children. It is a familiar fact that there is jealousy among the little dogs brought up in the house; if one dog is petted the other becomes restless and starts barking and attacking the favoured dog. There is the jealousy among the little children below 4 or 5 years. When the younger child is fondled the elder child becomes jealous. He may become aggressive or he may become sullen. This desire for preference and resentment of preference being shown to the rivals is a characteristic feature among children.
Unfortunately, many adults also are unable to get over this childish way of reacting. It is well known that there are rivalries based on the need for recognition not only among the individuals but also among groups. A small country may feel hurt if a big country shows preference to the neighbouring country by giving it economic aid.
It is well known that the Army officers, civilian officers, as well as artists vie with each other to obtain the recognition of the feudal Raja or Maharaja. That is why the palaces of the small as well as the big countries in the East as well as in the West are always full of plots and counterplots to gain preference and recognition from the ruler. We experience a great pleasure when our work is approved and recognized and rewarded. On the other hand, to be ignored is a severe form of punishment.
We resent that nobody recognizes our virtues, our skills and our accomplishments. Society has developed many forms to show its approval and recognition of individuals as well as groups. We find this, not only in the feudal and imperialistic organizations but even in the socialistic and communistic organizations. The British set-up a number of titles and awards as a sign of recognition of ‘loyalty’ among the Indian citizens. This was greatly resented as a technique adopted by the foreigner to win the loyalty of the colonial. But even in the communist Russia, Stalin prizes and Stalin medals were greatly coveted.
In India also, a new system of awards for distinction has been developed. This is an indication of a double attitude towards recognition. Every individual needs recognition but is also shy of it and he resents if another is recognized. This need for recognition is a very powerful motive which makes an individual as well as a group to put forth the highest effort whether it is at home, in the class room, or in the wider society. Whether we are children, adolescents or adults we are all of us eager to obtain recognition and work incessantly and put forth our best efforts to obtain it.
In brief, we may say that the two basic drives are, the need to belong and the need for status and power. These two needs may manifest themselves in diverse forms. Both these have their roots in animal behaviour as well as child behaviour. But both are greatly influenced by the group in which the individual is brought up.
An individual may strive to attain status by destroying his whole property or by acquiring untold wealth or learning. Similarly the need to belong may express itself in juvenile delinquency depending upon the situation and circumstances of the individual upbringing.
Physiological and Social Drives:
It is very difficult to tell whether the social drives are more powerful or the physiological drives are more powerful. When there is tremendous physiological deprivation then the social needs may be thrown to the winds. Neither consideration of belonging nor consideration of status will prevent an individual forced to starve due to natural reasons like being isolated by devastating floods, or due to social reasons like a concentration camp, none of these reasons will prevent him from begging food or water, from any person.
Similarly pursuit of wealth or pursuit of fame may impel an individual to even deny bodily needs. He may work without food, without taking rest in order to obtain status. A woman may mortify her body in order to maintain her slender figure or a Sanyasi may mortify his body in order to attain salvation. So it is difficult to determine whether the social drives or the physiological drives are more potent. It depends upon the individual as well as the circumstances.
Social Drives are affected by Social Norms:
The physiological drives as well as the social drives are both greatly modified by the group in which the individual has been brought up. Eating, satisfaction of hunger, is a physiological drive common not only to all human groups but common to animal as well as human beings. How we eat, when we eat, what we eat is determined by the group in which we have been brought up. This is where we can distinguish between the biogenic aspect and the sociogenic aspect of motives. Among human beings, eating rice or eating chapatis is sociogenic while eating itself is biogenic. Similarly wearing clothes depends upon the social drive regarding status and recognition. It is affected by the norms of the group in which we have been brought up.
Whether we wear cheap cotton clothes or costly cotton clothes depends upon several conditions under which we have been brought up and in which we are living. To take another illustration, pursuit of wealth is one of the important motives among the civilized groups in the world today. This is not a primary drive, it is only a secondary drive. Wealth is sought because it enables us to satisfy certain physiological needs and certain social needs.
But pursuit of wealth may itself become a powerful motive without relevance either to the physiological needs or to the social needs. In this respect, the way of life of the Indian is rather peculiar. Pursuit of wealth is perfectly in order for a grihasta. But when a man has done his social duty by his children, the Indian way of life enjoins renunciation of wealth. Accumulation of wealth according to Indian traditions is good neither to the individual nor to the society.
All modern societies are now approaching this standpoint. In the capitalistic countries as well as in the communist countries it is now well recognized that accumulation of wealth beyond a certain limit by an individual should be prevented. Incomes are taxed and inheritance of wealth is taxed. In India, today we have besides these taxes, wealth tax, as well as expenditure tax.
Motives and Incentives:
Motives are based upon biological as well as the social needs of the organism. Among the human beings the physiological as well as social drives are affected by the cultural patterns. Motives are a set of internal conditions which give rise to action in an organism. Society sets up conditions to support or initiate, decrease or inhibit or to direct activities. These are incentives.
Thus we find that incentives are conditions setup in order to alter behaviour of other individuals. Thus incentives may be positive or negative. A positive incentive reinforces action while a negative incentive inhibits action. The modification of the individual by the society is based upon the operation of these incentives. This is how social learning takes place.
Incentives Modify Behaviour:
Material rewards are positive incentives which release drives and thus influence the speed and accuracy of performance. Similarly punishment or the removal of a reward is a negative incentive which inhibits certain drives. Apart from rewards and punishments, praise and reproof or scolding are also very powerful as incentives affecting behaviour. This is how the puppy learns to respond to its name and to give up urination and defecation within the house. It is rewarded with a biscuit if it does what the owner wants him to do.
We use not only rewards and punishments, we also use affection as an incentive to socialize puppies. If the puppy responds correctly we bestow affection on it by patting it, embracing it; if it commits errors we show our displeasure through our facial expression as well as through language, particularly the aspect of intonation.
In the socialization of the infant also all these various incentives are used by the parents and later on by the teachers in the school. The leader of the group is one who is an adept in fitting incentives to the personality of his followers. It is the man who is able to make use of the appropriate incentives that can become a leader of a group. These incentives aid the learning process. They do not originate behaviour. They can only modify behaviour. Incentives tap the motives and change the attitudes of the individuals in the group. When appropriate incentives are given the efficiency of performance improves considerably.
Rewards and Punishments:
A good deal of experimental work has been done in the last half a century regarding the influence of rewards and punishments on behaviour. We may give an account of some of these studies. In the mirror- drawing experiment, punishments as well as rewards are used as incentives to study their effect upon learning. Punishment informs the individual that his response is not correct. It does not indicate what the right response is.
On the other hand, reward, as it is associated with the correct response, is of a greater value in fixing the right response. A combination of rewards for right responses, and punishments for wrong responses will lead to more efficient learning. Long ago Hamilton showed that the same physical stimulus may be used as a reward or as punishment depending upon the situation.
For example, the ringing of the bell may be used as a punishment if it is rung whenever there is an error. When this is done the individual develops a negative attitude towards the bell. He does not like the ringing of the bell and his aim is to try to see that the bell does not ring. On the other hand, when the bell is used as a reward the attitude towards the bell changes. He likes the ringing of the bell and he tries hard to make it ring.
Experimental work has also been done to study the effects of monetary reward. Meier reported that mentally retarded children improved their reading skill when money or candy were offered. Money was immediately exchanged to candy by these children. On the other hand, in industrial units the effect of monetary reward on production is different.
Several reasons like the inevitable increase of the output norm, the possible retrenchment of workers, the likelihood of wage-cuts in depression, and the most important of all, the social norms within the primary groups in the factory, all these make money incentives valueless in industry.