What do we do it all for? We get up, get dressed, and get on with our day because we are driven by motivation. To investigate this concept research will define motivation, uncover how motivation is expressed, as well as analyze the relationship between the brain, motivation, and behavior. Motivation is defined several ways in many different articles and books around the world, but at the root of them, all motivation directly affects behavior.
According to Reeve (2015), motivation is described as the reason individuals behave the way they do. It is also described as a concept that energizes and empowers individuals regarding better engagement, performance and well-being. Motivation is an innate process, that support an individual with energy and direction needed to interact with environment in an open, adaptive manner to problem solve. For example, motivation can be seen as the type of fuel one uses to fill up the tank of the car called ‘life’. If there is little motivation the car will not go far, as well as if it is the wrong type of fuel (motivation), it will cause problems with the car’s system and behavior. Because motivation is an innate process, it can be difficult to measure in others at times. We cannot often see another person’s motivation by just looking at them.
Reeve (2015) states two ways to understand motivation in another individual. Observation is the first way to understand another individual’s motivations. Researchers has investigated motivation so we are able to observe motivation through displays of behavior, psychophysiology, engagement, as well as brain activations. Close attention to ones precursors that intensify motivational conditions is a second way that we can understand another individual’s motivations. Precursor conditions involve external events and social contexts that directs motivations and emotions to rise or fall, states Reeve (2015). For example, a person that is fired from there job and feels that they have no one to turn to will display a different level of motivation than a newly hired individual, with a strong support system due to internal resources of stability.
Observing motivation through displays of behavior can highlight its intensity in an individuals actions and expression. An ambitious person takes initiative to reach goals, as well as sets a positive example for others can be seen as highly motivated. On the other hand, a person that shows little initiative and lacks ambition presents as low-intensity motivation. Obradonic (2012) infers that psychophysiology is the relationship between emotional functioning and the make-up involved in mental states. The activities of the hormones, heart, vision, electrodermal, and skeletal systems are all classified as five ways that our brains and our body express motivation and emotion.
This can be further broken down and explained as the communication between emotional and mental states which direct motivation. Engagement is another way that motivation can be expressed and observed. The level of involvement in an activity or situation from an individual signifies the level of engagement, which underlies motivation. For example, a student that rarely studies will show low engagement in school work and homework, as well as show a lack of motivation to actively engage in subject matter, which will lead to failing grades. High engagement of studying from a student will yield motivation to make good grades, as well as understand subject matter. Brain activations trigger motivation and emotional states through brain activity and the release of hormones to regulate the body’s systems.
Brain and Behavior related to Motivation
The brain communicates through neurotransmitters that send signals to instinctively release or withhold particular hormones from the brain, which plays a role in the regulation of behavior. Reeve (2015) investigates a motivated and emotional brain, which produce wants, needs, urges, desires, etc. that direct and guide behavior. Inner subcortical brain and the outer cortical brain compounds to make the motivated and emotional brain. Impulses, urges and emotion-rich motivations are chiefly unconscious and automatic. Fear, hunger, anger, anxiety, pleasure, and thirst are all examples and functions of the subcortical brain. Thought out rich motivations is deliberate and involve executive and rational control. Plans, goals, strategies, self-affirming beliefs, and values are all examples and function of the cortical brain.
Here the investigated the concept of motivation was defined, we identified how motivation expressed, as well as analyzed the relationship between the brain, motivation, and behavior. Motivation is the reason individuals behave the way they do and is expressed through behavior, engagement, psychophysiology, and brain activations. Lastly, the brain and behavior have a direct affect on motivation through the psychological and physiological processes that occur. Motivation is a complex concept that involves many moving parts to guide and mold behavior. The more aware of our behavior we can truly live a life of well-being.
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Obradović, J., & Boyce, W. T. (2012). DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY OF
EMOTION PROCESSES. Monographs Of The Society For Research In Child
Development, 77(2), 120-128. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5834.2011.00670.x
Reeve, J. (2015). Understanding Motivation and Emotion (6th ed.). Retrieved from
Wellness Coach, Veteran, and Founder of WildPhlower Wellness Coaching Company. Encouraging Motivational Thinking & Speaking.