Last Updated 28 Jul 2020

Motivation and Emotion

Words 936 (3 pages)


Motivation has long been studied and explained by wide a variety of factors by nearly all psychologists beginning with Freud and Maslow, whose theories are still widely taught. Is motivation influenced by reward, or are there emotional factors at work that affect the outcome or existence of motivation? Do our emotions motivate us to do what is best for us as an individual, the species as a whole, or for someone else? The history of various emotional and motivational theories will be discussed and the idea that emotion is directly involved with the different types of motivation will be explored along with a sampling of research supporting this supposition. It is our hypothesis that certain emotional triggers affect motivation depending on the type of trigger and emotional state of the participant.

Annotated Bibliography

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Bickhard, Mark H. (Date Unknown). “Motivation and Emotion: An interactive process model”. Lehigh University [WWWdocument]. URL

Mark Bickhard is a Henry R. Luce Professor of Cognitive Robotics and the Philosophy of Knowledge, Director at Lehigh University, Institute for Interactivist Studies and Editor, New Ideas in Psychology. His teaching and research experience is extensive. Mr. Bickhard has authored or co-authored four books and his achievements include recognition from many esteemed professional associations. He continues his work on psychology and philosophy with an emphasis on motivation.
Changing Minds (2007). “Motivation”. Explanations. [WWWdocument]. URL asserts that they are “the largest site in the world on all aspects of how we change what others think, believe, feel and do.” The information on motivation theories is comprehensive and includes “source credibility”. The site will be used to outline an overview of current and historical theory regarding motivation.

Mark Devon studied evolutionary theory at Harvard University. Through his studies in evolution he developed categories for the most common human emotions and asserts “You are always doing what is best for the species.” He explores how the various human emotions are related to this motivation. The “conception” type of emotion guides one’s behavior.

Heffner Media Group (2004). “Motivation and Emotion”. Allpysch Online Chapter 7, [WWWdocument]. URL

Heffner Media Group, Inc. is a group of educators from a university who first brought education materials in technology and mental health online in the early years of the Internet. Specializing in media for educational settings, the group is currently working on several projects related to online education, including online training for mental health professionals in the form of continuing education. The Allpsych website focuses on topics relating to psychology and summarizes the findings of well-known professionals in the field.

Isaacowitz, D.M. (2006). “Motivated Gaze: The view from the gazer”. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 68-72. [WWWdocument]. URL

Dr. Isaacowitz is in charge of the Emotion Lab at Brandeis University. He prepared this study with the theory that psychological properties influence the factors in gazing: “Optimists gaze less at negative, unpleasant images than do pessimists, and older individuals look away from negative faces and toward happy faces.” This is an important aspect of motivation in that optimists will avoid behaviors (lack of motivation) when faced with negative images.

James, William (1884). “What is an Emotion?” Mind, 9, 188-205. Classics in the History of Psychology [WWWdocument]. URL

Long before modern scientific method, William James attempted to explain the concept of emotion. His theory states “the bodily changes follow directly the PERCEPTION of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the [p.190] same changes as they occur IS the emotion.” His exploratory hypothesis was the basis for much later research and important in its historical significance.

Johnson, Kelly M. (1997). “Human Sexual Motivation”. California State University, Northridge. [WWWdocument]. URL

The author performed her research study at California State University with the intent to explore motivations that prompt sexual behavior. “As a factor involved in sexual motivation, it is not unusual to be associated with motivation and to simultaneously be associated with other variables that are themselves identified as related to sexual motivation and which may or may not belong to the same category. Thus, identifying categories and then placing the elements of sexual motivation into discrete categories is a difficult, if not impossible task. Rather than attempting to do so, the current author will identify the variables that have been linked to sexual motivation and identify, where possible, any mediating variables.”

Maslow, A.H. (1943). “A Theory of Human Motivation”. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396. Classics in the History of Psychology [WWWdocument]. URL

Maslow was one of the first in his field to define motivation and his classic theory is still used today. Maslow’s positive theory of motivation is based on “basic needs”, including the need for self-actualization, whereby emotion plays a large factor. “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy.”

Brian Parkinson, contributing editor, is a professor at the University of Leicester, England. His contribution refers to “the psychology of emotion. The concept is introduced by cataloguing examples of emotions (love, anger, fear, and so on), by exploring the internal constitution of emotional reactions, and finally by contrasting emotion with cognition. Emotion is conceived as a syndrome of more or less integrated components usually including the following four factors: cognitive appraisals, bodily reactions, action tendencies, and expressive movements.” Sexual motivation is one of the many motivating factors influenced by emotion (pleasure).

The author, Joanna Schaffhausen, earned a B.S. in psychology from Tufts University in 1996. She is currently a graduate student at Yale University, interested in the cellular mechanisms of learning and memory. Her article for Scientific Learning, an organization that collects psychological research findings, focuses on the aspect of reward as motivation and how emotional factors influence both learning and motivation.

Motivation and Emotion essay

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