Last Updated 31 Mar 2020

Sources of Motivation Paper

Category Motivation
Essay type Research
Words 1068 (4 pages)
Views 356

Sometimes people have to ask themselves questions such as why do I want to do that, what is it that I need that is going to take to get me from point A to point B, and how do I keep doing what I need to do to accomplish the set task or goal? Many times people wonder what causes an individual to act in a certain way. The word motivation is used in everyday language and can be defined in various ways but, in general, it is referred to as the internal course of action that triggers, directs and maintains the individual’s behaviors toward a particular goal or event (Ferguson, 2000).

Hence, this paper defines motivation, addresses a few sources of motivation, gives an idea about how human motivation and behavior are linked together, as well as look at how motivation is displayed in behavior. Sources of Motivation Motivation can originate from internal sources, described as biological and psychological variables, and from external sources, such as incentives and goals (Deckers, 2010, pg. 1). For example, a biological factor in the motivation to eat would be that the individual got something to eat because his or her stomach was growling or experiencing stomach pangs.

A psychological factor in the motivation to eat would be that an individual ate too much because he or she used food as a way to cope with his or her feelings of depression or loneliness. An environmental factor in the motivation to eat would be that the sight and smell of food triggered the hunger and eating such as the smell of a freshly baked loaf of banana nut bread. An external factor to becoming motivated to cook one’s own freshly baked bread is having the goal to learn how to bake the bread and then market it in a way to bring in extra income.

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In addition to biological, psychological and environmental variables to motivation, it is also said that motivation can be intrinsic or extrinsic. According to Ferguson, internal outcomes can provide internal incentives, and incentive motivation of this type is called intrinsic motivation. When external outcomes provide external incentives, the incentive motivation is called extrinsic motivation (2000, pg. 215). For example, a person who is intrinsically motivated might learn to play the piano because it gives the individual has a sense of pleasure while listening to the music.

A person who is extrinsically motivated might learn to play the piano because he or she is promised monetary gain or some other type of reward. The Relationship between Motivation and Behavior Psychologists, therapists, behaviorists as well as others who work in or interested in human services, many times want to know and participate in studies to help them learn more about what motivates individuals to behave or misbehave in a certain way.

According to Reeves, “motivation study concerns all conditions that exist within the person and within the environment and culture that explain “why we want what we want” and “why we do what we do (2009, pg. iii). ” So, when people think about motivation, they have to consider the individual’s desire, drive, and need to get or accomplish something and whether that motivation is strong or weak as well as the behavior that goes along with it.

To put it in another way, motivation and behavior are like the coin which has the head (motivation) and the tail (behavior). Thus, when explaining the relationship between motivation and behavior, the truth is that you can’t have one without the other. How Motivation Exhibited in Behavior What causes a person to walk in the rain without an umbrella? Could it be that the individual must get to his or her destination no matter the condition of the weather? Or could it be that the individual loves the feel of water coming down from its natural environment?

If not for those reasons, then could it be that the individual uses the rain water during that time to hide his or her tears in an attempt to release some of his or her emotions of sorrow and pain? The way people act will many times depend on the motivation behind it. It’s difficult to understand certain behaviors without looking at the the type of motivation that is connected to it. People many times search out ways that will help them get motivated to move in the direction of their thoughts or of their own perceived needs or preferred wants. The behavior that they will exhibit once they have iscovered the need or source, will then help them know what they can do and then motivate them to get to their desired objective, goal or even the destination that they have set forth for themselves. Simply put, motivation is a kind of an internal force which compels an individual to do something in order to get something whether it be revealed internally or displayed externally. For example, I am motivated to do well in class, thus I must read the material, answer the questions according to recommended standards, participate in class discussions and perform well on assignments given.

Thus, when looking at or attempting to explain motivation with that example, it is not only what causes me to act but also why I took a certain course of action. Motivation is about human strivings, wants, desires, and goals and the behavior exhibited will either be a push or pull that gets the individual to do something. If the desires are strong, the individual will do work hard at trying to fulfill it and if they are weak, he or she may be less motivated to do so.

Motivation, whether it is strong or weak, comes through a number of sources and the behavior that is displayed comes out in different ways. Whether those motivations are due to biological, psychological and environmental variables, the behavior affects the individual’s end whether that end is positive or negative. Whether the motivation is internally, externally, intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, people will do those things are important to them and show forth the behaviors that will get them toward their desired wants, needs, objectives or goals.


Ferguson, E. (2000). Motivation: A Biosocial and Cognitive Integration of Motivation and Emotion. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Incorporated. Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: Biological, Psychological, and Environmental. (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon. Retrieved from Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion. (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved from

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