MOTIVATION AND EMOTION
WHAT IS SELF-QUANTIFICATION?
• Also referred to as „self-tracking‟, self
quantification is “a way of applying the social
web, apps and consumer technology for
personal health and productivity” (CIPR, 2013).
Evans (2012) refers to self-quantification as “self-knowledge through
numbers” Evans goes on to refer to this phenomenon as “a rational,
scientific approach to self-improvement, which means keeping
account of yourself, so that you can see what progress you‟re making,
which interventions are really working, and which are a waste of time”
“Members of the quantified-self movement have invented bio-digital
devices to track their daily calorie intake, alcohol intake, heart-rate, bloodsugar levels, exercise regimes, social life, sex life, emotions (and)
HOW DOES THIS PRINCIPLE FIT INTO
BROADER PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTEXT?
SELF-REGULATION AS A PROCESS:
• Self-regulation is often thought of as a cylindrical
process. Reeve (2009) refers to the self-regulation
process as “an ongoing, cylindrical process… it
involves forethought, action and reflection”.
Bandura also posited that self-regulation involves three
processes; “self-observations, self-judgements and self-reactions”
(Bandura as cited in Zimmerman & Schunk, 2011).
Therefore, literature regarding self-regulation asserts that it is a
cylindrical process involving three distinct steps and features
include observing aspects of one‟s functioning, goalsetting, implementation intentions, evaluating performance (with a
standard) and self-monitoring as well as self-evaluation.
THE RISE OF SELF-QUANTIFICATION:
• The phrase „quantified-self‟ was first used by Gary
Wolf and Kevin Kelly, editors of wired magazine, in
2007 (CIPR, 2013).
According to Morozov (2013) Wolf and Kelly cofounded the quantifiedself movement. In 2010; “Wolf penned something of a manifesto for this
nascent movement… which was published in… The New York Times
Magazine, launching the Quantified-self movement not just nationally but
globally” (Morozov, 2013).
This article contained four factors that Wolf speculated led to the swift rise
of this movement in recent years these included…..
THE RISE OF SELF-QUANTIFICATION:
FOUR FACTORS THAT AIDED IT’S
SUCCESS AS DESCRIBED BY WOLF:
• “electronic sensors shrank in size and became more
powerful… once they entered our
smartphones, they became ubiquitous… social
media :–from Facebook to Twitter- made sharing
seem normal… the idea of cloud computing made
it possible (and acceptable) to offload one‟s :data
onto distant servers, where merged with the data of
other users, it can be expected to yield better
results” (Morozov, 2013).
HOW DOES SELF-QUANTIFICATION
ALIGN WITH THEORIES OF
• There are several overarching themes that
encompass the concepts discussed in this
presentation. These are general concepts
established through research into motivation that
help us to better understand motivation in a
INTRINSIC AND EXTRINSIC
• There are two main categories into which human motivation falls.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation refers to “the inherent propensity to engage in one‟s
interests and to exercise one‟s capacities and, in doing so, to seek out
and master optimal challenges” (Deci & Ryan as cited in Reeve, 2009
Intrinsic motivation “emerges spontaneously from psychological needs
and innate strivings… when people are motivated intrinsically, they
act out of interest „for the fun of it‟” (Reeve, 2009). Essentially intrinsic
motivation stems from one‟s capacity and desire to pursue an interest
into stages of mastery for the sake of enjoyment.
Extrinsic motivation “arises from environmental incentives and
consequences… praise, attention… tokens, approval… public
recognition… extrinsic motivation arises from some consequence that is
separate from the activity itself” (Reeve, 2009).
THEORIES OF MOTIVATION RELATING
TO SELF-QUANTIFICATION –
MOTIVATION BENEFITS ADAPTATION:
• “Motivations and emotions provide tremendous
resources that allow people to adapt to
environmental changes… anyone who tries to lose
weight, write a creative poem, or learn a foreign
language without first recruiting motivation will
quickly realise that motivation benefits
adaptation… take away the motivational
states, and people would quickly lose a vital
resource they rely on to adapt and maintain wellbeing” (Reeve, 2009).
Adapting to one‟s surrounding environment and conscious attempts to
maintain well-being are subject to one‟s motivational drive. Conscious
effort requires motivation, without it, it is likely such efforts will fail.
THEORIES OF MOTIVATION RELATING TO SELFQUANTIFICATION – MOTIVATION INCLUDES BOTH
APPROACH AND AVOIDANCE TENDENCIES:
• Are you motivated because you want to avoid
failure or because you want approach and excel in
Many self-quantification technologies include settings and features
that cater for both approach and avoidance motivated persons.
Approach motivation is “the energisation of behaviour by, or the
direction of behaviour toward, positive stimuli (objects, events,
possibilities)“ (Elliot, 2008).
Avoidance motivation is “the energisation of behaviour by, or the
direction of behaviour away from, negative stimuli
(objects, events, possibilities)” (Elliot, 2008).
THEORIES OF MOTIVATION RELATING TO SELFQUANTIFICATION – TO FLOURISH MOTIVATION
NEEDS SUPPORTIVE CONDITIONS:
• When seeking motivation it is important to surround
oneself with supportive environs as “those who are
surrounded by social contexts that support and
nurture their needs and strivings show greater
vitality, experience personal growth, and thrive
more than those who are surrounded by social
neglect and frustration” (Keyes, Ryan & Deci as
cited in Reeve, 2009).
In a nutshell; in order to successfully promote motivation one‟s social and
physical environment must be supportive.
SOCIAL NEEDS AND SELFQUANTIFICATION:
• According to Plotnik and Kouyoumdjian
(2011, p.332) “social needs are needs that are
acquired through learning and experience”. Reeve
(2009) asserts that “social needs arise and activate
emotional and behavioural potential when needsatisfying incentives appear”. So, social needs
facilitate emotional and behavioural actions when
potentially socially satisfying inducements present
Social needs have the potential to motivate behaviour. Since selfquantification technologies often feature social aspects as a means of
sharing users‟ progress, social gratification serves as a means of
motivating achievement. As such, human social needs are highly
relevant to self-quantification in the 21st century.
SOCIAL NEEDS AND SELFQUANTIFICATION:
• It can be asserted that improvements and progress recorded
by self-quantifying technologies are in part due to motivation
resulting from social needs.
• Many of these technologies feature the option to upload
progress and data collected to social media websites like
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There is also often a feature
allowing one to send an email or text message showing the
details of their achievements.
• These features allow users to employ self-quantification
technologies for the purpose of seeking social
gratification, acceptance and praise from their peers via
• For many self-quantifiers the motivation behind logging an
extra kilometre on one‟s fitness app may be the revere of
one‟s peers when one upload the data associated with this
workout to social media.
ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION AND
• Spielberger (2004) refers to achievement motivation as “the
desire to excel at effortful activities”.
• Research by McClelland “found that the goals that people
with a high need for achievement set for themselves are
challenging but realistic” (McClelland as cited in
Nevid, 2009, p.289).
• Self-quantifying technologies may help users to be pulled
toward achievement motivation or to engage in avoidance
• Achievement motivation refers to “the need to excel in one‟s
endeavours” (Nevid, 2009, p.289). Avoidance motivation
refers to “the motive or desire to avoid failure”
(Nevid, 2009, p.289).
• Self-quantifying technologies may have features that
encompass both of these concepts in order to motivate users.
CASE STUDIES: POPULAR SELFQUANTIFICATION TECHNOLOGIES:
• The majority of popular self-quantification technologies are
„apps‟ (applications) available for download on
smartphones, tablets and Ipods. Although some require a
specific piece of equipment that logs and transmits data
often to a website or social media so one may compare their
data with that of others or simply display one‟s progress.
• These technologies are often internationally successful and
available in a global market.
• To provide you with a better understanding of the intricacies
and commonalities of modern self-quantification this
presentation will take an in-depth look at some of the most
• This presentation focuses on the largest sector of the selfquantification technology industry – Health and fitness data
tracking and sharing technologies.
CASE STUDY: ‘7 MINUTE WORKOUT
• At this time one of the top selling
self-quantifying technologies in
the apple store is a fitness guide
called „7 minute workout
• Advertisement for the product
boasts: “this app takes this
research-proven workout and
guides you through the process.
Further, it tracks your results, and
makes it fun by allowing you to
unlock rewards as you continue
working out” (Fitness guide
• This app features intrinsic and
concepts. That is one is
motivated to achieve by the
want or need to unlock „rewards‟
in token form in-app.
• The app‟s listing also
describes how a recent
update now includes a
“sharing option that lets you
tell your friends about the
app via twitter, Facebook or
text” (Fitness guide Inc., n.d.).
• This feature aligns with social
theories of motivation.
Fitness guide Inc., 2013.
• Another tremendously popular
self-quantification technology is
• The „zip‟ “wireless activity
tracker” is a data logging sensor
that “tracks your steps, distance
and calories burned – and syncs
those stats to your computer
and select smartphones”.
• Fitbit advertisement boasts: “it
(the fitbit device) celebrates
how much more you do each
day. Zip™ encourages you to
set goals, challenge friends, and
go farther - one step at time.
That's how you turn everyday life
social, achievable, awesome
path to fitness”.
Fitbit technologies also embrace
approach and intrinsic motivation.
This is so as the technology
encourages users to set goals and
strive to achieve them. Token
achievement enables this.
Social motivation is also used in this
technology as social sharing allows
comparison and display of data and
Fitbit app. 2013.
• The Nike+ technology is
advertised as “Map your
runs, track your progress, and
get the motivation you need
to keep going. The Nike+
Running app tracks
distance, pace, time and
calories burned with
GPS, giving you audio
feedback as you run.
Automatically upload to
nikeplus.com to see your
runs, including your
route, elevation and
• This technology employs intrinsic
and approach motivation
techniques as it allows the user
to track their progress and set
distance goals to achieve.
• Like so many self-quantification
technologies Nike+ allows users
to share their data via social
media and the Nike+ webpage
supplying them with social
HOW SELF-QUANTIFIED ARE YOU?
• If you answer „yes‟ to a question add the number of points with which it
corresponds, if no, do not add any points. The sum of scores at the end
of the quiz reveals your self-quantification data!
Do you have access to one of the following; a
smartphone, tablet, computer, the internet? (If yes add 1 point).
Do you use any of the following social media websites:
Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? (If yes add 1 point).
Do you use any of the following apps/websites?:
Nike+, MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal, Spendee or fitbit? (If yes add 3
Have you ever used one of these apps to share your personal data
through social media, email or text message? (If yes add 3 points)
Do you use more than one technology to record personal data in
the pursuit of self-improvement? (If yes add 4 points).
Have you ever used any other application that records your
personal data in the pursuit of self-improvement? (If yes add 1 point).
Is there a technology that you would attribute personal selfimprovement to? (If yes add 2 points)
HOW SELF-QUANTIFIED ARE YOU?
• What does your score say about you?
0-5 points you're a non-quantified Nancy! You are
yet to embrace the self-quantification movement!
5-10 points you're catching on! You are starting to
embrace some self-quantifying technologies...
10-15 points you're a self-quantifying smarty! Not
only are you embracing the self-quantifying
technologies available you're sharing your data
with the world - you're a part of the movement!
• Self-quantification technologies encompass many motivational concepts in their
development. The most prominent of these being intrinsic and approach motivation and
social motivation. However, motivational theories that also align with broad concepts of
• Motivation benefits adaptation (or change) – changes encouraged by selfquantification technologies need to employ motivation in the pursuit of success.
• Motivation includes both approach and avoidance tendencies – approach and
avoidance motivation concepts are integrated into many self-quantifying
• To flourish motivation need supportive conditions – in many cases elf-quantifying
technologies are the supportive conditions needed to produce adaptation and
If you wish to learn more about the intricacies of self-quantification and motivation please follow this link:
CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations). (2013). Share this too: More social media solutions for PR professionals. Cornwall:
UK. :John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Elliot, A. (2008). Handbook of approach and avoidance motivation. New York: USA. Taylor and Francis publishing.
Evans, J. (2012). Philosophy for life and other dangerous situations. Great Britain. Ebury Publishing.
Morozov, E. (2013). To save everything, click here: The folly of technological solutionism. PublicAffairs publishing.
Nevid, J. (2009) Psychology: Concepts and applications. Boston: MA. Houghton Mifflin Company.
Plotnik, R. & Kouyoumdjian, H. (2011). Introduction to psychology. Belmont: CA. Wadsworth publishing.
Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion. New Jersey: US. John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Spielberger, C. (2004). Encyclopaedia of applied psychology. Academic Press.
Zimmerman, B. & Schunk, D. (2011). Handbook of self-regulation of learning and performance. New York: US. Taylor & Francis.
The fitbit website. http://www.fitbit.com/au/zip Includes product information about „fitbit‟ technologies.
Fitness guide Inc. (n.d.). „7 minute workout challenge‟. Apple app store.
Nike+ webpage. http://nikeplus.nike.com/plus/products/gps_app/ Information regarding the Nike+ product.