Instincts – inborn, inflexible, goal-directed behaviors that are characteristic of an entire species.
Drive – state of tension or arousal that motivates behavior. Drive-reduction theory – asserts that motivated behavior is aimed at reducing a state of bodily tension or arousal and returning the organism to homeostasis (the state of balance and stability in which the organism functions effectively). The theory cannot explain all kinds of behavior. It implies that people will do little (i.e. have no motivation) when their drives are reduced, but people do many things for which there is no drive that needs to be reduced.
Primary drives – unlearned drives, such as hunger, that are based on a physiological state. Secondary drives – learned drives, such as ambition, that are not based on a physiological state.
Arousal theory – theory of motivation that proposes that organisms seek an optimal level of arousal; this level of arousal varies during the day and from one situation to the next. According to arousal theory, we either seek to increase our decrease our state of arousal, depending upon our momentary needs. There is no “best” level of arousal necessary to perform all tasks.
Yerkes-Dodson Law – states that there is an optimal level of arousal for the best performance of any task; the more complex the task, the lower the level of arousal that can be tolerated before performance deteriorates. Figure source : After Hebb, 1955.
Arousal theory fails to account for extreme thrill-seeking behavior (e.g., skydiving, bungee jumping, etc.). To address this, Zuckerman (2005) argues that sensation-seeking is a drive and that individuals vary in their level of sensation-seeking. High sensation-seekers prefer very stimulating activities while low sensation-seekers prefer more sedate and less risky behaviors. Some theorists argue that risk-taking provides adaptive benefits from an evolutionary perspective.
Intrinsic motivation – a desire to perform a behavior that stems from the enjoyment derived from the behavior itself. Extrinsic motivation – a desire to perform a behavior to obtain an external reward or avoid punishment. An extensive analysis of the research on the effects of extrinsic rewards on the behavior of children indicated that extrinsic rewards tend to decrease a child’s intrinsic motivation and sense of personal responsibility for a behavior. Unexpected rewards or praise may increase intrinsic motivation.
Hierarchy of needs (Abraham Maslow) – a theory of motivation holding that higher order motives involving social and personal growth only emerge after lower level motives related to survival have been satisfied. Recent research has challenged the universality of Maslow’s hierarchy, identifying cultures where physiological and safety needs have not been met, yet belongingness needs and self-esteem needs have been. Figure source : From Motivation and Personality by Abraham H. Maslow, Prentice-Hall, 1970.
Feelings of hunger and satiation are governed by various areas in the brain and not just the hypothalamus, as once thought. The brain monitors several indicators of hunger: Glucose – a simple sugar used by the body for energy. Leptin – a hormone released by fat cells that reduces appetite. Ghrelin – a hormone produced in the stomach and small intestines that increases appetite. The brain monitors the levels of fats, carbohydrates, and insulin in the blood as well as the quantity of food that one has consumed.
Other factors also mediate hunger: Sleep deprivation the sight, smell or thought of food time of day (if we eat at regular intervals, our bodies “learn” when it’s time for breakfast, lunch and dinner) mood (e.g., some people seek “comfort food” when sad or upset – others don’t eat at all) habits (e.g., some people develop a pattern of eating while reading or working at a desk). Incentive – external stimulus that prompts goal-directed behavior.
Anorexia nervosa – An eating disorder characterized by an intense fear of weight gain and a distorted body image. Bulimia nervosa – An eating disorder characterized by binges of eating followed by self-induced vomiting. Muscle dysmorphia – A disorder characterized by obsessive concern with muscle size. There are numerous causes for eating disorders: Societal pressures conveyed by mass media to be thin low self-esteem being bullied during childhood (pertains to those with muscle dysmorphia) negative feedback about body weight from family members genetic predispositions Treatment of eating disorders is very difficult and some see treatment as a life-long process.
Obesity – an excess of body fat in relation to lean body mass. Overweight – weighing more than a desirable standard (whether due to high amounts of body fat or being very muscular). Obesity is the most pressing health problem in America; two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. There are many well-known causes for obesity: Overeating; genetic predisposition to be overweight or to engage in compulsive eating; eating habits established during childhood (which determines the number of fat cells that develop in the body); a sedentary lifestyle; cultural norms about eating (i.e., acceptance of the practice of a “late-night snack”) and portion size. Weight control requires a long-term program involving increasing exercise levels, modifying one’s diet, reducing eating cues, setting realistic goals and rewarding oneself for meeting them. Set point theory – a theory that our bodies are genetically predisposed to maintaining a certain weight by changing our metabolic rate and activity level in response to caloric intake.
Sex, like other primary drives, can be turned on and off by biological conditions in the body as well as by environmental cues. Sex, unlike other primary drives, is not vital to the survival of the individual, but it is vital to the survival of the species.
Testosterone – the primary male sex hormone. Once thought to be the primary determinant of male sex drive, it is now known that baseline levels of testosterone are associated with the frequency of sexual behavior, but momentary fluctuations in testosterone are not directly linked to sex drive. Pheromones – a substance that promotes sexual readiness in potential partners – are secreted in the sweat glands of the armpits and genitals, possibly influencing sexual attraction. The limbic system in the brain is also involved in sexual excitement.
Masters and Johnson (1966) identified a four-stage model of the sexual response cycle. Sexual response cycle – the typical sequence of events, including excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution, characterizing sexual response in males and females. Males, but not females, experience a refractory period after orgasm that can last from a few minutes to several hours.
In the early stages of sexual excitement, sexual arousal is more dependent on experience than on biology. Visual cues (e.g., the sight of one’s lover), olfactory cues (e.g., the scent of perfume or after shave), as well as the setting (e.g., romantic ambiance) can result in sexual arousal. Ideas about what is moral, appropriate, and pleasurable influence sexual arousal. Rates of sexual activity vary around the world. Gender equity also influences sexual satisfaction; men and women living in cultures with gender equality report higher levels of sexual satisfaction than cultures that are paternalistic.
Research indicates that Americans are far more conservative in their sex lives than media portrayals would indicate.
Sexual orientation – refers to the direction of one’s sexual interest towards members of the same sex (homosexual orientation) , the other sex (heterosexual orientation) , or both sexes (bisexual orientation) . Evidence supporting a biological determination of sexual orientation has been derived from family and twin studies, as well as anatomical and physiological research revealing differences in the brains of homosexual and heterosexual men. Evidence in support of environmental determinants of sexual orientation include cross-cultural research that reveals sexual orientations occurring at different frequencies in various cultures.
Exploratory behaviors have been observed in humans and in various animal species (e.g., dogs, rats). Exploration serves no purpose beyond satisfying one’s curiosity, which has made the behavior difficult to explain. Recent research suggests that exploration may arise in some people from a need for increased dopamine stimulation.
The urge to touch and explore objects through manipulation is a motive limited to primates due to their agile fingers and toes. Manipulation, like exploration, serves to satisfy our curiosity. Contact is a more universal motive and often involves the whole body. Harlow’s (1958) classic research involving baby monkeys and wire mesh and cloth-covered surrogate mothers revealed a strong need for contact comfort because the baby monkeys spent most of their time clinging to the soft surrogate mothers, even thought the wire mesh surrogates provided food.
Freud argued that aggression is a drive like hunger and thirst that builds up until it is released. However, recent research suggests that expressing anger and aggression is more likely to increase rather than reduce future aggression. Others argue that aggression is an evolved response to pain or frustration. This explanation is problematic because frustration does not necessarily lead to aggression in all instances. Aggression appears to be a response that some people learn as a response to frustration. Aggression can be learned by watching aggressive models who are rewarded when they behave aggressively (consistent with Bandura’s social cognitive theory). Interestingly, even when children watch aggressive models who get punished for being aggressive, the behavior of the children becomes more aggressive.
Aggression and Culture Levels of aggression appear to be low in collectivistic societies, where the emphasis is on the good of the group and not on the individual. Levels of aggression are higher in individualistic societies, where individuals are encouraged to “stand up for themselves” and to put their own interests ahead of the group. Gender and Aggression Regardless of culture or age group, males are more likely than females to behave aggressively, including both verbal and physical aggression. Both biological factors and environmental factors contribute to the gender differences in aggression.
Achievement motive – the need to excel, to overcome obstacles. Work orientation, mastery, and competitiveness are all aspects of achievement. Work orientation and mastery contribute positively to the attainment of goals, but high levels of competitiveness tend to interfere with goal achievement.
Affiliation motive – the need to be with others. Affiliation motive, or esprit de corps – being part of a sympathetic group – is likely to be strong when people feel threatened. Affiliation motive may have evolutionary value in that maintaining social bonds results in survival and reproductive benefits. Affiliation motive is influenced by one’s normal level of affiliation (i.e., friendliness), cultural norms for what is considered proper, the perceived friendliness of others, the duration of the time spent together, as well as the emotions generated by a shared situation.
Emotions have been very difficult for psychologists to study due to the subtle cultural variations in how they are described and expressed. Emotions are thought to be essential to survival and a major source of personal enrichment and resilience. Emotions are linked to variations in immune function, and thereby, to disease. Robert Plutchik developed a model of emotion that identifies eight basic emotions. Combinations of various emotions in Plutchik’s wheel result in different, more complex emotional experiences (e.g., experiencing both surprise and sadness results in disappointment). According to Plutchik, different emotions may combine to produce a wider range and richer spectrum of experience. Some scientists challenge Plutchik’s model of emotion, noting that it may only apply to the emotional experiences of English-speaking people. Figure source : Plutchik, 1980
Due to cultural differences, researchers now distinguish between primary and secondary emotions: Primary emotions – emotions that are evident in all cultures, contribute to survival, are associated with distinct facial expressions, and are evident in nonhuman primates. Secondary emotions – emotions that are not found in all cultures. When Paul Eckman (1987) presented photographs that depicted various facial expressions of emotions to participants from 10 countries, he observed very high accuracy rates for the identification of six primary emotions: happiness, surprise, sadness, fear, disgust, and anger. Some researchers hold that love is also a primary emotion, but there are not universal expressions of this complex emotion.
James-Lange theory – states that stimuli cause physiological changes in our bodies, and emotions result from those physiological changes. A significant problem with this theory is that most emotions are accompanied by very similar physiological changes.
Cannon-Bard theory – states that the experience of emotion occurs simultaneously with biological changes.
Cognitive theory – states that emotional experience depends on one’s perception or judgment of a situation. According to Schachter and Singer’s (1962) Two-Factor Theory of Emotion, a stimulus (like a snarling dog) produces physiological changes in us, but we then use information about the situation (e.g., the dog safely secured behind a tall fence) that tells us how to respond to the physiological changes (we should feel mildly anxious or annoyed but not terribly fearful). Challenges to Cognitive Theory Robert Zajonc argued that “feelings come first.” In some situations we might feel anxious and then have to assess why we feel that way. Carroll Izard argued that facial expressions and body postures that are assumed without conscious awareness convey information to the brain that is then interpreted as specific emotions. Many studies have indicated that facial expressions influence emotions.
Emotions are frequently communicated via nonverbal channels of communication, including facial expressions, tone of voice, hand gestures and posture. Facial expressions communicate the most specific information. Many facial expressions are innate, not learned, and many animal species, including primates, display emotions by using similar patterns of facial muscles.
The amygdala and insula play critical roles in our ability to interpret facial expressions. If the amygdala is damaged, individuals experience great difficulty recognizing emotions through facial expressions. The brain processes information from facial expressions so quickly (less than 1/10th of a second) that it is likely to occur unconsciously.
Body language can convey emotions. For example, if we are sitting stiffly upright, we are tense or anxious. Personal space – the distance maintained between ourselves and others – conveys emotions that are shaped by the cultural norms within which we have been raised. Standing closer than is customary to someone else conveys either anger or affection, while maintaining greater distance may indicate dislike or fear. Explicit acts can also serve as effective nonverbal cues to emotions. A slammed door, type of handshake, or bodily contact can all convey how one person feels about another. Nonverbal cues offer some insight about the emotions of others, but they are not infallible. Nonverbal cues can also be manipulated in an attempt to conceal lying.
Research using physiological measures of emotional arousal indicates that men and women are equally affected by the distress of others, but women are more likely to express their feelings of concern. Differences in emotional expressivity appear to be the product of socialization. Women tend to have stronger emotional reactions to self-generated thoughts and memories. Men and women sometimes react with different emotions to the same situation. For example, situations involving betrayal elicit anger in men and sadness in women. The target of anger often differs between men and women. When men get angry, they often direct their anger at others or at the situation they are in; when women get angry, they are likely to direct it at themselves. Females tend to be more skilled than males at interpreting nonverbal cues of emotion. The role of caregiver – primarily assumed by women – or the less powerful positions in society held by women (who, therefore, used their heightened sensitivity to emotional cues to help them achieve their goals), have been offered as explanations for the sex differences in interpreting nonverbal cues of emotion.
Are facial expressions of emotion the same for every human (the universalist position ), or do facial expression vary by culture (the culture-learning position )? Research conducted separately by Eckman and Izard support the universalist position. However, cultures differ with respect to how or under what circumstances it is appropriate to express emotions. Display rules – culture-specific rules that govern how, when and why expressions of emotion are appropriate. People are often confused about the emotions being expressed by people in other cultures because of differences in these rules. “ In a study that tracked a group of women over 18 years, researchers found that those scoring high on hostility were three times more likely to die during the course of the study than those who scored low…However, this higher level of risk applied only to participants who said they got angry in many situations but did not vent their anger…(Those) who reported frequent bouts of anger, which they expressed, were in the same low-risk group as those who said they rarely or never felt angry.” – Page 285 (Morris & Maisto)