Theories of Motivation

So what are the things that actually motivate us to act?
Psychologists have proposed a number of different theories to explain motivation:



The instinct theory of motivation suggests that behaviours are motivated by instincts. An instinct is a fixed and inborn pattern of behaviour. Psychologists including William James, Sigmund Freud and William McDougal have proposed a number of basic human drives that motivate behaviour. Such instincts might include biological instincts that are important for  organism’s survival such as fear, cleanliness and love.

Drives and Needs:
Many of our behaviours such as eating, drinking and sleeping are motivated by biology. We have a biological need for food, water and sleep, therefore we are motivated to eat, drink and sleep. Drive theory suggests that people have basic biological drives and that our behaviours are motivated by the need to fulfil these drives.

Arousal Levels:
The arousal theory of motivation suggests that people are motivated to engage in behaviours that help them maintain their optimal level of arousal. A person with low arousal needs might pursue relaxing activities while those with high arousal needs might be motivated to engage in exciting, thrill-seeking behaviours