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Motivation

Learn more about the psychology of motivation, including the forces behind motivation and various theories to explain motivation.

What Is Motivation?
In psychology, motivation is defined as the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors...

Theories of Motivation
Motivation is the force that causes us to take action, whether to grab a snack to reduce hunger or enroll in college to earn a degree. Learn more about some of the key theories researchers have proposed to explain motivation.

Drive-Reduction Theory
Clark Hull's drive reduction theory was a dominant idea in psychology during the middle of the 20th-century, but it has all but disappeared today. Learn more about the drive reduction theory of motivation and the important influence it had on psychology.

The Arousal Theory of Motivation
The arousal theory of motivation suggests that our behavior is motivated by a need to maintain an optimal level of arousal. Learn more about how the arousal theory of motivation works.

What Is Extrinsic Motivation?
Extrinsic motivation can have a powerful influence on behavior, but sometimes it can actually hinder intrinsic motivation. Learn more about how extrinsic motivation.

What Is Intrinsic Motivation?
Why do you do the things you do? If you are doing them for some internal reason, then psychologists would describe you as intrinsically motivated.

What Is the Difference Between Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation?
Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation can both impact behavior, but in different ways. Learn more about the differences between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

What Is the Overjustification Effect?
The overjustification effect occurs when external rewards diminish intrinsic motivations. Learn more about why this occurs.

What Is the Yerkes-Dodson Law?
Have you ever noticed that you sometimes perform better when you are a little bit nervous? Learn more about what is known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law.

Instinct Theory of Motivation
The instinct theory of motivation proposes that all behaviors are motivated by underlying instincts. Learn more about instinct, the history of this theory, and some possible criticisms.

What Is Self-Determination Theory?
People can be motivated by a number of things, including the need for personal growth and fulfillment. Self-determination theory focuses on internal sources of motivation rather than external motives.

The Incentive Theory of Motivation
The incentive theory of motivation suggests that we are motivated to engage in behaviors in order to gain rewards. Learn more about this theory and how this type of motivation works.

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