Brief notes on Psychological Motives


The psychological motives are also known as personal motives. These motives are personal in the sense that they are very specific to the person psychological make up of the individual.


Curiosity is a motivational tendency to act, which does not have sped and identifiable goals. It is simply gaining pleasure by obtaining informatics experiencing, or doing, it is the tendency to seek for the novel. Curios describe behaviours whose primary motives appear to remain in the activities themselves rather than on objectives.


Dember (1956), Fowler (1958), and other researchers demonstrated by using “T” and “Y” mazes that rats preferred novelty, change, and complexity. Animals who were allowed to become thoroughly familiar with a maze, when put in a structurally changed maze, spent more time exploring the altered maze.

In a number of studies, Harlow (1953) presented monkeys with mechanical puzzles. They were never rewarded nor punished for playing with these. Yet, they found, the monkeys spent several hours trying to dismantle them and finally succeeded.

Berlyne (1960) while experimenting on motivational behaviour investigated some of the variables that are associated with curiosity and exploratory behaviour. Berlyne identified a number of curiosity variables, termed as “collative” variables that are involved in curiosity-motivated behaviour. These are novelty, complexity, intensity, and change. He also mentioned about curiosity that is directed towards acquisition of knowledge. Curiosity leads us to explore. Thus curiosity is not manifested simply in perceptual exploration, but in cognitive explorations as well.

Curiosity motives and the needs for sensory stimulation are also conducive for the motive of exploration. It is true that we are driven to explore the environment by our curiosity and our need for sensory stimulation.


Very often we ask a simple question- “What will happen if…?” This stimulates intellectuals to find answers. This motive is otherwise known as “curiosity behaviour.” It is not an exclusively human trait. Animal experiments proved that curiosity behaviour is also found in many animals (Buttler, 1954).

Evidences indicated that the curiosity motive can be unlearned. It is true that interest in a novel object tends to diminish with time, but the motivation does not diminish. It appears early in human infants as well as in naive animals.

The need for changing sensory stimulation is closely related to curiosity. It is the basic motive, and exploration and curiosity are just two expressions of it. Besides all these motives, competence motivation also plays an important and persistent role in human behaviour. Sometimes we are motivated to master challenges in the environment. This is called competence motivation.



Always people want to explore the environment. On many occasions we want to visit new places and “points of interest” by spending time and money. Further, we watch television, cinema and sports, and read newspapers ant magazines to know about the world. The motive behind all the activities is to find out “What’s new?” by exploring the world around us.

Small children always try to explore something. A baby’s life is dominated by this motive. They also seem to receive satisfaction from being allowed the explore. Very often, they smile and babble excitedly when exploring their world. When the motive to explore has been frustrated, children become distressed the same way as adults are bothered by frustration.

Achievement Motivation

The need to meet some inner standard of excellence is called achievement or competence motivation. Achievement motivation is a personality variable which appears to differ from one individual to another. Some individuals an highly achievement-oriented and competence-oriented and others are not.


As we know, what is most striking about man is his achievement. It arises out of a tendency to define one’s goals according to some standards c excellence in product or performance attained. This motive has bee investigated most extensively by cognitive psychologists like David McClellan and John Atkinson. For the first time, they used the projective methods to measure achievement motivation.

Generally people with a need for achievement seek to accomplish things and to improve their performance. Many studies have been done to find out the relationship between the achievement motivation and performance. The results indicate that people who are high in achievement motivation general do better on tasks than those who are low. Further studies indicate that people high in need for achievement are motivated to succeed. Therefore, they d not choose to work on very difficult tasks in which the probability of success is very low. Obviously they prefer to work at tasks where the possibility of success is great. In general, people with high achievement motivation preferred tasks that are moderately difficult and that promise success.

In some studies, child psychologists viewed that parents can teach their children to approach challenging tasks with the idea of mastering them, children who are successful at little tasks gain confidence and seek other challenges. Further success enhances the tendency to try to do one’s best to accomplish things and to improve performance. Consequently, this approach to life’s problems becomes persistent and very much a part of the child’s personality.

Extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation are closely related to the achievement motivation. Extrinsic motivation programmes are extensively applied in education, industrial and clinical settings. A person’s need for feeling Detent and self-determined in dealing with his environment is termed as “intrinsic motivation”. It is called intrinsic because the goals are internal feelings achievement and competence.


Extrinsic motivation is directed towards goals external to the person such as money or grades. But intrinsic motivation has practical aspects because they are powerful motivators of human behaviour. The intrinsically motivated activities are those activities for which there are no rent rewards except the activity itself. The activities are ends in themselves rather than means to ends.


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