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Motivation is a term that refers to a process that elicits, controls, and sustains certain behaviors. Motivation is a group of phenomena which affect the nature of an individual's behavior, the strength of the behavior, and the persistence of the behavior. For instance: An individual has not eaten, he or she feels hungry, as a response he or she eats and diminishes feelings of hunger. There are many approaches to motivation: physiological, behavioural, cognitive, and social[1]. It's the crucial element in setting and attaining goals—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control[2]. According to various theories, motivation may be rooted in a basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, goal, state of being, ideal, or it may be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism, selfishness, morality, or avoiding mortality. Conceptually, motivation should not be confused with either volition or optimism.[3] Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation

Motivational poster

Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on any external pressure. Intrinsic motivation is based on taking pleasure in an activity rather than working towards an external reward.[6] Intrinsic motivation has been studied by social and educational psychologists since the early 1970s. Students who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to engage in the task willingly as well as work to improve their skills, which will increase their capabilities.[7] Students are likely to be intrinsically motivated if they.

Push and Pull

This model is usually used when discussing motivation within tourism context, so the most attention in gastronomic tourism research should be dedicated to this theory. Pull factors illustrate the choices of destinations by tourists, whereas push factors determine the desire to go on holiday. Moreover, push motives are connected with internal forces for example need for relaxation or escapism and pull factors in turn induce a traveller to visit certain location by external forces such as landscape, culture image or climate of a destination. Dann also highlights the fact that push factors can be stimulated by external and situational aspects of motivation in shape of pull factors. Then again pull factors are issues that can arise from a location itself and therefore ‘push’ an individual to choose to experience it. Since, a huge number of theories have been developed over the years in many studies there is no single theory that illustrates all motivational aspects of travelling. Many researchers highlighted that because motives may occur at the same time it should not be assumed that only one motive drives an individual to perform an action as it was presumed in previous studies. On the other hand, since people are not able to satisfy all their needs at once they usually seek to satisfy some or a few of them.


The self-control of motivation is increasingly understood as a subset of emotional intelligence; a person may be highly intelligent according to a more conservative definition (as measured by many intelligence tests), yet unmotivated to dedicate this intelligence to certain tasks. Yale School of Management professor Victor Vroom's "expectancy theory" provides an account of when people will decide whether to exert self control to pursue a particular goal.

Incentive theory

A reward, tangible or intangible, is presented after the occurrence of an action (i.e. behavior) with the intent to cause the behavior to occur again. This is done by associating positive meaning to the behavior. Studies show that if the person receives the reward immediately, the effect is greater, and decreases as duration lengthens. Repetitive action-reward combination can cause the action to become habit. Motivation comes from two sources: oneself, and other people. These two sources are called intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation, respectively.

Alderfer's ERG theory

Alderfer, expanding on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, created the ERG theory. This theory posits that there are three groups of core needs — existence, relatedness, and growth, hence the label: ERG theory. The existence group is concerned with providing our basic material existence requirements. They include the items that Maslow considered to be physiological and safety needs. The second group of needs are those of relatedness- the desire we have for maintaining important interpersonal relationships. These social and status desires require interaction with others if they are to be satisfied, and they align with Maslow's social need and the external component of Maslow's esteem classification. Finally, Alderfer isolates growth needs' an intrinsic desire for personal development. These include the intrinsic component from Maslow's esteem category and the characteristics included under self-actualization.

Self-determination theory

Self-determination theory, developed by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, focuses on the importance of intrinsic motivation in driving human behavior. Like Maslow's hierarchical theory and others that built on it, SDT posits a natural tendency toward growth and development. Unlike these other theories, however, SDT does not include any sort of "autopilot" for achievement, but instead requires active encouragement from the environment. The primary factors that encourage motivation and development are autonomy, competence feedback, and relatedness.

Employee motivation

Workers in any organization need something to keep them working. Most of the time, the salary of the employee is enough to keep him or her working for an organization. An employee must be motivated to work for a company or organization. If no motivation is present in an employee, then that employee’s quality of work or all work in general will deteriorate.


Some authors, especially in the transhumanist movement, have suggested the use of "smart drugs", also known as nootropics, as "motivation-enhancers". These drugs work in various ways to affect neurotransmitters in the brain. It is generally widely accepted that these drugs enhance cognitive functions, but not without potential side effects.[14] The effects of many of these drugs on the brain are emphatically not well understood, and their legal status often makes open experimentation difficult.[citation needed]


Motivational models are central to game design, because without motivation a player will not be interested in progressing further within a game.[36] Several models for gameplay motivations have been proposed, including Richard Bartle's. Jon Radoff has proposed a four-quadrant model of gameplay motivation that includes cooperation, competition, immersion and achievement.[37] The motivational structure of games is central to the gamification trend, which seeks to apply game-based motivation to business applications.

See also

. Academy of Management
. Addiction
. Amotivational syndrome
. Andragogy
. Aptitude
. Behavior
. Equity theory
. Flow
. Game theory
. Goal orientation
. Happiness at work
. Health Action Process Approach


1. Carlson, N.R. & Heth, C.D.(2009).Psychology the Science of Behaviour.Toronto:Pearson Education Canada
2. "Where the Motivation Resides and Self-Deception Hides: How Motivated Cognition Accomplishes"
3. Seligman, Martin E.P. (1990), Learned Optimism, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., p. 101, ISBN 0-394-57915-1
4. James L (1998). Understanding Employee Motivation. N/A June 1998, Vol. 36
5. Dickson, W. J. (1973). Hawthorne experiments. In C. Heyel (ed.), The encyclopedia of management, 2nd ed. (pp. 298-302). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold
6. N/A, Psychology Dictionary. http://www.tuition.com.hk/psychology/i.htm
7. Wigfield, A., Guthrie, J. T., Tonks, S., & Perencevich, K. C. (2004). Children's motivation for reading: Domain specificity and instructional influences. The Journal of Educational Research, 97, 299-309

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