Discuss: Drive and Running Behavior

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Discuss: Drive and Running Behavior

Discuss: Drive and Running Behavior

FIGURE 8.1 Intensity of Drive and Running Behavior. Effects of deprivation time on mean log time to run a 10-unit T maze for a water reward by water-deprived rats. Note the increase in running time immediately after the 22-2 hour shift and the decrease in running time after the 2-22 hour shift.

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Source: From “The Effect of Drive Level on the Maze Performance of the White Rat” by B. Hillman et al., 1953, Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 46, figure 1. Copyright 1953 by American Psychological Association. Reprinted by permission.

food on food-deprived days and to choose the alley leading to water on water-deprived days. Thus, hunger drive stimuli became associated with the location of food, and thirst drive stimuli became associated with the location of water. A third characteristic of drive is that it motivates the individual to behave in order to reduce its intensity. Hull considered drive to be unpleasant. In fact, he felt that “Bentham’s concept of pain is equated substantially to our own [Hull’s] concept of need” (Hull, 1952, p. 341). Recall from Chapter 2 that Bentham (1789/1970) is the utilitarian philosopher who claimed that people are under the governance of two masters: pain and pleasure. Humans are motivated to reduce drive—that is, to get rid of any painful or unpleasant feeling. Since drive is characterized as being painful, then the behavior that reduces it will be more likely to occur. Eating reduces an unpleasant hunger drive, and drinking reduces an unpleasant thirst drive. The importance of Hull’s drive con- cept is that drive motivates the voluntary behavior that restores homeostasis. Drive moti- vates an individual to reduce feelings of hunger, thirst, or internal temperature deviation, thus maximizing the conditions necessary for well-being and life.

Characteristics of Psychological Needs The definition of psychological needs parallels that of physiological needs since both center on the notion of a deficit. In the case of a psychological need, there is a deficit between a per- son’s desired or set point level and the current level of the matching incentive or behavior.

Chronic or Temporary Psychological Needs. Psychological needs are chronic if a per- son desires some incentive or behavior of which she is habitually deprived. For example, if

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Motivation: Biological, Psychological, and Environmental, Third Edition, by Lambert Deckers. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R E I G H T / Drives, Needs, and Awareness 187

a person has a large appetite for social inclusion then she might be chronically unsatisfied if the current social environment does not provide enough social inclusion. A person might have an enduring need for cognition if she is consistently deprived of her daily opportunity to solve Sudoku or crossword puzzles. However, psychological needs can also be temporary and are aroused occasionally. In this case, it is as if psychological needs are preexisting but remain dormant until aroused by the appropriate stimulus situation. When aroused, the psy- chological need serves as a motive that reminds a person of the discrepancy between his current situation and a final desired state (McClelland et al., 1953). Redintegration describes the process by which a need is activated or restored (Murray, 1938). For example, a safety need is aroused or redintegrated when an unlighted parking lot late at night is discrepant from a person’s ideal level of lighting. The aroused safety need produces a hurried pace to reach one’s car and drive away. The need to achieve is activated or redintegrated by the sight of a textbook, reminding a student of the discrepancy between his current knowledge and the amount necessary to succeed on an exam. The resulting need state or achievement motive leads to studying a textbook to reduce the discrepancy. Stimuli activate, redinte- grate, or restore psychological needs because they have been associated with the arousal characteristics of needs in the past (McClelland et al., 1953). To illustrate, the presence of people arouses the need for affiliation, and textbooks arouse the need to achieve, because in the past these stimuli have been associated with feelings of affiliation and achievement.

Using Needs to Explain Behavior. A final consideration involves demonstrating the relationship between need intensity and need-satisfying behavior. Do people differ in their intensities of psychological needs? How is a person’s level of need intensity measured? These questions cannot be answered by measuring behavior that is instrumental in satis- fying the need, since this behavior could have resulted from other factors. For example, if a person’s residence hall room is neat and tidy, does that mean she has a high need for or- der (Murray, 1938)? Or could it be she is just expecting company or likes being able to find things easily? If the concept of need is used to explain behavior, then two steps are neces- sary: measuring need intensity and showing its relationship with behavior satisfying the need. First, psychologists measure need level with a valid scale or questionnaire. Just as the number on the bathroom scale reflects the amount a person weighs, the score on a need scale reflects the intensity of a need. Second, need scale scores must correlate with be- havior instrumental in satisfying the need. Thus, when need is high, there must be a greater amount of need-satisfying behavior than when need is low. For example, the greater a per- son’s measured need for affiliation, the more friends he visits and telephones (Lansing & Heyns, 1959). In the next few sections, we will examine how various psychological needs are measured and the relationship between specific needs and behavior.

Maslow’s Theory of Needs Are all needs equally important or are some more potent than others? One view is that there are categories of needs that differ in their potency to motivate behavior.

Abraham Maslow (1970) constructed a hierarchy of needs: physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. These needs are organized into five tiers whereby the lower tier of needs is more likely to be acted on first, followed by needs at higher tiers (see Figure 8.2). Notice that in ascending the hierarchy, needs have been


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Motivation: Biological, Psychological, and Environmental, Third Edition, by Lambert Deckers. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.

188 P A R T T H R E E / Psychological Properties of Motivation


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