Motivational Hedonic Theory

End Limiting Beliefs

8 Days to End Limiting Beliefs By Dr. Steve G. Jones

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MOTIVATIONAL THEORIES OF HUMOR. According to American psychologist Jacob Levine (1969), theories of humor that are based largely on experimental evidence have employed, generally, three basic research models to explain motivational (i.e., goal-directed, drive-energized behaviors) sources of humor: cognitive-perceptual theory (involves the resolution of incongruities); behavior theory (emphasizes the stimulus-response aspects of learning and the reduction of basic drives); and Freudian/psychoanalytic theory

(focuses on the gratification of the primary unconscious drives of aggression and sex in conjunction with the pleasures of mental activity). Levine notes that the most comprehensive humor theory - Freudian/psychoanalytic theory - has been the richest source of ideas for experimentalists who have employed parts of the theory to support either cognitive-perceptual hypotheses or drive-reduction assumptions regarding the humor experience. The American psychologists R. S. Wyer and J. E. Collins describe the following categories of motivational theories of humor, arousal and arousal-reduction theories - one set of theories here assumes that humor responses reflect a release/reduction in arousal (e.g., Sigmund Freud argued that humorous reactions to stimuli are motivated by needs to release tension or arousal, often aggression- or sex-related, that one inhibits from expressing directly; thus, individual differences in the humor elicited by different jokes or witticisms are assumed to reflect differences in the intensity of suppressed or repressed emotions that have become associated with stimuli of the type to which the jokes/witticisms are relevant); another approach in this category is the general conception of humor proposed by the American psychologist D. E. Berlyne who assumes an inverted-U relation between psychological arousal and the experience of pleasure (i.e., pleasure first increases with arousal increases up to some optimal value and then decreases, finally reaching a point at which the arousal becomes aversive; thus, a joke is conceived of as consisting of a scenario that induces arousal beyond its optimal level of pleasure, followed by a "punch line" that rapidly decreases the arousal to a more pleasurable level, and where the rapid increase in pleasantness is experienced as "humor;" unfortunately, there is little empirical evidence that decreases in physiologically measured arousal following a joke's "punch line" are correlated with subjective estimates of the humor elicited by the joke; superiority and disparagement theories -assume that people derive pleasure from feelings of mastery or control, where laughter or amusement at another person's deformities or misfortunes reflects an attempt to maintain or re-establish such feelings; thus, this approach regards amusement as a by-product of "down ward social comparison;" further, it is suggested in this class of theories that humor is more apt to be elicited by the misfortunes of "socially-undesirable" people than by the misfortunes of "socially-esteemed" people; incongruity resolution theories - this common viewpoint assumes that humor is stimulated by the sudden awareness of an incongruity between two objects or events, or the concepts associated with them; reversal theory - this approach (e.g., Apter, 1982) takes both motivational and cognitive factors into account; it is applicable to many different types of humor-eliciting experiences, it states explicitly the conditions that are both necessary and sufficient for humor elicitation to occur, and it emphasizes processes of revising perceptions of people and objects in light of new information (including the assumptive factors of "non-replacement" and "diminishment"); and comprehension-elaboration theory - this approach (e.g., Wyer & Collins, 1992) consists of a series of eight postulates that relate to the comprehension of semantic and episodic information; the theory specifies the conditions in which humor is experienced in both non-social and social contexts, and takes into account the interpretation of a stimulus event that is necessary to elicit humor, the problem of identifying the humor-eliciting aspects of the interpretation, and the cognitive elaboration of the event's implications. See also AP-TER'S REVERSAL THEORY OF HUMOR; AROUSAL THEORY; BEHAVIORAL THEORIES OF HUMOR/LAUGHTER; COGNITIVE-PERCEPTUAL THEORIES OF HUMOR; FREUD'S THEORY OF WIT/HUMOR; HUMOR, THEORIES OF; SUPERIORITY THEORIES OF HUMOR; WYER AND COLLINS' THEORY OF HUMOR ELICITATION. REFERENCES

Freud, S. (1905/1960). Jokes and their relation to the unconscious. New York: Norton.

Levine, J. (1956). Responses to humor. Scientific American, 194, 31-35. Berlyne, D. E. (1969). Laughter, humor, and play. In G. Lindzey & E. Aronson (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology. Vol. 3. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

New York: Atherton. Apter, M. J. (1982). The experience of motivation: The theory of psychological reversals. London: Academic Press. Wyer, R. S., & Collins, J. E. (1992). A theory of humor elicitation. Psychological Review, 99, 663-688.

MOTIVATION, THEORIES OF. The term motivation comes from the same Latin stem "mot-" (meaning "move") as does the term emotion. The term motive applies to any internal force that activates and gives direction to behavior. Other related terms emphasize different aspects of motivation. For example, need stresses the aspect of lack or want; drive emphasizes the impelling and energizing aspect; and incentive focuses on the goals of motivation (cf., incentive theory and energization theory - hold that the strength of an incentive varies with the energy level mobilized to obtain or avoid the incentive, where the higher the energization the greater the subjective desirability of a positive outcome; and need-drive-incentive pattern theory - posits that physiological needs are created by a state of deprivation that generates a drive to satisfy those needs and creates incentives that, in turn, lead to consummatory responses to achieve the things that reduce the drive). In general, motivation theories deal with the reasons that behaviors occur and refer to the internal states of the organism as well as the external goals (rewards and reinforcers) in the environment (cf., process theories of motivation - theories that attempt to account for the various factors that motivate individuals, and try to explain the mechanisms underlying motivation). Typically, motivation involves the energization of behavior and goal direction where a distinction is made between the organism's disposition and its arousal. For example, a generalized state of hunger, anxiety, or fear may be called the individual's disposition, whereas the specific act of behaving toward, or away from, a particular goal is the result of its arousal. The concept of motivation, as a fundamental influence in many phenomena, cuts across the various areas in psychology of intelligence, learning, personality, and thinking. Research on motivation has studied both the type and intensity (formerly called dynamogenesis) of motives. Various theories of motivation have originated in the area of dynamic psychology, which is a traditional approach used to study behavior by examining its underlying forces. The dynamic approach is contrasted with the descriptive approach, which is concerned with naming, classifying, and diagnosing - whereas the dynamic approach is concerned with tracing behavior to its origins in prior experience. The American psychologist Robert Sessions Woodworth (1869-1962) developed the eclectic approach called dynamic psychology, which focused on the motivational forces of behavior where a variety of viewpoints (e.g., behaviorism, Gestalt psychology, functional-ism, and structuralism) were brought together to study the common/central concepts of drive and motive (cf., structured learning theory - a dynamic approach that predicts learning from the dynamic structure of the individual in terms of the stimulus and the ambient situation). Dynamic psychology argues that humans are not motivated simply by a few universal drives or instincts but that each person has a unique spectrum of natural capacities, wishes, needs, purposes, and emotions that set the personality in motion (cf., dynamic-effect law - holds that goal-directed behaviors become habitualized as they effectively achieve the goal under consideration, and emphasizes the importance of planning and the attainment of sub-goals within a plan rather than reinforcement of specific responses; the dynamic inter-actionism model - focuses attention on the reciprocal interplay between environ-mental/situational/stimulus events and the individual's or group's behaviors; and the dynamic-situations principle - states that any stimulus pattern undergoes changes continuously due to factors such as visceral changes, varied responses, and uncontrolled variables). The Freudian psychoanalytical approach emphasizes the interplay among drives as expressed in dynamic concepts such as conflict, anxiety, and defense mechanisms. The term dynamic attains its broadest meaning in the theoretical approach called general systems theory, even though general systems theory says little, specifically, about motivation and the motives that instigate and direct action. A

great variety of motivation theories have been developed over the years and may be placed in three general categories: (1) Hedonic/pleasure theories - this forms the largest category of motivation theories and emphasizes the role of pleasure in organizing one's activities [(cf., optimal level theories - posit that the best methods of arousal are those that are pleasurable, and the best way to motivate an organism is via stimuli that are naturally motivating; and the principle of optimal stimulation -states that an organism tends to learn those responses that produce an optimal level of stimulation or excitation; either drive-arousal or drive-reduction may lead to the optimal stimulation level); the concept of tension-reduction is important here, where pleasure is derived from reduction of tension through the discharge of energy, expression of an instinct, or reduction in drive level; R. S. Woodworth introduced the term drive into American psychology, and it was used until the 1960s; distinctions have been made between the terms needs versus drives/motives, innate versus acquired drives, primary versus secondary drives, viscerogenic versus psychogenic drives, and intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation (cf., justification theory - states that rewards given by others, if the rewarded person views the reward as a bribe, tend to decrease the rewarded person's motivation); C. L. Hull and K. Spence use the concept of drive extensively in their stimulus-response learning theory, where the organism is viewed as having primary/innate drives such as pain and hunger, as well as learned or secondary drives such as fears and the desire for money; J. Dollard and N. Miller extended Hull's work and emphasized the role of learned, secondary drives in behavior; they also integrated Hul-lian learning theory concepts with Freudian theory concepts; the concept of need was studied, also, within the tension-reduction, hedonistic/pleasure approach]. (2) Cognitive/ need-to-know theories - although some cognitive approaches to motivation retain tension-reduction models (e.g., L. Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance), other cognitive theories emphasize the motivation inherent in the information-processing activity of the organism (e.g., G. Kelly's cognitive theory of motivation). (3) Growth/actualization theories -

representative theories in this category are A. Angyal, K. Goldstein, A. Maslow, and C. Rogers, who share the common rejection of tension-reduction as the whole basis for human activity. Rather, these theorists emphasize the activities that lead to growth, self-fulfillment, and self-actualization in the individual's personality (cf., Porter-Lawler integrated model of motivation - named after the American organizational psychologists Lyman W. Porter and Edward E. Lawler, is a process theory suggesting that levels of motivation are based on the value that people place on rewards, and involving the concepts of valence and expectancy; this model interrelates process theory factors, performance rewards, and job satisfaction). In general, most psychologists agree that the more active is an organism, the higher the level of motivation; they agree, also, that motivation energizes the human and nonhuman organism, but they often disagree as to just how motivation causes the energization [cf., action theory - a theoretical position advanced by the American physician/ psychiatrist Abram Kardiner (1891-1981) in which the body is presumed to have an action-system/mechanism for fulfilling desires or needs; Kardiner assumed that traumatic neuroses were caused by damage to an action-system]. A fourth category of motivation theory concerns the role of brain structures and neural mechanisms in motivated behavior. Research in this area typically falls in the areas of psychobiology, biopsychology, or neurobiology. In one case, a part of the brain called the reticular activating system provides a physiological basis for the energizing effects of heightened motivation. Studies by G. Moruzzi and H. Magoun, and D. B. Lindsley, focused attention on the combined regions of the thalamus, reticular formation, and cortex in explaining both the specific and general arousal aspects of motivated organisms. On the other hand, the presumption of a single arousal system has been debated by researchers at both behavioral and physiological levels. The current impetus in research on motivation has shifted away from the study of generalized arousal/general motivation and toward the study of specific motives and motivations. See also ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION, THEORY OF; ACTIVATION/


Woodworth, R. S. (1918). Dynamic psychology. New York: Columbia University Press.

Leeper, R. (1948). A motivational theory of emotion to replace "emotion as disorganized response." Psychological Review, 55, 5-21. Webb, W. (1948). A motivational theory of emotions. Psychological Review, 55, 329-335.

Moruzzi, G., & Magoun, H. (1949). Brain stem reticular formation and activation of the EEG. Electroencephalo-graphy and Clinical Neurophysiol-ogy, 1, 455-473. Dollard, J., & Miller, N. (1950). Personality and psychotherapy: An analysis in terms of learning, thinking, and culture. New York: McGraw-Hill. Lindsley, D. B. (1951). Emotion. In S. S. Stevens (Ed.), Handbook of experimental psychology. New York: Wiley.

Allport, G. (1953). The trend in motivational theory. American Journal of Or-thopsychology, 23, 107-119.

Leuba, C. (1955). Toward some integration of learning theories: The concept of optimal stimulation. Psychological Reports, 1, 27-33. Koch, S. (1956). Behavior as "intrinsically" regulated: Work notes towards a pretheory of phenomena called "motivational." In M. Jones (Ed.), Current theory and research in motivation. Vol. 4. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Spence, K. (1958). A theory of emotionally-based drive (D) and its relation to performance in simple learning situations. American Psychologist, 13, 131-141. Hunt, J. (1965). Intrinsic motivation and its role in psychological development. In D. Levine (Ed.), Nebraska symposium on motivation. Vol. 13. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Routtenberg, A. (1968). The two-arousal hypothesis: Reticular formation and limbic system. Psychological Review, 75, 51-80. Arnold, W., & Levine, D. (Eds.) (1969). Nebraska symposium on motvation. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Bolles, R. (1975). Theory of motivation. New

York: Harper & Row. Mook, D. (1987). Motivation: the organization of action. New York: Norton. Eccles, J. S., & Wigfield, A. (2002). Motivational beliefs, values, and goals. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 109132.

Beck, R. C. (2004). Motivation: Theories and principles. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

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  • stephan eisenhower
    What is the optimum incongruity approach to motivation?
    3 years ago
  • Charlotte
    What is d hedonistic view of motivation?
    3 years ago
  • posco bunce
    Is hedonistic theory same as arousal?
    2 years ago
  • Gherardo
    How does the Anxiety theory of motivation is different from the Hedonistic theory of motivation?
    2 years ago
  • william slattery
    What are the difference between anxiety theory of motivation and hedonistic theory of motivation?
    2 years ago
  • dina
    What are the hedonistic theory in psycology?
    2 years ago
  • reegan
    Who develop hedonic theory of motivation?
    1 year ago
  • Maisy
    What is the motivational theory of hedonic satisfaction?
    9 months ago

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