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Understanding Human Motivation: What Makes People Tick?

ISBN: 978-0-631-21983-5
336 pages
August 2003, Wiley-Blackwell
Understanding Human Motivation: What Makes People Tick? (0631219838) cover image

Description

Understanding Human Motivation is a lively presentation of how factors such as biological nature, instinct, past experience, and society determine what we do.

  • Draws on many different domains of human behavior and links together many motivational factors such as fear, sex, consciousness, and rage.
  • Illustrates the theoretical bases of motivation through real-life examples and case studies.
  • Written in accessible manner for use in courses.
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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments xii

INTRODUCTION: THREE FUNDAMENTAL IDEAS 1

What is “Motivation”? 2

How Can We Study Human Motivation? 3

The use of anecdotal material 3

Three Fundamental Ideas 6

Quasi-mechanical behavior 6

Personal view and camera view 6

Social extrusion 7

Some omissions 8

The Plan of this Book 9

Questions for discussion 10

1 DETERMINISM AND FREE WILL 11

Determinism 12

Psychological theory treats behavior as determinate 13

Free Will 14

Questions for discussion 20

2 TERROR 21

The Origins of Fear 23

Components of Fear 25

Two stages in the genesis of fear 27

Fear as Instinct 30

Pathological fear 32

The Experience of Fear 33

Companionship 33

Military combat 34

Being in control 34

Training and skill 35

The Persistence of Fear 35

The persistence of memory 35

Recurrence of fear 36

Questions for discussion 37

3 SEX 38

Personal View and Camera View 40

Which view – personal view or camera view? 42

Lay psychology 43

Sexual Behavior is Quasi-Mechanical 45

“Mechanical” 45

“Substantially mechanical” 46

Acquisition of patterns of sexual behavior 47

The pleasure principle 49

Some Questions about Sexual Behavior 51

1 What are the extraneous signals which trigger sexual behavior? 51

2 What other signals or social constraints act to modify sexual behavior? 52

3 What about the intense feelings that accompany sexual activity? 53

4 What has this to do with the survival of the species? 54

5 What about the variation in sexual behavior from one adult to another? 56

6 Does sexual behavior have to match between male and female? 56

7 How much of our sexual behavior is innate and how much acquired?

4 CONSCIOUSNESS 60

Two Views of What People Do 61

The Meaning of “Consciousness” 62

Philosophical inquiry into consciousness 64

The neural signature of consciousness 65

Personal view and camera view 67

The Relationship of Subjective Experience to Objective Observation 69

The split brain 75

Why is consciousness important to the study of motivation? 79

Questions for discussion 80

5 BOREDOM 81

The Political Background 82

“Brainwashing” 83

Sensory Deprivation 84

Hallucinations 85

Disturbances of perception 92

Cognitive deficits 94

What does it all signify? 96

Boredom 96

Boredom at work 97

Leisure activities 97

Questions for discussion 102

6 SOCIAL CONVENTIONS 103

Milgram’s Experiments 104

Proximity of teacher and pupil 104

What is going on? 106

Relaxation of the conflict 108

The importance of social structure 109

Social Conventions 111

Social conventions are different in different societies 113

Social conventions also differ between subgroups within the one society 116

Understanding Milgram’s Results 117

Military obedience 119

The Stanford County Prison Experiment 120

Questions for discussion 123

7 THE RATE FOR THE JOB 124

How Much Do Different People Earn? 124

1 People doing the same job get paid the same (irrespective of how well they do it), unless, sometimes, they happen to be women 125

2 Those people closest to the money are paid the most 125

3 If someone can earn more by negotiating a private deal, well, good luck to her or him 128

Boardroom pay 130

MPs’ financial interests 134

What has this chapter really been about? 137

Questions for discussion 139

8 LONELINESS 140

The Experience of Being Alone 140

Applications of research into social isolation 143

“Brainwashing” 144

Feral Children 147

What may we conclude from the attempted rehabilitation of these three children? 151

Conclusions on Social Isolation 153

Questions for discussion 155

9 THE MORAL SANCTION 156

The Moral Sanction 157

An experimental study of extrusion 157

Whistleblowers 159

Examples from the wider society 162

Some Interim Conclusions on Extrusion 167

1 Extrusion is spontaneous 167

2 Moral constraints are subconscious 169

3 The sanction of extrusion is powerful 171

4 The underclass 171

Questions for discussion 173

10 PEER PRESSURE 174

Social Conformity 174

Informational and Normative Influences 177

Informational influence 178

Normative influence 179

Group cohesiveness 180

What Happens if the Majority is Not Unanimous? 181

Inversion of majority and minority 184

How Large Does the Majority Have to Be? 185

Individual differences between participants 186

Interrogation by the police 188

Summary 192

Questions for discussion 194

11 THE CROWD 195

The Problem 195

The flashpoint 196

“Group mind” 197

The random evolution of crowd behavior 197

1 Social Attitudes, Standards, Conventions Evolve 197

2 Social Conventions Can Evolve Rapidly 198

3 The Evolution of Social Conventions is Essentially Random 202

Rumor 202

Public protest 203

4 The Likelihood of Disorder, of Riot, Depends on the Crowd’s Reason for Being 205

5 The Likelihood of Disorder, of Riot, also Depends on the Social Setting 207

Summary 209

Questions for discussion 209

12 RAGE . . . 210

Why Are People Aggressive? 211

Frustration 212

Negative affect 212

Retaliation 213

Aggression as Instinct 213

The “terrible twos” 213

Instrumental and Emotional Aggression 214

Experimental Methods 215

The Buss aggression apparatus 216

The effects of alcohol 218

Aggression in Everyday Life 220

Domestic violence 220

Road rage 222

Social cognition 223

Crowding 225

Three principal factors 226

Summary 228

Questions for discussion 229

13 . . . AND ARE WE PROVOKED TO VIOLENCE BY THE MEDIA? 230

Video Nasties 230

“Copycat” Murders 231

Boxing 234

The effect of watching a boxing match 235

Neighbor Disputes 236

Sympathetic motivation 237

Suicides 238

The Long-Term Effect of Television Violence 239

Summary 243

Questions for discussion 244

14 MONEY 245

Two ways to become rich 246

The Psychopathic Personality 247

Machiavellianism 248

The $10 game 249

The con game 250

Pawnbroking 252

Eye contact 253

Credibility when lying 253

Pyramid selling 256

Commissions for financial services 257

Questions for discussion 261

15 GAMBLING 262

The Prevalence of Gambling 262

Rationality 264

The estimation of probabilities 265

Blackjack 268

How gamblers play blackjack 269

Roulette 270

Betting systems 271

Luck 272

Personal view and camera view 274

Sales Promotions 276

Questions for discussion 277

16 HUMAN MOTIVATION: HOW DOES IT WORK? 278

Three Fundamental Ideas 278

Personal view and camera view 278

Quasi-mechanical behavior 279

Social conventions 280

How Does it All Work? 281

Hormones 282

References 284

Index 302

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Author Information

Donald Laming was formerly Senior Lecturer in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge. He has written several previous books, Information Theory of Choice-Reaction Times (1968), Mathematical Psychology (1973), Sensory Analysis (1986), and The Measurement of Sensation (1997).
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The Wiley Advantage


  • Examines how factors such as biological nature, instinct, past experience, and society determine what motivates people in the actions they take.

  • Draws on many different domains of human behavior and links together many motivational factors such as fear, sex, consciousness, and rage.

  • Illustrates the theoretical bases of motivation through real-life examples and case studies.

  • Written in accessible manner for use in courses.
See More

Reviews

"This new book on human motivation by Donald Laming represents a fresh look at an important area of psychology. The material is presented in the original idiom of real life stories in newspapers, which serve to illuminate classical controversies in social psychology. Although the book also has some novel theoretical insights, it should be particularly useful for students beginning in psychology." Trevor Robbins, University of Cambridge <!--end-->
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