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Drive Reduction Theory of Motivation Example In Psychology

So, complex human experiences involve motivation. Motivation asks the question why. Why do we do the things we do? Why do we think and feel the way we do? So, you've probably heard of motivation in a different context. But today I'm going to show you how motivation is thought of as by different psychologists and other scientists. So, motivation is broken down into five schools of thought or five approaches. 

So, the first of these approaches is the evolutionary approach. This focuses on the role instincts play in motivation. So, what do humans do to survive? What is not learned and what's just an instinct? Think about a baby. When a baby is born, it doesn't know what else to do other than cry, sleep, and eat. These are all basic instincts that all humans know.

Drive Reduction Theory of Motivation Example In Psychology
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Moving on, the second theory is the drive reduction theory. And that focuses on two main points, drives and needs. So, a need is a lack or deprivation that is going to energize a drive or an aroused state. That drive is what is going to reduce a need, and that's how we maintain homeostasis or balance. 

Think about this scenario. You've been at the gym for two hours and you're really exhausted and thirsty, but your trainer says to you that you still have to do 50 more lunges. You're on one side of the gym and a refreshing cold water bottle is sitting on the other end of the floor. And all you want is that water, because you're so thirsty. But what's standing in between you and this water bottle? 50 lunges. Does not sound like fun. In this case, your need is water, and you're driven by thirst. Doing the 50 lunges is a means to fulfill that drive of thirst. So, drives are typically basic, essential, and physiological. 

The third theory is the optimum arousal theory. People are motivated to reach full alertness or full arousal. So why do people pay that ridiculous $70 at amusement parks just to go on a 30 second ride that's really high and scary? I'm sure most of us have all done that, I know, I love roller coasters. Well, the main point here is that the reason we do this is to fulfill our desire to reach full alertness or optimum arousal.

We get this natural high by doing things that can give us that full arousal and full alertness, and we like that state. The fourth approach is the cognitive approach. And this one's pretty straightforward. It focuses on our rationale and decision making ability. Just like a light bulb going off in our head. And the last approach is Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It says that we are motivated to satisfy certain needs in a particular order. These needs must be fulfilled from the most basic needs at the bottom all the way to the top. So, that's why we can use a pyramid to illustrate this hierarchy. 

So, knowing all of these approaches is a little daunting, but just understand that in reality, all of these factors are interrelated. They are not mutually exclusive. They are just five schools of thought that are going to help us understand motivation a little better.