Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Motivation: The Class

Motivation is a class that I had always wanted to take, regardless of when, and where, and by whom it was taught. When I think of the meaning of motivation, I think of not procrastinating, and making better use of my time getting things accomplished rather than sleeping or watching television. However, this class has shown me that there is so much more to it than that, and I learned several interesting facts along the way. Motivation is being moved to an action or a behavior, and a motive is an internal disposition to not only approach, but also to avoid, an incentive. There are biological and psychological sources of motivation, and internal and external sources. For example, money is an internal source, and studies have shown that deprivation of money can lead men to prefer heavier women (the external source). Addictions and psychoactive drugs were discussed, because they alter moods and behaviors. From chapter four I learned that caffeine is actually considered a psychoactive drug, and is the most widely used psychoactive stimulant in the world. Chapter seven outlines stressors, and techniques we use to repress them. I learned that stress can cause physical and psychological problems, and can worsen medical conditions. I also learned that a sense of humor can help reduce the affects of stress. The lectures also talk about personality traits and temperaments, and how they differ between individuals. Personality traits affect motivations; agreeable people are more likely to help stranded motorist, high-neuroticism persons are more likely to take part in risky behaviors as coping mechanisms. The text talks about arousal, and how male physiological arousal is increased after going for a run. And what I definitely enjoyed was learning about different facial expressions, and their relation to our emotions and moods.
My favorite chapter of all was chapter six: behavior, arousal, and affective valence. This chapter had to much information in it. I never knew that there was energetic arousal, which leads to a positive feeling, and tense arousal, which brings on a negative feeling. Energetic arousal is high during the midday, but low in the morning and at night, and can be increased by caffeine. Tense arousal usually occurs during stressful situations, like during an exam, job interview, or sports competition. High arousal can result in optimal performance, but further arousal shatters that performance (see my personal attached video :] ). Memory can even be affected by high and low levels of arousal. A person's cool memory system works best under low arousal, while the hot memory system works best under high arousal. When arousal is low, sensory stimulation can be reduced, and people can learn to like situations that previously frightened or stressed them out.
Everything I learned can be applied to real life situations, from discerning why a certain song is altering your mood, to why your procrastinating, and how to overcome the procrastination, and how to tell how someone is feeling by reading their facial expressions. Stress is something we, as college students especially, experience often, and we had a whole chapter just on the effects of stress and the different types. This class taught me more than I ever expected to learn, and went deeper into the term motivation than I thought possible. I am really happy I was able to find the time to take this class.