Tuesday, December 14, 2010


After taking this class it is clear that motivation is a broad topic covering many subjects including personality,biology,addiction,culture,economics and much more. The class began by covering the main theoretical perspectives in motivation including early philosophical views of hedonism and the motivation to attain pleasure and avoid pain. From this basis both biological(evolutionary and physiology) and psychological components emerged to describe the many functions of motivation in our every day lives. Some of the biological components included the brains activity in addiction and the motivation for food and water based on the body's state of homeostasis.Some of the psychological components included personality factors in motivation and the answer to why people cognitively enjoy music or a good joke.
One topic I found particularly interesting was the state of arousal and affective valence. This topic covered the reason for a preference of an aesthetic stimulus based on its complexity and your exposure to it. Generally people find music most enjoyable when it is not too boring and repetitive and not too complex and different. If you are exposed to a new type of music that you are unfamiliar with and it is comparably more complex than the music you are use to listening to (different time signatures/more instruments), then you are more likely to find the music undesirable. If you were to listen to this same music multiple times it would begin to become more enjoyable as you are exposed to it more. I found this to be true in my own personal taste in music by which I listen to bands primarily in the progressive rock genre. Progressive rock is known to use unusual or complex time signatures and mix different genres, particularly jazz and classical with rock. Many times when listening to a new album I will not enjoy it because the sound is different, but upon repeated listens I will begin to appreciate and enjoy the sound.
This state of enjoyment goes beyond aesthetic preference and can be applied to ones immersion in sports, reading, and problem solving. An example of this is in which one is beginning to learn to play tennis. It is better for the beginner to play against someone of equal ability than a professional or someone even less skilled. A professional would likely frustrate the beginner and be too challenging, while someone of lesser ability would likely be a bore. This is the state of flow or optimal performance and it can apply to any state of full immersion. By understanding the motivation of this state one can better themselves in finding and maintaining their enjoyment.