Saturday, June 11, 2011

Final Post

In this course, I have explored all the facets involved in motivation. Before this course, I would have never realized all the different factors involved in something I once believed to be a simple part of life. While motivation can be described simply, as moving to action in response to a incentive. It can also be described as something that has evolved along with mankind and reflects primitive adaptation methods when experiencing fear or selecting a mate. Motivation also has physiological and psychological basis. Naturally, our bodies strive to maintain homeostasis. We use motivation to achieve our goal of restoring homeostasis. We often use motivation to satisfy desires outside of the body as well. External incentives (food, drugs) often work together with internal incentives (hunger, withdrawal) to satisfy our needs. As far as needs go, all humans have a sort of "hierarchy" of needs that control our motives. Ranging from most potent, these needs include physiological, safety, belonging, self esteem, and self actualization. Although we all share the same needs and the motivation to satisfy them, our varying personalities affect motivation. Personality traits and temperament cause people to react differently to situations and incentives. But whether or not people react positively or negatively to a situation, it has been proven that intrinsic motivation (motivation with no obvious external reward) is more successful than extrinsic motivation (coerced motivation toward an external reward). No matter the source, reason, reward, or reaction involved in motivation, it is something that we use every day. Sometimes, we may not even know it. Motivation can be unconscious, for example, when restoring homeostasis. It can also be the most prominent thing on your mind. For thrill seekers and sensation seekers, motivation is an extremely important part of their lives.

My favorite part of the course was the section on Evolution. I wrote my first post about mate selection, but all the topics within the evolution section were extremely interesting to me. I also liked the part about food and our evolutionary value of taste. Evolutionary history and personal history combined determine the food we prefer. A lot of our preferences are innate, like the preference for sweet things. Even newborns show preference for sweets and aversion to bitter and sour things through facial expressions. Also, we usually have a preference for foods that were ingested by the mother during gestation. While food preferences seem to be innate and related to our evolutionary history, foods that we stay away from also have an evolutionary basis. Food neophobia is the tendency to avoid novel foods and prefer familiar foods. From an evolutionary standpoint, food neophobia helps protect a person from eating substances that cause illness or death.

In the video below, we meet Erin, a child suffering from food neophobia. The difference between a picky eater, and one with food neophobia, is that for the neophobic, the food actually represents danger. Erin sees the food as a negative incentive that she must avoid. While she's seeing a professional that is hoping to take the anxiety out of eating, she still has a long way to go.


  1. I enjoyed reading your post. The video you posted was Extremely interesting for personal reasons. My son is the very same way. I did not realize that there was help. He eats the same small group of foods everyday while the rest of the family enjoys a large variety of foods. Foods that he will eat on a daily basis must also follow a certain criteria for him such as strawberries must be on the "squishy" side. He will not eat chicken unless it is Rotisserie and will not eat it alone, it must be with homemade mashed potatoes. This is the only vegetable he will eat and the only meat group he has eaten. He is 9 years old and I hope he will grow out of it but I now think I am going to take him to the doctors because no matter how many bribes I make him it just does not change.
    Thanks for the eye opener!

  2. I'm glad i could post something so helpful to you. Good luck to you and your son!! :)