Every behavior or change in behavior is influenced by motive and incentive. Motives push an individual into action and incentives pull a person toward an end state. Knowledge, Competence, and motivation are all necessary in order for a behavior to occur. Both internal and external sources contribute to motivation toward or against a behavior. Internally, an impulsive person will tend to choose and immediate reward and a person with greater self-control will choose a larger, later reward. There are universal motives that are shared by all societies due to evolution. The motives of sex, fear, food, and music are shared by all humans. Male and female values differ when it comes to selecting a mate. Women prefer men who have good financial prospects, who are ambitious, and industrious. Men tend to choose their mates more based on looks. Addictive behaviors are found most in those with high sensation seekers and those who are genetically related to individuals who struggle with addiction.
Body regulation, maintaining homeostasis, is an internal motivator. If we are hot, we will engage in a behavior that will cool us down. Physiological, brain, and psychological arousal can all help or hinder a certain behavior. Strain is caused by a lack of resources to meet a demand which can eventually lead to stress. Stress can not only hinder us psychologically, but it also weakens the immune system and can cause illness. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is arranged by most readily satisfied: physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Physiological needs are usually met before self-actualization. The five-factor model, OCEAN, explains why people are motivated by different incentives, and situations. Behaviors brought on by extrinsic motivation will slow down when the reward is taken away. Behaviors that are caused by intrinsic motivation tend to be long-lasting. A final goal will be more likely reach if sub-goals (smaller goals along the way) are in place.
I found the theories about the performance-arousal relationship to be interesting, and very relatable. The Cusp Catastrophe Model explains that cognitive and physiological arousal interacts to change performance. High levels of cognitive arousal increase physiological arousal which is when performance is at its best. A further increase in arousal will cause a decline in performance. I have heard this described by athletes, particularly gymnasts. They refer to this as ‘good nerves’ and ‘bad nerves.’ Gymnasts say they all feel a level of nervousness during competition but this is when their performance is at its best. If they are having a bad day and their anxiety level greatly increases, they ‘choke’ and probably end up falling off an apparatus.
According to the Processing Efficiency Theory, anxiety expresses itself as worry, and worry takes up working-memory space. Trait anxiety is an individual’s evaluation of a threatening event which turns into a anxious response. State anxiety is the actual feeling of apprehension, worry, and sympathetic nervous system arousal evoked by the threatening situation. The level and amount of anxiety a person experiences depends on their disposition to become anxious. Being and anxious person by nature, I have experienced this many times. Just recently during the Praxis exam, the instructor called out that half the time had gone by and I was a couple problems short of being halfway through the exam. I began to immediately feel anxious, and my heart started to race. This affected my level of efficiency as I was struggling with math problems I would normally have no problem with at all.
This video describes how to lower test anxiety. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself well and be confident: