What motivates a person to get out of bed in the middle of the night and raid the fridge? Why do some people feel pushed to study hard and others to hardly study? It is questions like these that have been racking the brains of philosophers and psychologist alike for centuries. Fortunately for you and me, Prof. Berg with the help of Lambert Deckers’ textbook, teaches a whole class about motivation completely cutting brain racking out of the education equation. Motivation is a combination of many different biological, environmental, psychological and physiological factors that are explained in great detail throughout the chapters of the book. From Darwin’s theory of selection to Hull’s drive theory, this course taught me how human nature mixed with personal experience dictate the things we do and the way we set and achieve goals for ourselves. Covering topics like addiction, emotions and even the economics of motivation (not as horrendously boring as it sounds) this class has given me a unique insight into the “why” that lies behind not only day-to-day actions, but long term relationships and habits that are effective for a healthy lifestyle.
Of all the topics covered in this course the one I found most interesting is the explanation of facial expressions and the connection they have to emotions. It would seem that emotions that come from within your body would have no external representation. However, this is not the case. Both Bacon and Descartes saw changes in facial expressions as outward signs of emotion. Even more intriguing was the idea that facial expressions are not learned but instead innate presented by Darwin. He reasoned that expression served to communicate our emotions and “reveal the thoughts and intentions of others more truly than do words” (Deckers, 43). I agree with Darwin when he says this because actions do speak louder than words and disconcerting look from a figure of authority is often more scary than any loud scolding. This could be because one never really knows what lays behind another person’s eyes, especially if they are hidden within a scowl or even a deceptive smile.