Monday, December 10, 2012

FInal Post

General Overview:

When signing up for classes last semester I came across this class and knew right away that I wanted to take it. It caught my eye for several reasons but mainly I wanted to find out what motivates us as human beings. What gives us that drive to continue day in and day out. I wanted to know how to explain it all. I also hoped to be able to take away important lessons for the future in regards to motivation. Now that the course is over I feel as though I have accomplished just that. From the beginning, this was the most interesting course that I took. I learned more information than I thought possible that was related to motivation. Each lesson was intriguing and Professor Berg brought the information to life. There were also power points with clear cut notes and fun videos that related to the lesson. It helped bring the class to life. He also engaged the class in discussions and it was neat to hear the stories the class had to share about the different topics we had covered. One other notable facet of this course is the other book that was assigned. Endurance, although a little slow at first, was the perfect book to pair with the course. It highlighted the hardships that Shackleton and his crew faced and their never ending motivation and endurance to continue and survive. It was a very inspiring story. 

A few of the many topics covered in class were the history of motivation, the biological & evolutionary aspects of motivation, mate selection, addictions to psychoactive drugs, exercising, gambling, and etc, homeostasis, thirst and hunger, stress and how to cope, drives & needs, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, personality and self in  terms of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, maximizers and satisficers, making decisions and choice overload, and the list goes on. All of these topics are clearly explained in an easy to understand way. This class is not your average boring lecture class by any means. You will be happy that you signed up for this course because I know I was. Motivation can be defined as "to be moved into action, or to decide on a change in action; & the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way." This course will show you that there is much, much more to that simple definition. 

Favorite Part: 

I had a few favorite parts in this course however I'll just focus on two. To start, I really enjoyed learned about mate selection and that whole process. The video we watched in class with the mate selection experiment really had me intrigued. When selecting a mate, we first rate ourselves and then use that rate to pick a partner on a comparable level. Usually we pick a mate that we think has the same "number" we rated for ourselves, or one number higher or lower. We also use mate value. Mate value is the possession of characteristics that are desired by the other sex. Some of these characteristics include ambition, financially secure, attractiveness, shared interests/values, kind, sense of humor, and desire for children. We tend to try and pick mates that possess the characteristics we are individually looking for in a mate. In class we did a live survey and had to text in an answer in terms of mate value. It was really cool to have everyone's results pop up instantly so that we could compare the results. 

*This is a video I found on youtube that pokes fun about choosing a mate and I found it kind of funny. Sadly, especially in younger ages, appearance seems to be everything when choosing someone to date. 

My other favorite part in this course was the economics of motivation. Their is a cost to satisfying a need or goal. These costs include time costs, physical energy costs, psychological costs and opportunity costs. These are all taken into account when motivated to do something. For example, by typing up this assignment and doing other homework for finals I am giving up hanging out with friends. This section also focused on choice and choice overload. Personally, I tend to maximize in many instances. When I am at the mall trying to decide on a new outfit for a night out, or when I am out to eat trying to decide on something to eat. I want to make sure that I make the best possible decision. I have learned that engaging in this way of making choices often results in me not being happy because I feel like I could've made a better decision. Instead, I am trying to be more a satisficer. I try and just choose now instead of debating over a choice for a long time. I have found that I am more happy when I do this and it is not as hard as I thought it would be, especially for the smaller things like choosing something to eat off of a big menu. Barry Schwartz developed the "Paradox of Choice" which simply states that when as the number of choices increases, satisfaction decreases. With all these choices we try and find the best possible one because why else would we have choices if not to find the best. We hold high expectations and when those expectations are not met we become disappointed. 

*This is a video I included of Barry Schwartz talking about his Paradox of Choice theory. He is telling a story about choosing a pair of jeans and how there were so many to choose from. 


There are many aspects of this course that could be extended into real life situations. There are several things that I learned throughout this course that I will take with me as well. For instance, I can be a big procrastinator. I like to wait until the last minute to sit down and do assignments. Strangely, some of my best work comes out this way, but I am only stressing myself out more than I need to. I am now going to develop small extrinsic rewards for completing assignments ahead of time and try to motivate myself to not wait until the last day and prioritize my time better. One other extension I have taken from this course is that after reading Endurance, I find myself seeing situations differently. Those men literally went through hell for seventeen months and managed to find the will the survive. Reading this book has made me feel that I can concur issues that I once thought I would give up on. If they can endure without the most basic of needs, I can find a way past my issues and problems. Overall, this class has provided me with very useful information that I am sure I will be using for years to come. 

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