Starting from providing a description and sources of motivation to covering motivational economics, this class provided an in-depth understanding and analysis of motivation in our everyday lives. It provided answers to why we engage in certain behaviors; what motivates us to do something; and what factors hinder our motivation sequence. The discussions in class covered a wide range of topics which provided me with an understanding of different psychological perspectives, the link between environmental, psychological, and biological variables, and the combination of internal and external sources that motivate behavior. Learning the history of motivation and emotion enhanced my ability to recognize and understand key concepts and theories and how our past history paved the way for us to now better understand motivation and the role of emotions. In addition, the class discussions covered internal drives and needs as sources of motivation, giving us a better understanding of the psychological properties of motivation. Examining personality traits, talking about their association with motivation and how personality traits affect our behavior was also enlightening.
My favorite part was when we were having a discussion on cognitive economizing, specifically satisficers and maximizers. Satisficing is deciding on and pursuing a course of action that can satisfy the minimum requirements necessary to achieve a particular goal. A person does not spend an excessive amount of time and energy on deciding what he or she wants and does not necessarily strive for the best one. Though the criteria may be high, once they achieve their goal, a satisficer remains satisfied and thus happy. On the other end are the maximizers, who want to make the best decision. A maximizer examines every option extensively in order to make the best choice by sacrificing time and energy to learn about their options as much as they can. We had a discussion about people who use Yelp and called them maximizers. It was funny and the discussion was interesting because one of my closest friends is a maximizer; every time we watch a movie, he absolutely has to check the ratings and the reviews first. If the reviews are bad, no matter how much I try to persuade him, he stubbornly refuses to go see it. This also happens when we decide to go out and eat. He first researches on the best restaurants, reads the reviews on Yelp, and then picks out the best one. However, even at the best restaurant, he is never actually fully satisfied. Sometimes, he is unhappy with the food service; sometimes the food is not cooked right; and sometimes he just does not like the atmosphere or the smell of the restaurant. It can be irritating at times. But as we were learning about this concept in class, it dawned on me that we cannot blame them. Striving for the best in a way is a good thing. One sets his goals high and then becomes determined to achieve those goals. Additionally, a maximizer makes better choices. However, being a maximizer does have its downsides, as a person, even after achieving his or her goal, may remain dissatisfied. Being a satisficer has its benefits because it is less time consuming, less strenuous, and there are lesser feelings of regret involved. Overall, both satisficing and maximizing have costs and benefits. Discussing this topic was invigorating as I gained a better understanding of why my friend behaves the way he does!
I found a video that explains the difference between maximizers and satisficers
Another video that I found examines the book, The Paradox of Choice, written by Barry Schwartz. In the book, Schwartz demonstrates that having too many choices leaves a person bewildered and in the end unsatisfied even after making a decision. This is a good example of how choices affect our psychological well-being.
I think this class enabled me to think about what motivates me and how I can utilize this knowledge to gain the most out of it. It gave me an insight about what induces me to engage in a specific behavior as it makes me think about the motivation and causal factors behind my actions. I am more aware of when I procrastinate. It makes me think of the reasons behind procrastinating and how detrimentally stressful it can be for me. So I stop and think about the long term incentives, and internally motivate myself to work hard and have more time to accomplish my goals so that in the end, my stress does not accumulate and I can be happy. It enables to manage my time more effectively. Overall, I am taking away a lot of knowledge from this class.