Thursday, August 6, 2020

Temporal Motivation Theory and The Urinal Can Conundrum

    The story of Endurance exhibits the tenacity of the human spirit through the most perilous obstacles. Throughout the story, the crew had to endure treacherous voyages against unforgiving seas, subzero temperatures, above all the challenge of sharing a makeshift urinal with 21 other men. During the stay on Elephant Island waiting for Shackleton to return with help, the men huddled into a jury-rigged hut made from stones and their two remaining boats to shield themselves from the glacial winds. To combat the need for each man to braise these conditions anytime nature calls, Wild fashioned a urinal out of a 2-gallon gasoline tank. The rule was that anyone who raised its level to 2 inches or less from the top had to go out a dump it. This created a sort of risk-reward system of whether to drain the main vein or not. The men judged how full the tank by the sound it made from the last guy to use it. The more full it sounded, the more likely they were going to be the unlucky one to have to go outside to empty. If this doesn’t instantly remind you of temporal motivation equation, I don’t know what does. The equation reads as follows:

Motivation= (Expectancy x Value)/(Impulsiveness x Delay)

·        Now to make this really make sense, "Value" which refers to how rewarding the outcome would be viewed in more of a negative light since the reward the lucky winner gets is going outside in the frigid cold. "Expectancy" is the likelihood that the next golden deposit will be the one to push it over the edge which was judged by ear. "Impulsiveness" can be looked at as bladder control (the less bladder control, the higher the value). "Delay" is quite simply how long until morning. Through this equation, the men’s motivation to hold it in until morning can be calculated with some practicing herculean levels of bladder control that makes me ever grateful for indoor plumbing and heating. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk involving the peeing habits of shipwrecked sailors.

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