Motivation, Consciousness and Self-Regulation
The first part of this book is devoted to the old problem of fundamental motivations that can hardly be approached in another way, other than theoretically. The second part of the book is devoted to new or rather marginal concepts that seem capable to enrich general models of motivational processes. Part three of the book deals with the issues of self-regulation and self-determination; in the last two decades the problems of motivation can be hardly dealt with without touching these issues. The focus of the last part of the book is cultural context and cultural mediation of motivation. This book was planned not as a collection of discoveries to be considered, but rather as a collection of nontrivial views that may turn helpful for making a better sense of the discoveries actually made. (Imprint: Nova)
This chapter gives an overview of the evolution of explanatory models of the fundamentals of human motivation throughout the last century: from the concepts of instinct and drive to basic needs, and from the lists of biologically rooted needs to the discovery of non-biological, social, and existential imperatives to human behavior. The integrative model, proposed by the author, distinguishes three qualitatively different levels of individual-world relationships: the biological existence, the social existence, and the personal existence. Objective meta-necessities inherent in each level (including the actualization of potentialities and relating to the environment; social belongingness and integration; self-determination and autonomous choice) underlie special needs relevant to this particular level.
The chapter presents a theoretical analysis of applications of the concept of meaning in the psychology of motivation. The history of this concept in psychology and especially psychology of motivation is traced with special emphasis on the two most elaborated general theories of motivation where the concept of meaning is central: J. Nuttin’s relational theory of human conduct and A.N. Leontiev’s activity theory approach. In the present-day context, the relevance of the meaning concept for attributional theories of motivation and action regulation is discussed. Personal meaning may fulfill the role of common denominator for many special models of motivation linking them together as well as with more general theoretical contexts and other problem fields.
Psychology of motivation is a very special field of psychological inquiry – highly, and even intimately important for everyone and still very fragmented and obscure, despite its centennial history. It was not always made a separate field during this history. A period of much theoretical interest in motivation directly connected with the fascination of the riddle of human nature through the first half of the 20th century was followed after the Second World War by decades of disappointment in general theory, narrow specialization of research and straightforward methodological rigorism. The field of motivation was occupied by cognitive revolutionaries, split into pieces and largely dissolved in other problems, such as learning, personnel management, psychotherapy, etc. In the last couple of decades this field seems to “reemerge” (Ryan, 2007). Among the factors of this reemergence R. Ryan mentioned a renewed interest to human nature, the rapid growth of cross-cultural psychology, new positive emphasis in research agenda, attention to profound existential issues, the discovery of sophisticated brain mechanisms of higher regulations, etc. Due to all these developments the psychology of motivation is now less than totally bound with old Manichean dichotomies like cognition vs. affect, conscious vs. unconscious, internal vs. external, etc. that now seem strongly delimiting if not misleading. It is less concerned with distinguishing easily measurable stable (that is, static) dispositional variables and attempts to get a better idea of the involved processes, relationships and complex systems.
The chapter presents an attempt to answer the basic question of the motivational roots of human activity in terms of varied principles and systems of activity regulation. Regulation is treated as the general principle explaining the capacity of living systems to move from less desirable outcomes to more desirable ones, based on feedback evaluated against the criteria of the desirable and causing corrections of the current activity. Forms of regulation may be of different complexity and subordinated to different kinds of criteria. The author offers a theoretical classification of possible logics of human regulation, each of them being an elementary mechanism; the proposed multiregulation personality model suggests that the whole system of individual autoregulation is made by the combination of the described elementary mechanisms in individually varied proportions that accounts for the qualitative interindividual differences.
This chapter presents a review of the current literature on theoretical and empirical studies of flow experience (or optimal experience) within Internet-mediated environments. The concept of flow as introduced by Csikszentmihalyi is described, the parameters characterizing optimal forms of experience are discussed, as well as data collection methods which are most often used to measure flow. The particular Internetmediated environments connected with the studies of optimal experience and thoroughly reviewed in the chapter include online (1) shopping, (2) learning, (3) game playing, and (4) interaction. A brief overview of the projects in the field, initiated and performed by the author and his colleagues, is also presented.
This chapter consists of two parts. The first one presents a summary of the selfdetermination theory account of people’s good living and optimal functioning. It highlights three motivational components identified by this theory: psychological needs (needs for autonomy competence and relatedness), aspirations and life strivings, and the continuum of motivational regulation. All these components are considered in relation to people’s eudaimonic happiness and optimal, healthy functioning. The main conclusion of this section is that in order to be happy, people need to regularly and in a balanced way gratify their needs, have strong intrinsic strivings relative to extrinsic aspirations, and be relatively self-determined in their main domains of living and functioning. The second part addresses in more detail the controversial question of the nature of human autonomy as a fundamental condition for people’s thriving and flourishing. It provides a conceptual analysis of this construct, uncovers the mechanisms of its beneficial performance, and addresses a highly discussed question of relationships of autonomy and culture. This section ends with a conclusion on the fundamental importance of human autonomy for people, communities and societies to survive and thrive.