Expectancy value approaches to motivation

The expectancy value theory of motivation is perhaps one of the simplest, but most useful, formulations of the psychology of motivation. Why do do we do things? According to expectancy approaches, because we think that they will probably generate an outcome we value. But is there more to it than that? What is it that makes some goals seem attainable? And is it better to ‘shoot the moon’ for a high value outcome which is likely to be unattainable, or are we better going for something smaller,but more likely..?

Lets explore expectancy value theory in more depth….

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Cognitive dissonance as a motivating tool.

What is cognitive dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance is a powerful tool which can be used to motivate us in various ways. As a concept, it is best explained through an example. Think about the following statement- ‘it is important that people give blood so that blood banks can be adequately supplied’. This is probably something that you agree with. Now ask yourself- do I regularly give blood? If you are reading this and do, you should feel pretty good about yourself . However, if you’re reading this you do not then you’re probably feeling a slight sense of unease. This response is the essence of cognitive dissonance – a feeling that one aspect of ourselves does not fit with another. But how does it work, and how can we harness it?

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