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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Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic rewards

Intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation

Understanding how intrinsic and extrinsic forms of motivation differ helps us plan our activities and stay engaged with tasks at hand. Intrinsic motivation is based on inner values, whilst extrinsic is based on contingent rewards. But how can we harness our internal motivation and how (and when) do extrinsic rewards help (or hinder)? Read on to find more…

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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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Oxford Street – did people panic?

In the media aftermath of the shooting scare at Oxford Street, two social psychologists,Stephen Reicher and John Drury, ask if it is right to say people caught in a terror scare ‘panic’? Their conclusion? Panic suggests irrationality which isn’t really accurate…

Check out the full story here on the BBC website

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Deadlines – Psychology and Motivation

The Psychology of Deadlines

DeadThis last couple of weeks has been rather busy. I have a few deadlines and a lot of psychology research and teaching tasks coming up – some for things I really enjoy, others I have found really hard to settle down to. Many of these jobs have deadlines looming – what is the psychology underpinning this, and how can we make them work for us? Are they intrinsically helpful or not?

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How to achieve your goals by using implementation intentions.

goalImplementation intentions and behavioural follow-through

Like many people (I suspect!) I am sometimes not so good at following though on my goals. Here are a bunch of things which this week I fully intended to do, but failed epically to achieve. Note this is the abridged version – the full list runs to 3 volumes.

  1. Buy light bulbs for the kitchen
  2. Call an old friend I ran into on the train last week (Hello J!)
  3. Lose weight
  4. Write down when my annual leave is on our kitchen calendar
  5. Call a work colleague to discuss a new project
  6. Write up some work related expense forms

For many of these things I actively thought about doing them several times a day (as well as whilst cooking crazily calorie laden food in a near pitch-black kitchen).I’m not alone here – these sort of goals only seem to account for around 30% of the variance in our behaviour. Now, I am a reasonably well motivated guy, so why the apparent multiple lack of follow through? Part of the is probably due to the way I formulate my intentions.

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Oops. I gamified my life.

I am a grown man who is terribly pleased to get a sticker. What is worse is, this sticker is not even real. Yep. My partner bought me an activity monitor (if you’ve not heard of these think footstep pedometer on steroids).

PACMAN

 

Today I am mostly pleased because, since putting this device on, I have walked the same distance which emperor penguins migrate (112 km if you are interested). For this, my phone displayed a little picture of a penguin when I logged in. Super! Next, I want to climb stairs equivalent to a helicopters cruising altitude. I vow to avoid all elevators from this day on!

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