- What is temporal discounting, and how does it affect motivation?
Temporal discounting refers to the tendency of people to attach greater value to rewards that are approaching the temporal horizon either from the future or the past. Temporal discounting occurs when people are more interested in something now, but were less interested in the past or in the future. For example, it is likely that most people would prefer to have $50 today than have the same amount one month from now. On the other hand, most people would prefer to be denied the $50 if they are promised that they will get $200 in two months. This aspect of Smaller Sooner Reward (SSR) compared to Larger Later Reward (LLR) is used in motivation studies. Individuals’ motivational levels react differently to SSR and LLR with some people being motivated more by one than the other.
b. How are the concepts of impulsiveness and self-regulation related to temporal discounting?
Impulsiveness or impulsivity is the tendency to act with little or no forethought or consideration of the consequences. Impulsive individuals also pay little attention to detail, and this reflects their choice of SSR and LLR as dictated by temporal discounting. Impulsive individuals seem to prefer the Smaller Sooner Rewards because they pay little attention to future possibilities. Hence, they are less likely to choose the Larger Later Rewards. On the other hand, self-regulation is the ability to control behavior such that the individual acts according to the situation. Therefore, self-regulation enables an individual to choose the best reward, whether it falls within the temporal horizon or not.
- What are psychoactive drugs?
Psychoactive drugs are chemical substances that people induce into their body systems to alter perception, consciousness, or mood by affecting their brain functions. Psychoactive drugs can be grouped into four broad categories: depressants, stimulants, opioids, and hallucinogens. Depressants include alcohol and sedatives which lower the activity of the central nervous system. Stimulants include cocaine and ecstasy which increase the activity of the central nervous system. Opioids include heroine and morphine which relieve pain, induce sleep, and dull senses. Lastly, hallucinogens include PCP and LSD which distort perceptions and can induce hallucinations and delusion.
b. People enjoy eating when hungry and putting on a sweater when cold, but psychoactive drugs motivate people in other ways. How do psychoactive drugs differ from these behaviors, regarding the motivational aspects of the pleasure that they provide?
The motivational aspect of psychoactive drugs is mainly found in their effects on mood. By increasing or decreasing the activity of the central nervous system, the drugs either boost mood or slow down hyperactivity. Unlike food and clothes, the rewarding effect of psychoactive drugs is often addictive, and users experience withdrawal effects when they quit using them. Additionally, the pleasures that psychoactive drugs provide have been known to cause substance dependence.
c. What do many psychoactive drugs have in common regarding where they have their effects (in the brain)?
Psychoactive drugs affect the functioning of the central nervous system, either by slowing it or speeding it. Their effect on the central nervous system induces emotional and psychological changes in the user, and the effects are rewarding and often pleasant. For instance, opioids such as morphine help recovering patients to relieve pain to a great extent while others like caffeine and tobacco have relaxing effects to the brain.
- Discuss three factors that affect the value or utility of an incentive. Include a brief example of each.
The material reward is one of the main factors behind most incentives. In the contemporary world, most institutions and individuals issue rewards in financial or material form. For instance, organizations will reward top performers with promotions, higher pay, or other rewards such as all-expense-paid excursions. The other major factor affecting the value of an incentive is the moral gain. Incentives reward people through recognition, increased self-esteem, and approval, and all these factors determine the value of the incentive. The other factor is the coercive or physical force behind the incentive. Some incentives are fueled by some forms of punishment that the individual is subjected to if they fail to complete a task. More forceful coercion often creates higher value and utility in the incentive depending on the setting and the individuals involved in the incentive measure.
- What effect does incentive value or utility have on the motivation of behavior?
Incentive value and utility determine the mood of the individual and ultimately their motivation. In this regard, incentives that have a greater value to the institution or individual offer higher material and moral rewards. For instance, incentives to increase the productivity of a company offer rewards of recognition, promotion, and salary increments. On the other hand, incentives with a smaller value such as reporting time for work often do not hold big rewards. Still, incentives with a small value could increase motivation if the individual faces the risk of punishment or deprival of benefits or comforts.
- What is goal commitment?
Goal commitment refers to the degree of determination that an individual has in achieving the set or desired goals. Goals are central elements of any function, and commitment to them determines the success or failure of the activity. Regarding this, every function and activity has goals, but it is the determination of the stakeholders to achieve them that determines their success or failure.
b. How can goal commitment be measured?
Goal commitment can be measured at two intervals before and after the achievement of a goal. Factors that have to be assessed include the initial intentions of the individual and the maintenance of goals. In this regard, the individual’s actions throughout the activity have to be assessed for their relevance to the initial goals. Constantly changing goals reflect a low degree of goal commitment.
c. How can goal commitment be increased?
Goal commitment can be increased through self-efficacy, or the belief that the individual will achieve the set goals. Self-efficacy can be boosted by setting achievable goals and ensuring sufficient planning before one starts acting on the goals. Goals that are too optimistic are likely to reduce motivation and commitment. Another way that goal commitment can be increased is through teamwork. Team goals are easier to commit to because one has to be as committed to their goals as much as they are committed to the team goals.
- Which do people typically prefer: predictable stressors or unpredictable stressors?
Stressors refer to events, conditions, or agents that cause stress. Stressors can be grouped into two broad groups: predictable and unpredictable stressors. Predictable stressors are those that everyone who is exposed to them anticipates stressful conditions. They include environmental stressors such as earthquakes, life changes such as bereavement, and workplace stressors such as low pay. On the other hand, unpredictable stressors are those that only some of the individuals exposed to them would anticipate stressful outcomes. Unpredictable stressors can be hidden, or the person affected could fail to realize that they are capable of causing stress. They include chemical stressors such as tobacco and daily stressors such as physical activity. A smoker might not anticipate that smoking will cause stress in their later lives as they try to quit while a person doing physical work may not anticipate muscle pains because he cannot predict the amount of physical work that will create the pain. People typically prefer unpredictable stressors because they create opportunities to enjoy their current environments and situations. This is unlike the case of predictable stressors where the individual is under constant fear of the obvious outcomes, yet they have no power to change them.