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Applying Motivation and Emotion Theories

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Applying Motivation and Emotion Theories

in an Analysis of Scrooge's Behaviour

Motivation and Emotion Theories 2

In the past many theories have been put forth in an attempt to understand the

motivations of an individuals behaviour and the emotions involved. According to

Reber & Reber (2001) emotional states tend to have motivational properties and the elements of a motivation will often have emotional ties. In addition, theorists have identified that physiological structures usually appear to exist in a motivational and emotional context (Heilman & Bowers, 1990; Reber, 2001; Strongman, 1973; Weiner, 1985). Some of the more well known ideas put forth by theorists include locus of control, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and opponent process theory. Whilst some of the concepts concerning emotions are the James-Lange theory, the Cannon-Bard theory and the cognitive arousal theory. One way of understanding how these particular theories work is to apply them to the motivations and often accompanying emotions of an individual, in this case, by the use of a fictional character such as Ebinizer Scrooge from Charles Dickens' 'The Christmas Carol.'

Developed by the theorist Julian Rotter, locus of control refers to a set of beliefs about the relationship between behaviour and the subsequent occurrence of rewards and punishments (Hjelle & Zeigler, 1992; Reber, 2001; Weiner, 1985). Links have been found between locus of control and behaviour patterns in a number of different areas. According to Hjelle & Ziegler (1992), those individuals with an internal locus of control are inclined to take responsibility for their actions, are not easily influenced by the opinions of others, are generally confident in their abilities and ultimately believe they have control over their own outcomes. Those with an external locus of control, by comparison , are readily influenced by the opinions of others, tend to blame outside circumstances for their mistakes and credit their successes to luck rather that to their own efforts (Phares, 1978, & Strickland, 1977, as

Motivation and Emotion Theories 3

cited in Hjelle & Zeigler, 1992; Weiner, 1985). Weiner argues that locus of control is conceived as one determinant of the amount of success one will experience in life, this being supported by Phares (1976, 1978) as cited in Hjelle & Ziegler (1992) who goes further to add that those with external tendencies have a lower self- esteem and a higher anxiety level. Taking note of these characteristics, Scrooge's levels concerning locus of control can be determined throughout his life. However, as Hjelle and Ziegler (1992) assert:

The construct should be thought of as a continuum bounded on one end by external and on the other by internal, with peoples beliefs located at all points in between, mostly in the middle. Keeping this in mind, we can measure locus of control.

In his early 20's, Scrooge had a fiancй whom he adored, success in all his ventures and a loyal friend, Bob Marley, as his business partner. He was respected by his peers and had a bright future to look forward to. At this point it could be said his locus of control was balanced, possibly leaning towards a more internal locus by evidence of his success and general outlook of the future. However, after Scrooge's fiancй left him for another man he became bitter at his abandonment, withdrawn to the point that he began to devote every moment to his business, as well as indicating a generally lowered self-esteem. From this evidence, using the characteristics of locus of control it could be said Scrooge is either more external or more internal- the lowered self-esteem and bitterness would indicate a sense of little control in the events of his life. Yet, by comparison, he is highly controlling to the point of obsession in maintaining his business- this control being an attribute of internal locus. Next Scrooge's business partner, Marley dies, leaving Scrooge full ownership of the business. The loss of Marley, seems to push Scrooge towards an internal locus with a continuing strong control of business and a renewal in self-esteem in that he realises

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he is capable in maintaining the business single-handedly. When Christmas arrives once again Scrooge's locus shifts due to loneliness he admits to resigning to the fact that this is the way he will be from now on- alone. This resignation indicates a belief of fate influencing his position which is one of the traits of an external locus. Also a trait of an external locus of control is an individual's suggestibility involving others' opinions. In this case, Scrooge quickly comes to rely on the opinions of the Christmas spirits that visit him. As illustrated by Scrooge's continual change in locus, it can be seen that an individual's locus range does indeed change- with keeping this in mind their positions can be roughly measured.

The opponent process theory of motivation was developed mainly by Richard Solomon, and it is in a sense a homeostatic theory of emotion. Suggested is that every emotion generates an opposing emotion that acts to control it, existing after the original emotion has dissipated (Mook, 1996; Reber & Reber, 2001). And with this dissipation, a drive to reach the initial emotion is created. An example, illustrating this theory is how an individual's luxuries soon turn into necessities. In order to reach the initial effect the object in question needs to be increased. This theory can be applied to Scrooge's need for money. Earlier in life Scrooge's business was successful enough that he could live in luxury, and for awhile that luxury was enough. However, even after Marley died, leaving him a mansion and full ownership of the business (and therefore more money), Scrooge began to push the business more in order to be profitable. Additionally, he became so tight-fisted with money he refused to be charitable towards family, employees and street beggars in order to save. This constant drive for more money supports the opponent process theory for motivation.

Motivation and Emotion Theories 5

The motivation of an individual can be either extrinsic or intrinsic and the source of



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