Motivation and emotion/Lectures/Introduction

Lecture 01: Introduction

Resource type: this resource contains a lecture or lecture notes.

This is the first lecture for the Motivation and emotion unit of study.


This lecture:

  • provides an overview of the unit, highlighting key points from the unit outline, particularly the assessment, with detailed explanation about the topic selection and topic development exercises.
  • introduces the psychological study of motivation and emotion and key conceptual frameworks.

Take-home messages:

  • This unit seeks to understand psychological theory and research about motivation and emotion and to apply this knowledge to a specific topic for the major project.
  • The assessment items are: Topic selection (0%), Topic development (10%), Book chapter (45%), Multimedia presentation (20%), Quizzes (25%)
  • Motivation refers to the processes that give behaviour its energy, direction, and persistence.
  • Emotions help us to adapt by functioning as motivators, providing feedback about our behaviour, and helping us to communicate our needs to others.

Key questionsEdit

Etymology: The terms "motivation" and "emotion" have a common root in the Latin verb movere (to move).

There are two key questions underlying psychological study of motivation and emotion:

Why do we do
what we do?

Why do we feel

the way we feel?

The practical, applied purpose is to be able to better address the questions of:

How can we change
what we do?

How can we change

what we feel?

What is motivation?Edit

  • If you ask someone in the street, "What is motivation?" they are likely to say something about having the will-power and self-discipline to focus and channel one's attention and efforts towards a short- or long-term goal-related task such as doing a workout or studying.
  • This aspect of motivation is commonly depicted in "motivational" books and media.
  • For example, this video inspires us to put aside inner excuses and self-doubts, to push on through difficulty, and strive towards challenging goals:

The ultimate motivational clip - Rise and shine! (YouTube) (3:24 mins):

  • What's are your favourite motivational videos, quotes, books, or podcasts?

Key insightsEdit

  • Psychological science considers ALL behaviour to be motivated. This includes:
    • approach-based goal-directed behaviours
    • mundane behaviour (e.g., drinking and eating)
    • less "desirable" behaviours (e.g., avoidance, procrastination, nose-picking etc.)
    • "non-behaviour" (i.e., choosing not to do something is also a motivated behaviour)
  • Two people doing the SAME behaviour (e.g., a workout) may have DIFFERENT motivations (e.g., fitness, mood change, social engagement).
  • We have MULTIPLE motivations in any moment, but only our DOMINANT motivation gets acted upon.
  • Emotions are "designed" to help up to adapt to our environment
  • Emotionally intelligence involves tuning into, self-regulating, and making effective use of emotion


  1. Unit outline
  2. Chapter 01: Introduction (Reeve, 2018)


See alsoEdit