The Five General Theories Of Motivation

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General Theories of Motivation
There are five general theories that have dominated the scientific study of motivation. These are: Hull’s drive theory, Lewin’s field theory, Atkinson’s theory of achievement strivings, Rotter’s social learning theory, and attribution theory by Heider, Kelley and Weiner (Table 2.3). Although some of these broad theories no longer have great influence, they none the less laid a number of contemporary constructs which have more relevance to classroom motivation.
Table 2.3 Characteristics of Theories of Motivation (Graham and Weiner, 1990, p.68) Motivation Theory Drive:
Hull Field:
Lewin Achievement:
Atkinson Social Learning:
Rotter Attribution:
Heider, Kelley, Weiner
20- year time span 140-60 1940-60 1960-80 1960-90 1970-90
Homeostasis Yes Yes No No No
Mathematical Model Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Individual Difference Anxiety None Need achievement Locus of control None
Focus and range Food and water deprivation, learning Task recall, conflict; aspiration level Task choice Expectancy in skill vs. chance situations Achievement, affect, helping

Hull’s Drive Theory
Clark Hull can be regarded as the first dominant motivational theorist. He formulated his general theory of motivation and related it with experimental psychology. He drew on ideas from a number of other thinkers including Charles Darwin, Ivan Pavlov, and John. B. Watson and Edward L. Thorndike. He based his theory around the concept of homeostasis, the idea that the body actively works to
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