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Flashcards in 13 Motivation Deck (12)
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Why are beliefs not sufficient to explain behaviour?

Because beliefs are action-neutral. A belief can explain behaviour X, but also explain behaviour not-X.

E.g. Someone who believes junk food is bad for you might eat it or not eat it.


What is the belief-desire model of motivation?

1. S believes that doing A achieves B
2. S desires B
3. S does A


What's wrong with using the concept of intentions, purposes and goals to describe motivation?

These goal-directed concepts – intentions, purposes, goals – cannot refer to anything real in the motivational systems, because they’re logically incompatible with the idea of a causal mechanism. They are non-deterministic. Appealing to concepts of intention and purposes implies that the person could do otherwise. If we want to understand how people’s motivational systems work, and how they interact with neural systems which underpin the cognitive relation, then we want to discover the mechanisms which CAUSE behaviour.


What's wrong with this explanation? "Red blood cells are released from the spleen in order that oxygen be distributed to the muscles quickly"

It's a teleological explanation. Events never happen in order to bring about their effects.


What is the overdetermination thesis?

The idea that events have multiple causes.


Why can't desire account for behaviour?

Because desire is 'intentional' – it always takes an object – and is thus a relation and not internal to you.


What are dispositional concepts?

Concepts like habit, inclination, trait, tendency to behave in a certain way in a certain context.


What is the problem with using dispositional concepts as explanations? Use 'ability' as an example.

Dispositional feature is an effect, a behavioural outcome.

E.g. To say you have certain ability is only to say that under certain conditions you will do well on certain tasks. Can’t explain performance by evoking ability as a cause. It’s a circular argument. The evidence for the ability is the effect, not the cause.


In what way can the quality of 'brittleness', a dispositional feature of glass, explain why it breaks?

It can't.

Brittleness is said to be a property of glass – if glass is hit hard it will break. We’re told what glass will do under certain conditions. Not told about the intrinsic properties of the glass.

In fact, brittleness is not intrinsic quality of glass – it’s what happens to glass when hit hard. Dispositional feature is an effect, a behavioural outcome. The actual qualities of the glass that are partial causes of the glass breaking still haven’t been identified.


Dispositional concepts pretend to tell us what something __, but only really tell us what something ____ _____.

Dispositional concepts pretend to tell us what something is but only really tell us what something will do.


Why do dispositions/traits have no explanatory value?

A trait is an effect or behavioural outcome. So invoking a trait actually invokes an effect, rather than the cause – yet it is spoken of as a state or property of the subject.

E.g. she cries because she's neurotic (ie. someone who cries a lot, inter alia).

To explain the behaviour by invoking a trait as a cause is a circular argument.


What five conditions must be met by a coherent concept of motivation?

A coherent concept of motivation must:

1. Capture the cognitive guidance of behaviour

2. Not be policy neutral (which rules out cognition)

3. Accommodate intensity (desire for A more than desire for B)

4. Be compatible with determinism

5. Not be relational (rules out desire – relations cannot energise the organism)