Motives and Personality

Basic Concepts

Need Press

Apperception and the TAT

The Big Three Motives: Achievement, Power, and Intimacy

Need for Achievement Need for Power Need for Intimacy

Humanistic Tradition: The Motive to Self-Actualize

Maslow's Contributions Rogers's Contributions

Summary and Evaluation Key Terms


Olympic Gold-medalist Michael Johnson, who uses different strategies to motivate himself before a 200-meter race and a 400-meter race.

ne hot August night in 1996, a gun went of f in Atlanta. It started the final of the 200-meter Olympic race. Michael Johnson, who had won a gold meda in the 400-meter race just a few days earlier , exploded from the starting blocks. Would he become the first man in history to win both the 400- and 200-meter race at the Olympics? Michael stumbled slightly at the start of the race but soon assumed the upright style that had come to characterize his running technique. As he went around the turn, his trademark golden shoes flashing, it became obviou to the crowd that he was running for more than just the gold medal. As Michael widened his lead over his opponents, people knew they were witnessing something special. Michael finished a full 5 meters ahead of his nearest competito , and as he crossed the finish line the timer read 19.32 seconds. People who knew the sig nificance of that time, including Michael himself, gasped in disbelief. He ha beaten the previous world record, which he had set earlier , by almost three-tenths of a second, a remarkable gap in short-distance running. No runner has since been able to break Michael's incredible 200-meter record.

How did Michael motivate himself to set a world record in the 200-meter race and win a gold medal in the 400-meter race? The 400- and 200-meter races are very different, according to runners. In the 400-meter race, the runners can be strategic and take some time to plan a tactic. The 200, on the other hand, demands that the runners run flat-out and aggressivel .

Olympic Gold-medalist Michael Johnson, who uses different strategies to motivate himself before a 200-meter race and a 400-meter race.

Before the 400-meter race, Michael reportedly listens to jazz on his headset; before the 200, he listens to gangsta rap. He tries to make himself feel aggressive before the 200-meter race. He tries to get into what he calls the "danger zone." In warming up for the 200-meter race at Atlanta, Michael pulled on a T-shirt that read DANGER ZONE. "Now I have to think about the 200," he said. "I've got to get into the danger zone. I've got to get more aggressive. The other 200-meter runners are saying that I'm vulnerable. That's a mistake!" He approached the 200-meter race with a fighting instinct, taking the o fense by running not just to beat his competitors but to beat them badly. His coach also helped Michael feel aggressive by filling his hea with tough and fast imagery . As Michael approached the finish line in the 200-mete race, the aggression could be seen in his face, an expression that looked as if he could assault his opponents. The only thing he assaulted, however , was the world record. As the shock of his finish time faded from his face, the aggression melted away also Michael came out of the danger zone. He had just motivated himself to run faster than any other living person. 1

We saw in Chapter 1 that personality psychologists ask, "Why do people do what they do?" Motivational psychologists phrase the question a bit dif ferently—"What do they want?" All personality psychologists seek to explain behavior . Personality psychologists interested in motivation, however , look specifically for a desire or motiv that propels people to do the things they do (Cantor , 1990).

In this chapter, we will cover some of the major theories on human motivation, and we will examine some research findings on these theories. Some theories that w will look at are quite dif ferent from each other, such as the theories of Henry Murray and Abraham Maslow. In fact, most texts in personality cover these two theories in different chapters. However, all the theories we will examine have two features in common. First, all view personality as consisting of a few general motives, which all people have or are capable of having. Second, these motives may operate mainly through mental processes, either inside or outside of awareness, generating an intrapsychic influence on a person s behavior (King, 1995).

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