Motivation & Counselling
By Prammit Saran
Motivation is the reason for people’s actions, desires, and needs. Motivation is also one’s direction to behavior, or what causes a person to want to repeat a behavior. An individual is not motivated by another individual. Motivation comes from within the individual. Motivation has been considered as one of the most important reasons that inspires a person to move forward. Motivation as a desire to perform an action is usually defined as having two parts, directional such as directed towards a positive stimulus or away from a negative one, as well as the activated “seeking phase” and consummatory “liking phase”. This type of motivation has neurobiological roots in the basal ganglia, and mesolimbic dopaminergic pathways. Activated “seeking” behavior, such as locomotor activity, is influenced by dopaminergic drugs, and microdialysis experiments reveal that dopamine is released during the anticipation of a reward. The “wanting behavior” associated with a rewarding stimulus can be increased by microinjections of dopamine and dopaminergic drugs in the dorsorostral nucleus accumbens and posterior ventral palladum. Opioid injections in this area produce pleasure, however outside of these hedonic hotspots they create an increased desire. Furthermore, depletion or inhibition of dopamine in neurons of the nucleus accumbens decreases appetitive but not consummatory behavior. Dopamine is further implicated in motivation as administration of amphetamine increased the break point in a progressive ratio self-reinforcement schedule. That is, subjects were willing to go to greater lengths to obtain a reward.
Motivation can be conceived of as a cycle in which thoughts influence behaviors, drive performance affects thoughts, and the cycle begins again. Each stage of the cycle is composed of many dimensions including attitudes, beliefs, intentions, effort, and withdrawal which can all affect the motivation that an individual experiences. Most psychological theories hold that motivation exists purely within the individual, but socio-cultural theories express motivation as an outcome of participation in actions and activities within the cultural context of social groups.