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Motivation Cycle – 4 Stages of Motivation Cycle | General Psychology

Motivation Cycle

Motivation comes from the Latin word “movere”, which means “to move”. The concept of motivation emphasizes the internal and external forces that lead us to take action. Activation, urge, and internal craving are all internal processes that actively guide and maintain behavior.

Causes of behavior can be explained by it. Behavioral patterns are driven by it, which makes us pursue some things while avoiding others. An individual’s motivation can be characterized as something that prompts, compels or energizes them to act or behave in a particular way in order to accomplish some specific goal or purpose.

Motivation cycle is a transition of states within an organism that propels the organism toward the satisfaction of a particular need, where motivation itself is considered a hypothesized state.

The psychology of motivation is concerned with the ‘why’ of behavior. Questions such as: why do we eat, drink, and make love? Why do we strive to get ahead? Why do we try new things?” can be answered through the study of motivation. Motivation is a hypothesized state within an organism that propels the organism toward a goal.

Stages of Motivation Cycle

Stages of Motivation Cycle

The motivation cycle begins with a need. A need is the absence of some necessity. The next state is drive, which is arousal and energizing. The activity is a goal-directed behavior that continues until the person reaches that goal.

Arousal is then reduced as a result of the cycle. After a person’s next need arises, the cycle repeats itself, and the same pathway is followed.Broadly, there are four aspects of motivation cycle.

  1. Need
  2. Drive, and
  3. Incentive
  4. Goal/Reward 

a) Need  


A need is a state of physical deprivation that causes tension within an organism, which tends to organize the field of organism with respect to certain incentives or goals and to incite activity towards their attainment.

When an organism has been deprived of such basic necessities of life as food, water, and sleep, the internal environment is imbalanced and the need develops tissue needs, which are the biochemical requirements of the body. Need is the first condition for goal directed behaviour. 

Need is the absence or lack of some essentials that cause tension within an organism. Life is based on basic needs such as food, water, sleep, sex, etc. The needs can be simple or complex. Regardless of motivation or goal-directed behavior, needs are the starting point.

While some people may have simple psychological needs, such as clothing, food, shelter, and sex, others may have secondary needs, such as affiliation, power, and achievement.

b) Drive  


Need gives rise to drive. The concept of drive is used to mean that the organism is particularly sensitive to certain stimulation and usually is driven to activity. The activity persists until the need is satisfied or until weakness or death occurs.

Therefore, drive, a physiological state, is an original source of energy that activates the human organism. It arouse person to action. It is a strong persistent stimulus that demands an active response. Drive is the result of need.

Try FAQs

According to drive theorists, the foremost motivation for all organisms is to

a) achieve self-actualization
b) maintain homeostasis
c) ensure their own survival and the survival of their species
d) experience as much pleasant stimulation as possible

Drive theories of motivation are classified as ____ theories, while incentive theories of motivation are classified as ____ theories.

a) external; internal
b) socio-biological; sociological
c) constrained; unconstrained
d) push; pull

Why do drive-reduction approaches fail to offer a complete account of human motivation?

A) People are sometimes motivated to increase rather than decrease their level of stimulation.
B) Homeostasis doesn’t accurately describe the mechanism by which primary drives operate.
C) Drive-reduction approaches offer much better explanations of behaviors motivated by secondary drives than of behaviors motivated by primary drives.
D) Drive-reduction approaches are vague about what, or even how many, primary drives exist.

Which of the following behaviors is consistent with a drive theory of motivation?

a) eating dessert after a large meal
b) looking up information in the encyclopedia
c) eating an apple when hungry
d) studying hard to earn an A on the test

Which of the following is explained by the drive-reduction theory of motivation?

a) Jafar decides to stay in the pool even after he has cooled down.
b) Joshua is thirsty and chooses lemonade rather than soda to drink.
c) Jeffrey keeps running in the marathon even though every muscle in his body aches and all his vital signs are working overtime.
d) Jim played in the game because he did not want to let his teammates down.

The main implication of the four-drive theory of motivation is that

A) employers should offer employees a choice of rewards and continuously initiate change in the workplace.
B) employees should be given generic goals with plenty of feedback.
C) employers should motivate employees to achieve challenging goals and give them egalitarian rewards.
D) employers should select people with the best qualifications for the job.
E) drives/needs-based theories have no relevance for managing people in organizational settings.


c) Incentive 


An incentive is an object, a situation of our activity, which excites, maintains, and directs behaviour. Incentive has the capability to satisfy a need. Without an incentive or reinforcer, motivation cannot be fulfilled. It is an object toward which motivated behavior is directed.

It can provide satisfaction of the aroused drive. Food is an incentive to hungry men. Need alone do not produce motivated behaviour and drive alone does not make a selective and rational behaviour. Incentive is necessary.

It channels the drive to specific behavior. In sum, it can be said that need is a physiological or psychological state which gives rise to drive, energy or force. The drive is a state of heightened tension leading to restless activity and preparatory behavior.

According to HiIgard, an incentive is something in the external environment that satisfies the need and thus reduces the drive through consumatory activity.

d) Goal/Reward  


The goal of energized activity is to reduce the tension created within the body. Here in the above example consumption of food and reduction of tension is the goal. When goal is achieved the need reduced, body is in balanced condition and tension is reduced. The person is again ready for other goal-directed activity.

Motivational cycle, therefore, means that behaviour goes in a sequence. Since the sequence is cyclical and needs are never ending there are more than one motivated behavior that constantly influence the person to act and react. Many times single motivated behavior fulfills more than one need.

People Also Ask

Who proposed the motivation cycle?

Who proposed the motivation cycle?

Motivation Cycle was proposed by Abraham Maslow. According to Maslow, motivation is the result of a person’s attempt to meet five basic needs: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization. It has been suggested by Maslow that these needs can influence a person’s behavior by creating internal pressures.

What factors affect the motivation cycle?

  • Activation,
  • Persistence, and
  • Intensity.

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