IT Theory and Theorist ResearchPaper: Drive-Reduction TheoryPhilip BolerThe University of West Florida AbstractMotivation is often a term used to getpeople to understand that a task or goal that may seem impossible or difficultto obtain can be reachable through self-drive. So, what is motivation?Motivation can be defined as a stimulus or influence that drives a person toact accordingly to achieve a goal. Motivation is the force that inspires peopleto do things that ultimately results in a self-desire. While some call itmotivation, the terms used theoretically can be drive-reduction. The personafter a goal must be driven to obtain knowledge on a subject to reduce the fearof not having that knowledge to advance. The drive-reduction theory exploreshow people use motivation to dwindle the fear of not having knowledge and/orskill to increase their standard of productivity (Macmillan & Aiken, 1954).
This research will dive into the concepts of drive-reduction theory and how itis applied in instructional technologies.IntroductionThe Drive-Reduction Theory focuses on howmotivation is driven from biological needs. Before focusing on the theory,itself, understanding the definition of the defining words in the theory’stitle should be examined. Drive, in relation to this theory, can be defined asthe stimulus into an activity that dictates course and/or direction. Drive istypically the reaction to a need. When a person lacks food, this creates adrive of hunger.
This leads to the second word of the theory; reduction.Reduction is the act of diminishing a specific state or condition. Once aperson is driven to find food due to hunger, the hunger is reduced once thefood is devoured by that person.
The Drive-Reduction Theory in instructionaltechnology studies the behaviors behind the human stimulus that effect theirimmediate response to obtaining knowledge (Berlyne, 1960). Origins of TheoryClark L Hull developed the drive-reductiontheory while working at Yale University. He strongly believed that humantendency to a stable equilibrium between mental, physical, spiritual andemotional elements was enough motivation to obtain knowledge in areas that directlyaffected these areas (Leornard, 2002). This balance is known as homeostasis. Hullargued that is the state of homeostasis is challenged or driven to a state ofuncertainty, the human will motivate themselves to fulfil that void by seekingthe knowledge to fulfill their need.
The reduction of these drives throughappropriate behavior is thought to be the immediate reaction of the human toreach a state of homeostasis. Hull’s theory was highly recognizable in the1940s and 1950s but was later exploited that many loop holes left manyquestions unanswered about the theory.Drive-Reduction Theory and LearningThe Drive-Reduction theory is one of manymotivational theories that was used to assist with the understanding of aperson’s physiological and biological needs (Atkinson, Hilgard & Smith, 1975).
Hull explained in his theory that drive would place an individual in a state ofneed where motivation is needed. Furthermore, Hull explained how an individualin a state of need will do what is needing to reduce that need. Instructionaltechnologist often refers to this theory to remind themselves not to ignorenatural and environmental factors of an individual that motivates them toobtain knowledge required. Drive-Reduction theory focused on primaryand secondary drives. Primary drive are your typical native biological needssuch as hunger and desires for love and/or sex. In short, primary drives areyour needs for survival. Secondary drives, on the other hand, are social orpersonal factors that directly link to the primary drives. For example, hungeris a primary drive and money is a secondary drive because money is needed topurchase food to reduce the hunger.
Hullbelieved these drives are the underline behaviors to everything learned. Additionally,he hypothesized that when an individual experience more drives, that individualcreates a more rapid learning experience than those of with a single drive. Drive, however, must be reduced to bringthe individual back to a state of homeostasis. This is where reduction comes into play. The individual’s drive bring focus to an action that will reduce thedrive to create stability.
Regarding education, drive triggers a cue in theindividual. This cue is also known as stimulus. The cue is the recognition thatsomething must be learned to reduce the drive. Once the individual acknowledgesthe cue, the individual respond by engaging in an activity that will reduce thedrive to a state of stability (Campbell & Kraeling, 1953). That state ofstability must reinforce the idea that the drive has now reduced.
If the driveis not reduced after the response, the individual is cued about the drive’sstate and cycle through this process until stability is restored. Drive-Reduction theory also emphasizesthat through engaging in a drive and learning the process of reduction todwindle or eliminate the drive, habits are formed. These habits play a role inthe type of behavioral responses in which an individual engages.
When theindividual engages in a state of drive, the individual natural relapse toknowledge gained while reducing that drive, creating a habit that reduces thedrive (Zimbardo, 1988). The more the individual engage in a behavior to ignitethe drive, the individual is more likely to engage a similar behavior thatreduce the drive and continue to reduce that drive in the future (Graham , 1996). Critiques of Drive-Reduction TheoryHull’s Drive-Reduction theory did a decentjob at discovery and analyzing top-level motivational behaviors. Graham andWiener states, “It is understood that most drive theories are unlearned,biological drives, which progressively develop a bigger set of appropriatedrives through learning (Graham & Weiner, 1996).” However, manypsychologists challenged drive theory by exploring a deeper understanding ofhuman and animal behaviors. Many psychologists agreed that primary drives willcreate a need of reduction to re-establish homeostasis, however, the theoryreally did not assess secondary drives accurately. Additionally, he did not assessbehaviors that provided pleasure.
For instance, a student in the United Statesmust learn to speak English to adapt well with society. That’s understood.However, that same student may learn to speak German simply because they enjoy thelanguage. Learning German is not a drive of necessity but is merely a want. ConclusionIn conclusion, people are motivated tocarry out some actions to reduce the internal tension caused by unmet needs. Anexample of application of this theory is that when you drink a glass of waterto reduce the internal state of thirst. Another example is if we were hot, wewould seek for a shade, this seeking for shade and drinking glass of water isan example of drive reducing behavior.
The problem however, faced with thistheory is that the drives are not always, purely motivated by physiologicalneeds. For example, a person may smell freshly baked bread and want to eat italthough he has already done his breakfast little time ago. In this case thedrive ‘hunger’ is not motivating him to do this action but he is just eatingthe bread because he is attracted to the smell and he knows that a freshlybaked bread tastes very good. (Lepper, 1995) ReferencesAtkinson,R., Smith, E.; and Hilgard, Ernest R.
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