Sunday, May 26, 2013

Motivation and the Brain

          The process by which an individual moves into action is motivation (Deckers, 2010). Motivated behaviors occur from his or her push and pull toward some end-state (Deckers, 2010). An individual’s motivations directly connect to his or her brain. Several structures of the brain and functions are associated with motivation. These same structures of the brain and functions play a role in an individual’s motivation for eating healthy in eating healthy as well as other brain structures. Extrinsic factors, such as social encouragement and positive reinforcement play a role in motivation as related to eating healthy. Intrinsic factors, such as evolutionary, and genetic factors, and the serotonin system play a role in motivation as related to eating healthy.
Structures of the Brain and Functions Associated with Motivation
          Within the brain, the limbic system and its four main structures that are the limbic cortex, the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the septal area play a factor in motivation and emotions. The amygdala plays a role in the recognition of emotions, analyzing potential threats, and reaction of emotions, and helps motivate an individual to react accordingly. The hippocampus plays a role in motivation and emotions because it forms new memories, and connects senses and emotions to memories therefore it allows an individual to draw upon experiences of the past to choose the best option that guarantees survival (Cherry, 2013). The hypothalamus, which receives information from the endocrine, neural, and metabolic signals is another brain structure important in its regulation of motivated behaviors. These brain structures and their functions directly contribute to an individual’s motivation.
Brain Structures and Functions Associated with the Motivation for Eating Healthy
          An individual’s motivation for eating healthy depends partially on the structures of the limbic system, which include as stated before the amygdala, the hypothalamus, the hippocampus, and the septal area. Limbic system structures are key factors to forming new memories and the regulation of emotions that play a factor in an individual’s motivation for eating healthy. Motivation directly connects to the limbic system therefore a key factor motivating an individual to maintain the act of eating healthy (Adcock, Thangavel, Whitfield-Gabrieli, Knutson, and Gabrieli, 2006). The limbic system is also linked to the brain's prefrontal cortex and pleasure center, which involves feelings of pleasure experienced from eating (Cherry, 2013). Along with motivation, reward is also connected to the limbic system; therefore rewards will strengthen motivation by producing a sense of achievement when maintaining the act of eating healthy.
          This also occurs with the release of dopamine into the hippocampus. The amygdala’s stimulation is a key factor in learning new habits and retaining those habits, such as eating healthy (Adcock, Thangavel, Whitfield-Gabrieli, Knutson, and Gabrieli, 2006). The hypothalamus plays a role in food intake regulation, and the lateral hypothalamic area is the hunger or feeding center (Deckers, 2010). The hypothalamus also motivates behavior such as drinking and eating. The hippocampus functions as a negative feedback mechanism, which serves to inhibit lower structures activities involved in the control of nonspecific levels of activation and types of incentive motivation, such as hunger and thirst (Cherry, 2013). Dysfunction or injury to the hypothalamus relates to an individuals increased appetite Placidi, R., Chandler, P., Oswald, K., Maldonado, C., Wauford, P., & Boggiano, M. (2004).
          The prefrontal cortex is another brain structure important in eating healthy because it exhibits control over impulsive behaviors and allows an individual to make sound decision relating to food choices. Other areas of the brain associated with motivation related to eating healthy are the dopamine circuits and the mesolimbic opioid; implicated in the abnormal increased appetite for food and for the consumption of food (Placidi, Chandler, Oswald, Maldonado, Wauford, & Boggiano, 2004). Several brain structures and functions contribute to an individual’s motivation for eating healthy.
Extrinsic Factors Motivating Eating Healthy
Social and Environmental Perceptions and Expectations
            The perceptions and expectations of society and an individual’s environment affect one’s desire and ability to eat healthy and to maintain a healthy diet (Deckers, 2010). An individual’s perception of what is eating healthy can be help, hindered, or alter, depending on the varying views of society. An example of this would be the views of an individual’s social circle differing from his or her own views, which could either help, hindered, or alter eating habits. Psychological needs, such as social acceptance can also help, hindered, or alter an individual’s food choices also because one can either associate with other individuals with the same healthy food choices or become isolated because of his or her food choices (Deckers, 2010). Health care providers can also influence an individual’s food choice by relaying heath concerns based on one food choices.   
Positive Reinforcement
            Positive reinforcement from an individual’s social circle (family and friends) can help to account for predicting the likely outcome for one to create and maintain a new diet and healthy eating habits. When members of that individual’s social circle reinforce or make similar eating choices as related to eating healthy it becomes a positive reinforcement. Displayed bad eating habits in an individual’s social circle becomes less of a motivating factor in eating healthy. Motivation decrease or enhances by the perspectives of an individual’s social circle as related to eating healthy. When members of an individual’s social circle already eat healthy he or she may become motivated to behave in a similarly. Positive reinforcement is a strong factor in motivating an individual to eat healthy.
Intrinsic Factors Motivating Eating Healthy
Evolutionary Factors
            Evolution is an intrinsic factor related to eating healthy. Hunger stimulates the tendency to eat what is available (Deckers, 2010). Eating is the primary purpose of supplying energy to an individual’s body for functioning. The hypothalamus regulates the evolutionary response of hunger and sends out a hunger signal whenever hunger occurs. This frequently can occur when starting a new diet in relation to an individual who is just starting to eat healthy. Also an individual’s dopamine system functions by promoting pleasure for activates such as eating (Deckers, 2010). Dopamine induces pleasure therefore motivating individuals toward behaviors that induce the release of dopamine, such as eating (Deckers, 2010). When an individual starts a new diet in relation to eating healthy it becomes a challenge for his or her dopamine system; temporarily modifying or hindering certain pleasurable sensations of eating.
Genetic Factors
            Genetic factors play a role in an individual’s ability to eat healthy, such as allergies, diseases, illnesses, and certain predisposition. Some hereditary influences affect processes, such as nutrient partitioning and energy expenditure, which affects an individual’s ability to maintain a healthy diet (O'Rahilly, & Farooqi, 2008). Disordered eating is one hereditary factor that can have an influence on an individual’s ability to maintain a healthy diet. Genes also influence human obesity, which suggest that heritable differences in neurobehavioral traits influence habitual eating behavior such as satiety, hunger, and the hedonic effects of food (O'Rahilly, & Farooqi, 2008). Genetic factors strongly influence one’s ability to maintain a lifestyle of eating healthy.
Serotonin System
            An individual’s serotonin system also plays a role in eating healthy. If an individual has more serotonin in his or her synapses he or she will eat less and are more discerning when choosing foods Placidi, R., Chandler, P., Oswald, K., Maldonado, C., Wauford, P., & Boggiano, M. (2004). This may occur because of serotonin in an individual’s neural system, which can provide the sense of well-being without the need of food providing this sense Placidi, R., Chandler, P., Oswald, K., Maldonado, C., Wauford, P., & Boggiano, M. (2004). When serotonin in the synapse is at low un-normal levels depression can set in, and cause an individual to gain weight and have a decreased desire to eat healthy. Changes in an individual’s serotonin levels link directly to binge eating and dieting Placidi, R., Chandler, P., Oswald, K., Maldonado, C., Wauford, P., & Boggiano, M. (2004).
            An individual’s brain structures and functions contribute to both motivation and the motivation to eat healthy. Therefore, an individual’s brain and nervous system affect how he or she processes motivating factors related to eating healthy. Extrinsic and intrinsic factors both play a role in motivation as related to eating healthy. Some of the extrinsic factors that contribute to the motivation of eating healthy are social, and environmental perceptions, and expectations, and positive reinforcement. Some of the intrinsic factors that contribute to the motivation of eating healthy are evolutionary factors, genetic factors, and serotonin system. Some motivating factors play more of an influential role than others in relation to an individual’s motivation, which are important factors as related to what pushes or pulls individuals into action.    
Cherry, K. (2013). Psychology. Retrieved from
Adcock, R.A., Thangavel, A., & Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., Knutson, B., Gabrieli, J.D.E. (2006, May). Reward-Motivated Learning: Mesolimbic Activation Precedes Memory Formation. Neuron, 50(3), 507–517.
Placidi, R., Chandler, P., Oswald, K., Maldonado, C., Wauford, P., & Boggiano, M. (2004). Stress and hunger alter the anorectic efficacy of fluoxetine in binge-eating rats with a history of caloric restriction. The International Journal of Eating Disorders, 36(3), 328-341.

O'Rahilly, S., & Farooqi, I. S. (2008, November). Human Obesity: A Heritable Neurobehavioral Disorder That Is Highly Sensitive to Environmental Conditions. Diabetes , 57(11), 2905–2910.

Briefly define stress and stressors. In what ways do individuals differ in their appraisal and ability to cope with life stressors? Are there certain personality traits that serve to buffer individuals against stressors and stress? Why or why not?

     Stress is a reaction to a stimulus, which disturbs an individual's physical or mental equilibrium, endangers well-being, and shows up as psychophysiological disorders, physiological arousal, negative feelings, and illness, or maladaptive behaviors (Deckers, 2010). Stressors produce stress because they are experienced situations that are perceived as a threat to an individual’s well-being (Deckers, 2010). Coping with stressors is unique to each individual's personality, each individual differs in the ways that he or she copes with stressors or the techniques used to cope with stressors. Some individuals use a certain stress-reducing activity to cope whit stressors that works best for him or her, such as exercising, talking to others (friends or family) about the stressors, or just spending time with others, using meditation, listening to music, and even drinking. However, some individuals are unable to cope with stressors and suffer from depression or other health related problems.
     Yes I do believe certain personality traits serve to buffer some individuals against stressors and stress. Personality traits are indeed important factors which determine how an individual cope with stressors ad stress (Deckers, 2010). The personality traits that can serve as buffers against stressors and stress are procrastination, sense of humor, and hardiness (Deckers, 2010). Personality traits serve as buffers because they enhance an individual's ability to cope with stressors and stress.      

Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

What is the relationship between arousal and behavior? Which sources of arousal do you believe have the greatest effect on arousal level? Explain.

     Arousal is the mobilization or activation of energy, which occurs in preparation or during actual behavior (Deckers, 2010). Arousal is energy that is produced by the interaction of internal and external stimuli. Three types of arousal are physiological, brain, and psychological arousal. Physiological arousal is how an individual's body changes during arousal. Physiological arousal entails changes, such as sweaty palms, increased muscle tension, breathing, and heart rate. Brain arousal is the stages of sleep, awake, and alertness within the brain (Deckers, 2010). Deckers (2010), "psychological arousal refers to how subjectively aroused an individual feels" (p. 3). Feelings of psychological arousal includes anxiety, fearfulness, and tension.
     Behavior is the actions or reactions of an human or nonhuman animal in response to internal or external stimuli. The relationship between arousal and behavior is that arousal is the energy that develops in preparation of or during behavior. This relationship between arousal and behavior can impacts an individual's body in several ways, such as an individual developing anxiety and tension. The relationship between arousal and behavior depends on the nature of the task that is being performed (Deckers, 2010). Therefore, arousal and behavior can impact an individual's performance based on the task that is performed, and diminished or enhance performance. 
     Three sources of arousal are stimuli, collative variables, and tasks. Stimuli is anything in the environment that causes behavior to occur, collative variables refers to collectively to stimulus characteristics that include novelty, complexity, and incongruity, and tasks are activities that stimulates arousal (Deckers, 2010). I believe that all three sources of arousal have an effect on arousal level, and one source can affect an individual's arousal level greater than another source could affect a different individual's arousal level because this depend on that particular individual's situation or circumstance. Therefore, stimuli could have the greatest effect on one individual's arousal level, while tasks could have the greatest on another individual's arousal level, and yet collative variables could have the greatest effect on a different individual's arousal level.

Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

How do psychological needs and personality traits differ in the manner in which they motivate behavior? If psychological needs have presumptive brain or physiological correlates, are they still psychological needs?

      Psychological needs push an individual's behavior toward satisfying activities or incentives. Some examples of psychological needs include food, water, breathing, shelter, clothing, homeostasis, and sexual reproduction. These psychological needs push an individual's behaviors in different ways depending on the circumstances of that need, and what that need relates to. When needs are met satisfaction is produced, however when needs are unsatisfied psychological ill health is produced (Deckers, 2010). Motivation comes from within an individual to satisfy his or her needs and to attain psychological health (Deckers, 2010). As for personality traits, they do not push an individual's behavior like psychological needs. Personality traits are what determines whether incentives are valued in two different ways, which is positively or negatively (Deckers, 2010). For example, an individual with the trait of extraversion will positively value and is pulled to join large social clubs and attend large social gatherings. However, an introvert will negatively value joining large social clubs and attending large social gatherings.
     I do believe that if psychological needs have presumptive brain or physiological correlates, they are still psychological needs. The reason why is because needs exist permanently, and lie dormant until activated (Deckers, 2010).
Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental (3rd.ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sources of Motivation

     Whether consciously or unconsciously motivation is what causes individuals to act in particular ways. Therefore, motivation is a key aspect of behavior. Motivation determines what the actions of individuals. Motivation occurs because of different sources, which have varying effects on individuals. Therefore, there is a strong relationship between motivation and behavior. Motivation is also exhibited in those behaviors. Deckers (2010), “motivation stems from the sequence of events that moves from motives or anticipated incentives to end-states where motives are satisfied or incentives are attained” (p. 7).
Motivation Defined
     Motivation is the process by which an individual moves into action (Deckers, 2010). It involves the emotional, social, biological, and cognitive forces that activate behavior (Cherry, 2013). Motivation causes an individual to act or take action, whether consciously or unconsciously. Therefore, it is simple put as an individual taking action to eat when hungry or going to college to obtain knowledge. Motivation describes why an individual does something or takes action. For example, a motivated doctor may take action in taking care of his or her patients by frequently checking up on his or her patients at a hospital and frequently spends extra time at work after hours doing so. Motivation is also the process that guides, initiates, and maintains an individual’s goal-oriented behaviors.
Sources of Motivation
     Deckers (2010), “motivation can originate from internal sources, described as biological and psychological variables, and from external sources, such as incentives and goals” (p. 1). Internal sources developed during an individual’s unique personal history and common evolutionary history, and external sources refer to what is available in an individual’s environment (Deckers, 2010). Motivational sources determine certain behaviors, which an individual has no choice over. As for internal sources, an individual’s psychological variables and biological variables determine what will be motivating (Deckers, 2010). Psychological variables pertain to motives studied indirectly through measurable indicators (Deckers, 2010). Anxiety and happiness are examples of psychological variables. Biological variables pertain to the material characteristics of the brain and body, which serve to motivate behavior (Deckers, 2010). Hunger is an example of a biological variable.
     As for external sources, they are incentives and goals, which are available in an individual’s environment. Incentives are the environmentally available anticipated aversive events or rewards. External incentives and goals pull an individual toward the end-state (Deckers, 2010). Examples of incentives and goals are a rewarding career, money, and the admiration by other individuals. These two sources of motivation are what move an individual into action.
The Relationship between Motivation and Behavior
     Deckers (2010), “to be motivated is to be moved into action, or to decide on a change in action, according to the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer” (p. 3). Schopenhauer made the first speculations on the relationship between motivation and behavior (Deckers, 2010). Actions or behaviors will not occur spontaneously; therefore actions or behaviors occur because of either internal motives or environmental incentives (Deckers, 2010). Motives are an individual’s internal disposition to approach and of concern with positive incentives and avoid negative incentives. Incentives are an individual’s aversive event or an anticipated reward that is available in his or her environment. Attaining an incentive is the goal of an individual’s motive; therefore linking motives to incentives (Deckers, 2010).
     Motives or motivation are what drives an individual’s behavior. The sources of motivation are what push and pull an individual to behave in a particular way, therefore motivated behavior is the result of how an individual push and pull toward a certain end-state (Deckers, 2010). Deckers (2010), “for human motivation, biological and psychological motives push an individual into action while environmental prospects like incentives and goals pull an individual” (p. 4). An individual’s behavior is the result of a desire to meet a perceived need that motivates him or her to satisfy that need, such as the need for food, therefore one will eat. To fulfill a motivation an individual will perform a certain behavior aligned with accomplishing certain goals, such as the goal of knowledge, therefore one will attend college (Deckers, 2010). Motivation is goal-oriented and the behavior exhibited is the means by which an individual meets or accomplishes goals.  
Motivation Exhibited in Behavior
    Motivation plays a key role in the behavior of individuals. There are numerous reasons motivation exhibits in behavior by individuals. One, motivated to acquire knowledge exhibits behavior, such as reading a book or goes to college. One, motivated by hunger exhibits behaviors of acquiring food. Motivation exhibited in behavior accomplishes goals and fulfills needs. Motivation drives individuals to behave in particular ways to allow the accomplishment or meeting of a goal, and to fulfill needs. Deckers (2010), “motivation is the impetus or reason for doing the behavior; it initiates the action” (p. 7).
     Motivation moves or motives an individual into action. Motivation has several sources, such as internal and external sources, which have different effects on different individuals. To understand the relationship between motivation and behavior allows one to understand how motivation exhibited in behavior. Understanding the sources of motivation allows one to understand the resulting exhibited behaviors, and why they occur.
Cherry, K. (2013). Psychology. Retrieved from

Saturday, May 11, 2013

What are some of the physiological responses the body experiences when a person experiences fear? How might these "fight or flight" physiological responses be useful for survival?

     There are two stages of the fight or flight response, which are short term fight or flight response and long-term fight or flight response. Short-term response is triggered in response to short-term threats and long-term fight or flight response is triggered hormonally (Stress Management for Health Course, n.d.). Some physiological and biochemical responses to flight or fight are the increase in blood flow, blood pressure, blood sugar and fats increase, blood clots quicker, red blood cells increase, breathing rate increases, muscles tense, digestion slows, pupils dilate, hearing becomes sharper, perspiration increases, and one feels an increase in fear and anxiety (Stress Management for Health Course, n.d.). Fight or flight responses are useful for survival because they give an individual extra speed and strength, which allows one to fight or run away. 
Stress Management for Health Course. (n.d.). Retrieved from

What specific brain structures are involved in motivation and emotion? What role do these structures play in motivation and emotion? Include examples to demonstrate your points.

     The specific brain structures involved in motivation and emotion are the limbic system, which is made of four main structures, such as the regions of the limbic cortex, the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the septal area. These four structures form the connections between the limbic system, hypothalamus, cerebral cortex, and thalamus (Cherry, 2013). Limbic system structures are involved in many of an individual's motivations and emotions, specifically those that are related to survival (Cherry, 2013) The limbic system is key in the control of emotional responses, such as anger, fear, and emotions related to sexual behavior. Its functions include emotions, drives, and behaviors as well as the sense of smell, learning, and long-term memory (Cherry, 2013). The limbic system is also linked to the brain's pleasure center and the prefrontal cortex. Therefore, it is involved in feelings of pleasure that are related to an individual's survival, such as feelings of pleasure experienced from sex and eating (Cherry, 2013). The hypothalamus is also an emotional center, as in it controls molecules that make an individual feel unhappy, angry, or exhilarated. The cingulate gyrus, another structure of the limbic system is involved with sensory input that concerns emotions and the regulation of aggressive behavior (Cherry, 2013).     
Cherry, K. (2013). Psychology. Retrieved from
Cherry, K. (2013). Psychology. Retrieved from

Friday, May 10, 2013

What aspects of human emotions appear to be innate, and what aspects of human emotions appear to be learned? Explain your reasoning.

      Human emotions are quite complex in the ways they express negative or positive reactions to internal and external stimuli. Emotions distinctly affect human motivation, learning, physiological arousal, communication with others, nervous function, and physical acts (List of Human Emotions, 2013). Humation emotions are either innate (primary) or learned (secondary). Human emotions that appear to be innate or primary are anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy. These are innate emotions because they are hardwired into human genes or develop early on due to their survival values. Human facial expressions of emotion are also innate and are hardwired into human genes (ScienceDaily, 2008). Human emotions that appear to be learned or secondary are love, guilt, and shame, embarrassment, helplessness, boredom, distraction, apprehension, acceptance, serenity, interest, and annoyance. These are learned emotions because they are learned through experience, family expressiveness, and over time in the environment, because of certain reactions toward environmental stimuli. Learned emotions seem to be emotion blends of innate emotions.  
List of Human Emotions. (2013). Retrieved from
Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental (3rd. ed.). Boston, MA:  Allyn & Bacon.
ScienceDaily. (2008). Retrieved from

Saturday, May 4, 2013

What are some examples of drives and behavior tendencies which have helped humans survive in the environments in which we have lived over the last few thousands of years?

    I believe one of the most important drives and behavior tendencies has been to further the evolution of human intelligence. By furthering the evolution of human intelligence humans have insured or attempted to insure that survival in all environments in which we have lived has become an easier process, by which we are able to understand the means necessary to adapt to those environments, and the means for not only survival but also for progression in those environments.

Can you think of instances in which motivations may arise out of pressures which are not consciously known?

     An instance would be an individual who is unable to stay in an intimate relationship. The individual may insist that there are rational explanations to end the relationship but his or her actions may be driven by pressures which are not consciously known, such as the fear of rejection, and the desires for belonging and love. These unconscious pressures can lead an individual to end intimate relationships quickly and frequently. The individual may need and want an intimate relationship but the fear of rejection leads him or her to find reasons and ways of ending to the relationship to avoid rejection.

Gender Identity

     Gender identity is one’s psychological awareness, sense, or concept of self as either a male or female. As for self-concept, gender identity is the most obvious aspect. Gender identity may be the same or different from one’s anatomic or assigned sex. Anatomic sex is the property or quality that one classifies or bases on reproductive organs and their functions as either a male or female. Consciousness of one’s anatomic sex occurs in most between 18 months after birth to three years after birth. Often one develops a gender identity that matches his or her anatomic sex, although some individuals develop a gender identity that differs from his or her anatomic sex. Biological (nature) and environmental (nurture) factors contribute to gender identity.
Biological Factors – Nature
     Normally either X or Y chromosomes (sex chromosomes) in the male’s sperm cell determine gender identity. When a sperm cell contains an X chromosome and fertilization of a female egg occurs the result is a zygote, which is XX or female. When a sperm cell contains a Y chromosome and the fertilization of a female egg occurs the result is a zygote, which YX or male (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). However, consistent as it may be, this does not always guaranty that one’s gender identity is biologically. Not everyone is born either male or female. Sometimes one is born either intersexual or as a hermaphrodite. One, who is born intersexual possesses the gonads of one sex but also possesses external genitalia, which are ambiguous of the other sex (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). One, who is born as a hermaphrodite possesses both testicular and ovarian tissue (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).  
     Sex hormones also play another role in gender identity. Sex hormones have two different effects over an individual, which are developmental (organizational) effects and activational effects. Developmental effects influence one’s development from the point of conception to sexual maturity of the physiological, anatomical, and behavioral characteristics that distinguish an individual as either a male or female (Pinel, 2009). Activational effects occur by activating the reproduction-related behavior of sexually mature adults (Pinel, 2009). Activational effects occur later in life and after sex organ development. One’s brain development continues into the late teens, therefore the hormone surges of adolescents have both developmental and activational effects.
     Behavior and gender identity are also influenced by hormones released by endocrine glands. The endocrine glands include the pineal, hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, adrenal, pancreas, ovary, and testis. The primary function of endocrine glands is the release of hormones, which exerts their effect on target areas, such as other endocrine glands or different nervous system sites (Pinel, 2009). Therefore, one may appear anatomically as a male and identify and behave as a female, and a female may identify and behave as a male because of hormonal influences. The conclusion of scientists and researchers is that complex interactions of biological and psychosocial factors influence gender identity.
Environmental Factors – Nurture
     Indeed, X or Y chromosomes (sex chromosomes) determine gender identity however this consistency will not always ensure the biological existence of one’s gender identity. Therefore, even if one is born anatomically a male or female, parents, and caregivers, and influence gender identity, especially if one is born as either intersexual or as a hermaphrodite. Parents and caregivers may choose to raise a child as how he or she sees fit or as how one’s child appears. Gender identity is also influenced by the views of other individuals and society. Stereotypically, society assumes when one appears to be a male the more masculine and less feminine one must be, and when one appears to be a female the more feminine and less masculine one must be. However, this is not always true. It is just a stereotype, and this behavior can influence gender identity.
Specifically, when one is anatomically a male but displays feminine traits and considered feminine by society one may identify as a female. 
     If one is anatomically a female but displays masculine traits and considered masculine one may identify as a male. Therefore, one considers a male displaying feminine traits of emotionality, tenderness, and nurturance as less masculine as other males, and one considers a female displaying less feminine traits of emotionality, tenderness, and nurturance less feminine and more masculine than other females (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Although when one is highly masculine, is does not matter if he or she is a male or female because he or she can still possess feminine traits, and when one is highly feminine, he or she can still possess masculine traits (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005).     
Nature vs. Nurture
     The debate of nature versus nurture is a continuing debate, which has occurred for numerous years. Based on certain beliefs and scientific research believing nature or biology has more of an influence over gender identity, and influences gender identity seems correct. Anatomic sex and hormonal influences play a key role and may be the biggest role in gender identity. When one views himself or herself as either a male or female because of anatomic sex or hormonal influences it is hard to deny. The possibility of nurture or environmental influences playing a role in determining gender identity may occur just as nature or biological influences. However, nature plays the key role in gender identity.
Arguments about Sexual Identity
     Biological psychologists have used a wide range of methods to study gender, and the preferred method is normally laboratory experiments, and the use of animals for models to understand human behavioral processes (Sammons, n.d.). Sammons (n.d.), “it is clear from a range of studies involving humans and other animals that chromosomal and hormonal differences between males and females affect a range of masculine and feminine behaviours, which supports the biological view” (para. 7). Although most of this research is correlational, and there is an indication of a relationship between risk-taking and testosterone levels, unfortunately there is no indication of the direction of causality (Sammons, n.d.). Caution should be applied with the research carried out with non-human animals, not to assume the results apply to humans (Sammons, n.d.).
     Although one can still generalize from one to the other but each species’ evolutionary history is unique, and the function served by a sex hormone may not reflect the same function in different species (Sammons, n.d.). An example of this is the role oxytocin plays in the formation of pair bonds between female and male prairie voles. Sammons (n.d.) “whilst this (and other evidence) might imply that it is also important in humans it is fair to suggest that the formation of pair bonds in humans is influenced by a range of additional factors including learning and culture” (para. 8). The cross-cultural studies, which find universal features of gender, support the biological view (Sammons, n.d.). Of the cultures studied, females are found to be less aggressive than males, suggesting as innate, biological difference (Sammons, n.d.).
     Sammons (n.d.), “similarly, Buss et al (1990) studied what women and men look for in a potential mate in a large number of cultures and found that whilst men consistently prioritized youth and physical attractiveness, women placed a higher premium on wealth and status” (para. 9). The differences seen may reflect the biological differences between males and female, which arise because of the evolutionary processes. However, it is important not to ignore the considerable gender behavioral differences between some cultures (Sammons, n.d.). Cultures do indeed behave differently, which supports the role of learning. In 1935, Mead documented three tribal societies living in proximity to one another to show how different their gender roles varied (Sammons, n.d.). These findings and similar findings suggest that biological factors influence gender behaviors and those behaviors modify learning heavily.
     Gender identity is a key aspect of one’s psychological awareness or sense of self as either a male or female. Anatomic sex often determines one’s gender identity, which is a biological factor (nature), however environmental factors (nurture) can influence gender identity as well. Gender identity allows one to develop into his or her identity, and progress in life as such. Research supports both biological factors (nature) and environmental factors (nurture) as the causes for one’s gender identity. Numerous arguments surface about sexual identity however biopsychology provides evidence to resolve those arguments.
Rathus, S. A., Nevid, J.S., and Fichner-Rathus, L. (2005). Human sexuality in a world of diversity. (6th ed.) Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Sammons, A. (n.d.). Psychlotron. Retrieved from

How does evolutionary history and personal history affect behavior? Provide an example of each.

      Deckers (2010), "evolutionary history or the remote past refers to the effects of millions of years of natural selection in shaping motives and emotions that aided survival of the individual and the species" (p. 10). The assumption can be made that an individual's behavior is determined and is currently shaped by natural selection processes, which are behaviors that favor the replication of the genome will preferentially survive (Tallis, 2013). An individual's behavior is a reflection of how he or she is designed in order to optimize the chances of survival. Examples can be religious, political, or personal beliefs, which an individual possess or believes in because he or she thinks those beliefs, improve the chances of survival. Personal history is a reference of an individual’s experience from the moment of conception to the present (Deckers, 2010). The experiences from conception to present aid in shaping one’s motives, and system of values about incentives (Deckers, 2010). An example of this would be if an individual lived in an unhealthy environment, which would help shape his or her motives and system of values about incentives to strive for living in a healthier. Therefore, that individual may be motivated to go to or back to college, or find a higher paying career field that provides more incentives to change his or her environment.
Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Tallis, R. (2013). On the Human. Retrieved from

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Consider the various theories, perspectives and concepts related to internal and external sources of motivation. With those ideas in mind, please explain: What are the major sources of motivation? Which source has the most influence, and why?

     Motivation is the process by which an individual is moved into action (Deckers, 2010). The major sources of motivation are internal and external sources. Internal sources of motivation are psychological and biological variables, and a special case of an internal source are emotions; while external sources of motivation are goals and incentives (Deckers, 2010). During an individuals's common evolutionary history and unique personal history internal sources develop, and external sources are what is available in an individual's environment (Deckers, 2010). An individual's specific behaviors or actions are determined by uncontrollable sources of motivation, such as environmental incentives or internal motives. A motive is an individual's internal disposition of how he or she is concerned with and approaches positive incentives and avoids negative incentives, while incentives are an aversive event or an anticipated reward that is available in an individual's environment (Deckers, 2010). Motives and incentives are linked because
attaining an incentive is the goal of an individual’s motive (Deckers, 2010).
     As for which source (internal or external) has the most influence I believe neither. I believe both internal and external sources are key to motivating an individual's actions or changes in actions. Both internal and external sources are key to functioning and survival.
Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.