Motivational Concepts: Definitions and Distinctions

  • Donald W. Pfaff


Suppose an organism, studied in a particular context, is presented with a well-defined stimulus and the well-defined response expected does not occur. A short time later (too soon for changes in maturation) the same organism in the same context at the same time of day is presented with the same stimulus, and the response does occur. What explains the response on the second trial? A change in the organism, called motivation, may be inferred. As an intervening variable, the concept of motivation identifies a logically required cause of behavioral change.


Behavioral Response Physiological Psychology Motivational System Food Deprivation Approach Response 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1982

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  • Donald W. Pfaff

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