Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education

2020 Edition
| Editors: Stephen Lerman

Motivation in Mathematics Learning

  • James A. ModdletonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-15789-0_117


The impetus for and maintenance of mathematical activity. Mathematics learning, as goal-directed behavior, involves the development of expectations, values, and habits that constitute the reasons why people choose to engage and persevere on the one hand or disengage and avoid on the other, in mathematics and mathematically related pursuits.

Characteristics and Findings from Various Theoretical Perspectives

The history of motivation research applied to mathematics learning began with the study of biological drives and incentive in the first decades of the twentieth century (see Brownell 1939for a good review of this perspective as applied to education). Following the tenets of classical and operant (instrumental) conditioning, it was found that if a reinforcer was provided for successfully completing a behavior, the probability of that behavior occurring in the future under similar circumstances would increase. Additionally, Thorndike found that the intensity of the...


Motivation Affect Self-efficacy Math anxiety Disposition 
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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School for Engineering of Matter, Transport, and EnergyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA