Influence of Motivation on Behavior

Lesson 10: Educational Blog: Theory of Planned Behavior

Motivation is one of the most powerful and detrimental internal processes that affect the decision making process, and over all mental health. Although motivation is not a direct observation, it is the driving force behind any one individuals’ ability to make decisions that provides a reason for the persons’ action or behavior. These driving forces happen from birth to well in adulthood. Individuals are taught the differences between good behavior and bad behavior, rules and expectations from parents, caregivers, and teachers; everyone individuals interact with can affect motivation through self-concept. Hence the proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child”. Although there are many aspects to self-concept, I will focus on social psychologist, Baumeister (1999) definition:

“The individual’s belief about himself or herself,

including person’s attributes and who and what the self is.”

This is especially critical when an individual starts school; they develop an academic self-concept. Academic self-concept is the “feelings, attitudes, and perceptions that a student holds about their academic ability.” (Schnieder. p.194). When a student is performing not as expected, it is up to the community to help get the student back on track. However, this can be tricky if the student learns coping mechanisms such as self-serving strategies and self-handicapping and it has gone unidentified. The individual will carry these methods of coping with negative behaviors well into adulthood in college life and the employment field. There will always be a performance area of struggle with the individual until the behavior is changed.  In order to change the behavior one must have the knowledge of concept of motivation, in order identify and understand the “why” behind the behavior. By utilizing the Theory of Planned Behavior to seek the “Why” behind the behavior and it will bring the individual’s attention to the unwanted behavior. This will allow professors and teachers to use Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory to hold the individual accountable. Under the self-determination theory an individual is autonomous in the degree in which they feel they have a choice in their actions and behaviors (Schnieder. p.198). If an individual feels they can see they are the driving force behind their choices then the person is motivated to do what is needed.

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