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Despite what you might believe on your laziest of days, we all seek to direct our energy in ways that will produce satisfaction and success. Social motives (such as affiliation and achievement) and biological motives (such as hunger) push us. In this week’s Story, Nicole Malachowski talks about how an unexpected injury affected her motivation. She remained as highly motivated as ever, but she had to learn how to redirect her energy in new ways and how to adjust her goals as she focused on survival and regaining basic skills during her recovery.

The goals we set and our beliefs about ourselves are closely tied. And these beliefs and goals affect the decisions we make and the actions we take. How are your beliefs and habits aligned with your decisions and goals? As you read about the theories of motivation in this chapter, consider how you can more effectively direct your energy to achieve your goals and make better decisions.

Chapter 7 introduces how psychologists define and study motivation. We will examine the major theories of motivation and study how our specific thoughts and beliefs about our abilities influence our motivation. Specifically, we will discuss the following topics:

  • Theories of motivation. We will read about how instinct, drives, optimal arousal, and a hierarchy of needs influence our decisions.

  • Achievement motivation. We will explore the characteristics, habits, and thoughts associated with achievement motivation.

  • Metacognition. We will identify the skills and knowledge that help us effectively “think about our own thinking.”

  • Mindset. We will read about the powerful idea that the way we think about our ability influences our decisions and behaviors.

  • Self-efficacy and self-regulation. We will learn how the way we think about ourselves also influences our decisions, behaviors, and motivation.

  • Grit. We will determine what keeps people motivated to passionately pursue long-term goals.

This week you will also complete Assignment 1: Reflective Case Study. This assignment will be submitted through Blackboard. You will apply psychological concepts to a realistic scenario in order to support and explain your ideas and decisions.