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There are two great TED talks that together help shed some light on your question: David Deutsch (2005) "A new way to explain explanation", and Richard Dawkins (2009) "Why the universe seems so strange" At a fundamental level, science is about explanation (and sometimes using that explanation to make predictions). Thus, to most people, science is useless ...


36

Mahmoud A. Wahba, Lawrence G. Bridwell, Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory (1976), or a free pdf scan here Its abstract says: The uncritical acceptance of Maslow's need hierarchy theory despite the lack of empirical evidence is discussed and the need for a review of recent empirical evidence is emphasized. A review of ...


19

I think you have to be careful with the proposition that "rewards do not increase performance on non-rudimentary tasks". The experiments that Dan Pink cites involve experiments where participants are in a room and are supervised by an experimenter while they complete a task. This social pressure by the experimenter may well be enough for participants to be ...


18

In short, no. Perry's essay is amusing and compelling, but incomplete. Procrastination is an epiphenomenon of motivation, an active area of research which has some models relevant to the study of procrastination, such as: Hyperbolic Discounting Temporal Motivation Theory Rational Choice Theory Expectancy Theory Perry emphasizes task importance as the ...


18

Neher (1991, FREE PDF) summarises and critically evaluates the theory. From the abstract: This critique of Maslow's theory of motivation examines all of its major components. The theory is summarized and its basic propositions are analyzed in the light of internal logic, other relevant theories, and related research. This examination points up many ...


14

TL;DR: tons of support (and complications) at each level. One sequence can't fit all (it didn't claim to), but it makes sense in general, and so do the exceptions, and so do other motive models. Check out Kenrick and colleagues' (2010) recent article. Kenrick is a prominent evolutionary psychologist; he and his colleagues have "renovated" Maslow's motive ...


14

There is a fundamental concept in motivation illustrating this effect- a bunch of studies have been done which I don't have the time of digging up citations for now, but the central findings are as follows: If the incentive (external reward) for a non-trivial task becomes too salient, the individual is driven to complete the task for that reward and will ...


13

Obedience The most famous paper dealing with this issue is Milgram's paper, called Behavioral study of obedience[1]. From the abstract: This article describes a procedure for the study of destructive obedience in the laboratory. It consists of ordering a naive subject to administer increasingly more severe punishment to a victim in the context of a ...


13

It's an interesting phenomenon, and I think it can be seen in many other domains beyond lifts. At least where I live, pedestrian crossings have buttons, which I've seen people repeatedly press. You can see it often on computers and other digital devices when the system does not immediately respond to user input. Basic Bayesian Rational Actor My starting ...


12

Motivation is a massive topic, and it's difficult for me to know what would count as a 'theory' of motivation as it's currently construed. For instance, at one level, we might consider motivation to be the processing of incentive salience on perceived stimuli: you see a cheeseburger, something makes you want it, and so you pursue it. One way of talking ...


12

A theory which I believe explains this is the ground-breaking work that Carol Dweck has done on mindsets and how they relate to performance. To recap, People can have either a fixed mindset where they view abilities as fixed, are more driven by performance goals and use helpless strategies when confronted with tasks beyond their capabilities. If given a ...


12

A popular lit review [1] discusses some game concepts that have been empirically tested to support the idea of gamification. In some cases, these may be very hard to quantify. For instance, the article cites fantasy as one gaming characteristic that engages gamers. Other characteristics, such as having clear, well defined rules/goals seem easier to objectify....


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There are a few videos and some links here on gamification in education. Sarah Smith- Robbins has an article on gamification in education. http://www.gamifyingeducation.org/ is a website devoted to the topic; the site has a listing of research papers here.


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There are now many full-length books that focus on this deep, complex question about human nature/psychology and note newer/ongoing/active research in the area, some of it cited in them. Why people believe weird things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time Shermer and Gould Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud Park ...


11

Probably the most striking evidence of "happiness homeostasis" is a now classic study by Brickman, Coates and Bulman (1978) which compared the self-reported happiness of lottery winners and accident victims with a control group. The following quote describes the part of the outcome you'd be interested in succinctly: Lottery winners and controls were not ...


11

If you take a look at games like minecraft, they have quite a lot of players who do not work (students, college students, etc). These people first mine thousands of blocks, then rearrange them in a creative way. There's absolutely no need to do so, it is entirely voluntary, yet people end up moving hundreds of thousands of blocks to do something creative or ...


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That was an interesting TED Talk, I enjoyed it. Motivation is a very complex, but fascinating thing to think of. You're asking if those three things he listed are the most important aspects to motivation, but I'm not sure the answer can be straightforward. So let's talk about what motivation is first, before talking about how those three things relate to ...


10

The hierarchy of needs is an observation made by Maslow. It's generally assumed as the model to go by because most people can agree with the list and its order. Therefor it's no longer just a hypothesis, it's a theory. A quick Google search brings me to this online book: http://www.scribd.com/doc/8703989/Maslows-Hierarchy-of-Needs-A-Critical-Analysis That ...


10

Could you be talking about conformity: e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conformity and/or groupthink http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink ? In addition to the famous Milgram studies which you may have already heard about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment There's quite a lengthy literature on these issues but those links should get ...


10

This is more along the lines of novelty. As you mentioned, once you have it, you want something else you don't have and on and on and on it goes. Reason being, once a subject acquires the object longed and desired for, the novelty level within the subject is diminished and must be refilled. To be more specific, what needs to be refilled is dopamine. ...


10

This was much longer than I expected! There's quite a bit of ground to cover, but I try to go over it quickly. So, there are two implicit theoretical assumptions in your question: We have an "affect program" for fear in our brain (e.g., Ekman & Cordaro, 2011). When the fear program is activated, a specific pattern of changes in experience, behavior, ...


9

Our subjective estimation of probability is affected by many irrational factors, one of which is the accessibility of exemplars (Availability Heuristic). Since we usually hear about lottery winners, and not so much about those who didn't win, we over-estimate the probability of winning. It may be similar with your estimation of the probability of the project ...


9

This effect has been termed Overjustification effect and was originally reported by Lepper, Greene & Nisbett (1973) who studied the influence of rewards on intrinsic motivated behavior. Some theories hypothesize that the reward reduces the feeling of self-determination, which in turn reduces intrinsic motivation, because the reward induces the feeling ...


8

I was about to recommend The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience, by Decety and Cacioppo (Oxford University Press, 2011) which has an entire part (10 chapters) dedicated to the neural basis of emotion regulation, motivation, and social interactions. However, I just noticed Panksepp's forthcoming book, The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of ...


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As a starting point, the Steel (2007) meta-analysis in the highly regarded Psychological Bulletin is an excellent starting place for learning about the theoretical and empirical literature on procrastination. However, a lot of the literature seems to be focused on procrastination as trait, rather than treating procrastination as a task specific, temporally ...


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