A psychologist has devised a number of theories that explain the motivation and like any other scientific theory, the motivation theories also have some key ideas underlying them. Let’s examine some of the major theories of motivation and understand the key idea that comprises it

Instinct Theory of Motivation

According to instinct theories, individuals are motivated to act in a certain way because they are evolved to do so. A significant example is the seasonal migration of animals, they are not taught to migrate it’s an inborn behavior that just stays with them

Many psychologists have worked to create a compilation of human instincts like attachment, thirst, fear, love etc.

The main drawback of this theory is that it only describes the behavior and not explains it, as a result, it has limited practical use in the field of psychology


Incentive Theory of Motivation

The incentive theory explains motivation as a result of external rewards, according to incentive motivation an individual is motivated to do certain things because of the awards he/she will get upon successful completion of the task in hand. Behavioral learning theories such as association and reinforcement are also based on the same idea.

Drive Theory of Motivation

The drive theory of motivation states that individuals are motivated to behave in a certain manner or do certain things so that they can escape the anxiety that is produced in case certain needs are not met or a task is undone. For example, you might be motivated to have food to decrease the biological state of hunger

This theory is eminent in analyzing behaviors that have a strong biological backing like sexual drive or thirst.

Arousal Theory of Motivation


The arousal theory of motivation explains motivation as actions performed to increase or decrease the levels of arousal

Every individual requires an optimal level of arousal to be maintained. When arousal levels get too low people perform the behavior in order to increase it and reach the optimal level of arousal like go to a gym. And when the arousal level is too high people work to decrease it, they do meditation, yoga etc. to decrease the level of arousal and reach the optimal level.

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