Motivation Theories: explanations of motivation tend to be one of three main types: physiological explanations; behavioral explanations; or psychological explanations. (Cardwell, 156)

(The theories focus on) activity that guides us towards goals, outcomes that we desire and for which we will exert effort, or ones that we dread and will exert effort to prevent, escape from, or avoid. (LeDoux, 236) Abraham Maslow’s A Theory of Human Motivation laid the foundation for a “humanistic” psychology. (Collin, 198) David McClelland suggested that people’s motivations were the best predictor of success in the workplace. Through extensive research, he identified the three key motivations that he believed were responsible for job performance: the need for power, for achievement, and for affiliation. (Collin, 323)

Arousal Theory: the view that people are motivated to maintain a level of arousal that is optimal - neither too high nor too low. (Hockenbury, 301)

Sensation Seeking: the degree to which an individual is motivated to experience high levels of "sensory" and physical "arousal" associated with varied and novel activities. (Hockenbury, 301)

Drive Theories: the view that behavior is motivated by the desire to reduce internal tension caused by unmet biological needs. (Hockenbury, 301) (Theory) that all people have biological needs, referred to as ‘drives,’ that motivate behaviors. Drives create internal states of tension or arousal that are purely physiological or biological in nature. The primary influence of motivation came from the desire to reduce these drives. (Kleinman, 99) Editor’s note - created by American behaviorist Clark Hull. Also referred to as ‘drive reduction theory.’

Incentive Theories: the view that behavior is motivated by the pull of external goals, such as “rewards.” Drew heavily from well-established learning principles, such as “reinforcement,” and the work of influential learning theorists. (Hockenbury, 301) Example: Taylor is highly motivated to maintain a high grade-point average in college because her goal is to attend medical school. (Bradshaw, Chapter 8)

Instinct Theories: the view that certain human behaviors are innate and due to evolutionary programming. (Hockenbury, 301) (Focused on) natural drives or propensities. The dynamic forces that motivate personality and behavior. (Collin, 342)

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: division of motivation into levels that progress from basic physical needs to psychological needs to 'self-fulfillment' needs.  (Hockenbury, 300) A motivational theory in psychology that argues that while people aim to meet basic needs, they seek to meet successively higher needs in the form of a hierarchy. Often represented as a pyramid with five levels of needs. Key proponent Abraham Maslow. (LearningTheories, 20) The most advanced human need is 'self-actualization' (which is) the full development of one's potentialities and realization of one's potential. (Collin, 343)

Self-Determination Theory (SDT):  a theory of motivation and personality that addresses three universal, innate and psychological needs: “competence,” “autonomy,” and psychological “relatedness.” (LearningTheories, 3) (States) that optimal human functioning can occur only if the psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness are satisfied. Premise is that people are actively growth-oriented and that they move toward a unified sense of self and integration with others. Proposed by University of Rochester psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan. (Hockenbury, 324) To realize optimal psychological function and growth throughout the lifespan, Ryan and Deci contend that the three (inborn) and universal psychological needs must be satisfied. (Hockenbury, 325)