Instinct Theory of Motivation with Example

Instinct Theory of Motivation with Example

Instinct Theory

states that motivation is the result of biological, genetic programming. Thus, all beings within a species are programmed for the same motivations.

At the heart of this perspective, is the motivation to survive – we are biologically programmed to survive. And, all of our behaviors and motivations stem from biological programming. Thus, are actions are instincts.

William McDougal (1908) – influential theorist who viewed instincts as behavior patterns that are:

1. unlearned

2. uniform in expression

3. universal in a species


within a species of bird, all the members may build identical nests and work in the same ways. This is true even for those birds of that species born and raised in captivity and isolation, and thus could not have learned the appropriate nest building behavior from other, experienced role model birds.

McDougal carried it a step further by stating that humans are the same and have instincts for behaviors such as: parenting, submission, jealousy, mating, and more.

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