AP Psychology : Theories of Motivation

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Theories Of Motivation

Which of the following scenarios best illustrates an approach-approach motivational conflict?

Possible Answers:

Jamal and Corey are fighting over which movie to see tonight

Kevin wants to enroll in Woodshop and Drama next semester, but only has room in his schedule for one

Amy wants to give blood, but she's afraid of needles

Colin locked his keys in the car, and now he either has to break the window or wait for help to arrive

Kelsey's family is moving, but she doesn't want to leave

Correct answer:

Kevin wants to enroll in Woodshop and Drama next semester, but only has room in his schedule for one

Explanation:

An approach-approach motivational conflict occurs when an individual must choose between two possible outcomes, both of which are positive. In the correct answer option, Kevin must choose between Woodshop or Drama. Since both of these options represent positive outcomes and since the decision is left solely to Kevin, this scenario represents an approach-approach motivational conflict.

The incorrect choices either involve multiple people or involve at least one possible negative outcome

Example Question #2 : Theories Of Motivation

Who proposed the law of effect?

Possible Answers:

Sigmund Freud

Edward Thorndike

Karen Horney

Albert Bandura

William James

Correct answer:

Edward Thorndike

Explanation:

Edward Thorndike was a prominent American psychologist who proposed the law of effect, which posits that responses that are followed with a positive consequence are more likely to be repeated, as opposed to responses that are not reinforced. B.F. Skinner's theory of operant conditioning is primarily based on the law of effect.

Example Question #3 : Theories Of Motivation

In drive reduction theory, secondary drives can be things such as which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Water

Money

Happiness

Sex

Hunger

Correct answer:

Money

Explanation:

A secondary drive is something that can be learned by conditioning. Primary drives (thirst, hunger, sex, and intrinsic happiness) are innate drives that cannot be taught. Money is a secondary drive because humans do not feel the innate desire to collect pieces of paper; however, the value attached to money by our society gives that drive to people. The same can be said for things such as cars and other status symbols. 

Example Question #91 : Individual Psychology And Behavior

Billy calls Ed a bad name, so Ed punches him in the face out of anger. Ed's actions are an example of __________.

Possible Answers:

passive aggression

instrumental aggression

None of the other answer choices is correct.

hostile aggression

relational aggression

Correct answer:

hostile aggression

Explanation:

Ed's action was impulsive, motivated solely by emotion to directly attack the source of his anger and cause him pain. Instrumental aggression is motivated by the prospect of some reward for such behavior, while passive aggression and relational aggression involve indirect attacks against a target's social standing or possessions (e.g. sabotage, humiliation).

Example Question #3 : Theories Of Motivation

According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the ability of a person to achieve everything that they are capable of is termed __________.

Possible Answers:

self-respect

love

belonging

self-esteem

self-actualization

Correct answer:

self-actualization

Explanation:

Maslow believed that the ultimate destiny of mankind was self-actualization, or a tendency to become everything that one is capable of becoming. Maslow theorized that human existance is based on needs that arise in hierarchical order: basic physiological needs such as food; safey needs; love and belonging needs; self-respect and self-esteem needs; and self-actualization.

Example Question #93 : Individual Psychology And Behavior

What is the highest level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs?

Possible Answers:

Safety

Social needs and sense of belonging

Physiological needs

Self-esteem

Self-actualization

Correct answer:

Self-actualization

Explanation:

In order, Maslow's hierarchy of needs are physiological, safety, social/belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization. Physiological needs include water and food, safety needs include financial security and health, social/belonging needs include friendship and family, self-esteem needs include confidence and respect from others, self-actualization needs include the need to accomplish everything that a person feels he/she is capable of doing. 

Maslow believed that all of the lower levels of the hierarchy needed to be met in order for someone to achieve the highest level: self-actualization.

Example Question #4 : Theories Of Motivation

Mr. Robinson promises to let his class out early on Friday if their average on today's quiz is above an 85% percent.

Mr. Robinson is trying to motivate his students with a __________.

Possible Answers:

catch-22

positive reward

positive punishment

negative reward

negative punishment

Correct answer:

negative reward

Explanation:

A reward is something good for the students, while a punishment is something bad for them. A positive reward/punishment introduces something new into their environment (i.e. the classroom), while a negative reward/punishment removes something from their environment. Getting to leave class early is a good thing for the students that removes something unpleasant (here, the extra time spent in class) from their environment, so it is a negative reward.

Example Question #5 : Theories Of Motivation

Which of the following is NOT one of the needs in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs?

Possible Answers:

safety needs

esteem needs

These are all needs in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

physiological needs

self-actualization needs

Correct answer:

These are all needs in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Explanation:

These are four of Abraham Maslow's five needs. His theory regarding human motivation consists of a pyramid-like hierarchy of needs: physiological needs (hunger, thirst, health, sex, etc.), safety needs, belonging and love needs, esteem needs (approval and recognition), and self-acutalization needs (living up to one's own potential).

Example Question #96 : Individual Psychology And Behavior

Which theory of motivation proposes as its core the idea that humans are motivated by stimuli which they associate with rewards or punishments?

Possible Answers:

Instinct Theory

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Drive-Reduction Theory

Incentive Theory

Arousal Theory

Correct answer:

Incentive Theory

Explanation:

According to the Incentive Theory, motivation is based on positive and negative associations with stimuli. So, one is motivated to do something because of an associated reward or motivated to not do something because of an associated punishment.

Example Question #97 : Individual Psychology And Behavior

Which of the following best describes the Drive-Reduction Theory of motivation?

Possible Answers:

human behavior is unlearned and passed on instinctually throughout the species

human behavior is motivated by associations between certain stimuli with rewards and other stimuli with punishments

human behavior is motivated by various drives to satisfy biological needs

humans are motivated to attain an optimum level of arousal or excitement

Correct answer:

human behavior is motivated by various drives to satisfy biological needs

Explanation:

The concept of the theory is in its name. The Drive-Reduction Theory reduces motivation to satisfying drives caused by biological needs. On a side-note, because of this simplification, many critics have argued that it fails to account for pleasure-seeking activities.

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