Chapter 1 - Underpinnings: Five foundational doctrines of motivational science

The chapter introduces the reader to the humanistic orientation and profile approach used to study motivated behavior throughout the text. First, three personal vignettes are presented to behaviorally illustrate several important concepts related to motivation. Next, readers will uncover five foundational principles that define how motivation is described and expressed. Some common misconceptions about motivation are revealed and clarified. Additionally, the chapter illuminates one of the major themes of the text: self-awareness. The chapter concludes with the completion of a self-assessment designed to determine the reader’s overall knowledge of motivation and specifically assess some of the principles covered later in the text.

Chapter 2 - Contentious Issues: How evidence refutes motivational misconceptions

This chapter reveals that motivation is easily misunderstood. Many of our motivational beliefs are highly personalized and frequently formed through daily experience, resulting in learned patterns of behavior. Lacking concrete evidence, individual experience may lead to false conclusions and erroneous generalizations concerning the causes of behavior and the interrelations among motivational influences. This chapter introduces some of the more contentious issues endemic to motivational science, focusing on the distinction between beliefs and knowledge. Other interpretive ambiguities are discussed with the intention of providing clarity as to what inferences can or cannot be determined through the examination of motivation evidence. The chapter concludes with an overview of two popular motivation frameworks and describes specific approaches that promote and sustain optimal motivation in the self and others. 

Chapter 3 - The Biopsychology of Motivation: Using neurological and hormonal findings to understand motivated behavior

Chapter three describes the relationship between human neuroanatomy and selected motivations that underlie learning and performance. Although specific biopsychological correlates of motivation are debated, strong multi-disciplinary evidence reveals that incremental changes within the human nervous and endocrine systems are correlated with organized behavior. First, a myriad of interpretive issues regarding physiological data are presented, along with practical applications for the use of biopsychological findings. Next, key findings relating to variables commonly believed to subsume performance motivation are discussed, including biological correlates of power, affiliation, achievement, pleasure, and pain. Finally, the heritable and evolutionary nature of motivated behavior is reviewed.

Chapter 4 - Ch, Ch, Changes: The developmental trajectory of motivation

Knowledge of motivational change across the lifespan can help practitioners identify and implement optimal strategies to mediate motivation and performance challenges. Similar to differences between individuals based upon physiology, cognition, or psychosocial factors, differences in motivation have a measurable developmental trajectory. Support for lifespan change in sources of motivation are discovered by examining the evolutionary nature of beliefs including, but not limited to, beliefs about academics and competency, social comparison, morality, self-perceptions and gender congruity. Collectively, these factors provide important clues as to what may motivate an individual at any particular juncture of their personal development across the lifespan.

Chapter 5 - A Rose by Any Other Name: The influence of culture on motivated behavior

Chapter five transports the reader on an ethereal journey, not to faraway lands of mystery and intrigue, but to a place where values, beliefs, and the meaning of knowledge are experienced only through the collective minds of the possessors. Culture, a shared system of values and customs that guide the behavior of individuals and groups, is a motivational enigma. As Juliet once debated with her lover Romeo, “the names of things do not matter, only what things are.” Many times behavioral meaning is surreptitious and obscured, not easily known or understood by the uniformed beholder. Common enactments such displays of individualism, emotion, language, and risk are the very soul of our existence and may vary dramatically across cultures. This chapter unravels the nuances of culture and illuminates why similar behaviors among cultures may have completely divergent and unique motivational meaning.

Chapter 6 - You Say To-may-toe, I Say To-mah-toe: Individual differences in motives guide focus and effort

This chapter illuminates several of the most prominent views used to explain motivation. The intrinsic-extrinsic view suggests that individuals are primarily motivated either by rewards or by the achievement of personal satisfaction and growth. Many contingencies exist concerning how rewards work and whether personal development alone is sufficient to motivate behavior. A second view infers that learning and performance are motivated by the reasons people strive to reach particular goal targets. Individuals can achieve goals for two primary reasons: to master a particular topic or skill, or for socially-driven reasons, including the appearance of capability in the eyes of others. Chapter six deconstructs primary motives for learning and performance and also emphasizes the pervasive role of interest as a catalyst for motivated behavior.

Chapter 7 - Mount Rushmore: Bedrock theories of applied motivation

This chapter explores three enduring and practical approaches that have wide applicability to learning and performance outcomes. Specifically theories concerning attributions, personal expectancies, and self-efficacy are deconstructed for the reader.  Cornerstones of each theory are self-beliefs related to the causality associated with success or failure, the relative worth and value ascribed to contemplative tasks, and the degree of capability associated with achieving desired outcomes. Like many implicit judgments, these cognitive constructions are strongly influenced by the company we keep and where and how we elect to demonstrate our abilities. The next step to gain motivational self-awareness explores how personal assessments are deeply entwined with our overall social existence. 

Chapter 8 - Can I See the Real Me?: The powerful influence of self-beliefs on motivated behavior

This chapter emphasizes the centrality of the self as a compelling and powerful motive that influences our day-to-day decisions and choice.  The self is embodied by a series of values, goals, and social standards that inform and direct individual effort. Behavior is subservient to the dominant motive of the self, which is designed to create or improve positive self-concepts in relation to significant others. This chapter examines the variability of idiosyncratic and interpersonal motives grounded in self-worth perceptions that drive self-enhancing and failure-avoiding behavior. Individual differences related to social acceptance, interpersonal attraction, risk, altruism, and group affiliation are discussed, along with the protective strategies individuals use to insulate themselves against intrusive self-perceptions to avoid the demoralizing prospect of having insufficient resources to meet learning and performance goals.

Chapter 9 - No Place to Hide: Motivation and emotion

This chapter the derivatives, dynamics, and consequences of the often intangible experience prompted by emotion, which at any given moment may be a dominant and immutable force that radically alters behavioral readiness, determination, and effort intensity. Globally, emotional responses to external events may trigger conflict, risk lives, destroy cultures, or build dynasties. Individually, subjective reactions to encounters can radically alter moods and dispositions, limiting or enabling our capabilities and accomplishments. Invariably, emotional episodes are linked to key performance drivers including perceptions of stress, anxiety, boredom, and well-being. The chapter also explores how regulation of emotion ultimately may be the only difference between peak performance and uncontrolled calamity. 

Chapter 10 - Ready, Aim, Fire…Repeat?: Self-regulation strategies to improve adaptive motivation

This chapter explores the cyclical and recursive nature of preparing, implementing, and reflecting on a variety of self-control and regulatory strategies designed to convert motivational intent into action. Individuals are perpetually bombarded with thwarts to desired goals; some obstacles lead to task abandonment, while other goals are aggressively pursued to completion. This chapter explores the development, applicability, and refinement of the general strategies individuals use to sustain motivation needed to meet learning and performance goals. Key aspects of the regulatory process are discussed, including how self-schemas, inhibitory actions, monitoring, and meta-motivation contribute to performance success. The chapter concludes with a discussion of why some individuals fail at self-regulation, despite the recognized need and the availability of requisite strategy knowledge.

Chapter 11 - Location, Location, Location: Creating and implementing context-specific interventions

This chapter shifts focus from the identification of empirically supported principles of motivational science to an emphasis on cultivating adaptive motivation in others. Transforming scientific evidence into practical and useful operational strategies that promote motivational growth requires clear recognition of the individual differences in performers and the realization that the suitability of intervention strategies are based in part on the context of application. This chapter explores the nature of strategies aligned with specific performance cultures and describes best practices to enhance adaptive motivation in classrooms, the workplace, athletics and the performing arts. The chapter closes with a consideration of which motivational strategies are most useful to promote sound instructional design and to facilitate online learning.

Chapter 12 - The Transformers: Overcoming resistance to motivational change

Expert knowledge of motivational principles and robust intent to implement domain-specific strategies are rendered pragmatically useless when interventions are rejected by the intended recipient. The final chapter shifts focus from strategy mastery to an overview of how to execute motivational change, which is often resisted and refuted. Using evidence from biology, business, social psychology, and conceptual change research, this chapter illuminates why individuals may be unmotivated to change, which strategies individuals will use to sabotage change efforts, and how to overcome individual or organizational resistance to motivational interventions. The chapter concludes with a summary of strategies used by the motivation leaders profiled in the book as a means to suggest a conceptual model of optimal motivation.