Emotion and Motivation

What is emotion? What is the relationship between emotion and motivation? Provide an example.

How do evolutionary history and personal history impact behavior? Provide an example.

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...eneration to the next, and thus the need for the adaptive emotional stance of physical attraction. This perspective can explain motives such as competition, aggression, sexual activity, and dominance. As well, Maslow argues that our basic human needs motive us to behave in a certain way. For example, the third human need proposed by feeling of belongingness and love - after obtaining a safe environment to live and establishing some long term plans, people seek out love and affection from family members, friends, and lovers.

2. How do evolutionary history and personal history impact behavior? Provide an example.

Both personal history of learning and developing personal preferences, and evolutionary history are proposed by theorists as impacting behavior (Rushton, 2000).

For example, evolution approach is based on the assumption that the nervous system that generates our individual behaviours is the product not only of our personal history (e.g., personal preferences, etc.) but also, and most of all, of the evolutionary history of our species. The key idea in evolutionary psychology is that the human brain should be seen as a vast set of specialized units or "modules?adapted to the problems that our hunter-gatherer ancestors encountered in their environment. Therefore, individuals develop their own personal preferences and abilities and history in the course of their lives. However, EP proposes that behind these personal attributes lie certain universal attitudes that are found in all cultures. These personal preferences and behaviors of "human nature?is the result of the long process of adaptation that has led to human beings as we now know them. Throughout their evolution, in other words, the ancestors of today's human beings must have very often encountered venomous animals, such as snakes and spiders, in their natural environment. Those humans who were more afraid of such animals or had a spontaneous aversion for them probably received fewer fatal bites and therefore probably reproduced more than those who were braver. As a result, they passed their healthy fear of snakes and spiders down to their descendants (Evolutionary, Psyhcology, 2009, http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_05/d_05_p/d_05_p_her/d_05_p_her.html).

NOTE: Different theories propose different views of human nature, and not all theories buy into evolutionary theory of Darwinism (Creationism is the opposing theory of human nature, who propose a much different view of human nature, as humans were created in the image of God versus the idea of human beings evolving from a single organism on the ocean to fish, to land bearing animals, to monkeys and apes, to cave men and to human beings-a theory proposed by Charles Darwin in reaction to his opposition to Religion-and that this evolutionary process occurred over millions of years so there is really no prove-fossils do not prove that a fish evolved into a mammal, only that there was a fish and a mammal-according to the creationalists, who argue that God made each species according to its kind).

References (on-line sources listed above)

Hillman, J. (1999). Emotions. New York: Routledge.

Rushton, J. (2000). Race, evolution, and behavior: A life history perspective (2nd Ed.). Retrieved May 7, 2009, from http://www.charlesdarwinresearch.org/Race_Evolution_Behavior.pdf




1. Background: James and Lange (a Danish physiologist) proposed the same explanation of emotion at about same time - thus the theory was named for both of them.

2. A common sense idea about emotion would be:

Environmental influence (some event) ---> Psychological experience ---> Physiological state ...