Motivation and Emotion in Psychology

In this article, we will talk about motivation and emotion in psychology. Emotion has a significant impact on human cognitive processes such as perception, attention, learning, memory, reasoning, and problem-solving. Emotion has a particularly significant influence on attention, influencing attention selectivity as well as inspiring action and behavior.

Camilla Kimball said;

“ You do not find the happy life. You make it.”

This is motivation in the simplest sense of the word. Some work that you have to put in to make your life worth living.

What is Motivation?

Every action commits that humans are always back by motivation. It is our motivation that urges us to commit actions that help us in realizing our goals. Psychologists believe that motivations are influenced by our deep desire to minimize our pain and maximize our pleasure.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation differ based on the source of the reward. (Motivation-intrinsic and extrinsic). For intrinsic motivations, the reward is feeling good about yourself like an athlete who trains extra hours to excel at his sport. Intrinsically motivated people usually perform better than their peers.

In extrinsic motivation, a person wants to obtain something from others around him like a student who works hard because he wants to earn more money, not because he loves studying. These people may end up annoying if their goals do not fulfill as they wished them to be.

What is Emotion?

Emotion is the subjective state of being (Emotions matter). It also describes as a feeling. Emotion sometimes acts as a great motivator to help us achieve our goals. Our happy emotions may reinforce us to act in more productive ways.

Emotion vs Motivation?

Motivations are specific. It generally associates with a particular goal, whereas emotions are more impulsive and not associated with any specific goal (Chiew & Braver, 2011). Both of these affect our behaviors and emotions can sometimes act as strong motivators for a specific action.

Why are Emotions and Motivations Important?

Being human means always being in action. We are always in action to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. Emotions and motivation help us to fulfill these goals.

“The body achieves what the mind believes.”

They are important because they improve our well-being, and personal development and enhance our awareness of purpose (Souders, 2022). Highly motivated people are better at their studies, jobs, and personal and professional lives.

Definition of Motivation in Psychology

Psychology explains motivation as a force that compels a human being to adapt or leave a certain behavior (Wasserman, 2020). Motivation highly stimulates the state in which the environment encourages us to behave in a precise way. Motivation enlightens us, it guides us and compels us to act. It is the force within us that encourages us to be a better version of ourselves.

The function of Motivation and Emotion in Psychology

Motivation and Emotion in Psychology

We all know that we require some force to drive us toward a certain action. This force is motivation. In psychology, motivation plays a very important role. Not only does it guide our actions and emotions, but it also moves our behavior.

In psychology, motivations often considers in terms of drives and goals.

Drives are the innate states that are activated when the body is physiologically out of balance and goals are the desired end states that we strive to achieve (Lawrence, Carver, & Scheier, 2002).


What behavior shows us that a person has motivation? Motivated people are usually more confident, driven, and focused. They have trust in themselves and their abilities and usually excel in their respective fields.


The level of engagement also shows the motivation of a person. For example if one goes for an interview that he is passionate about, he will show interest and attention (emotional and cognitive engagement), take part in the conversation (agentic engagement), and will persist to do so (behavioral engagement).


The motivation was designed to mediate all our psychological processes and guide our behavior (Berridge, 2004).

Our body responds to how we are feeling. When a person is being driven by something he loves, his whole body demeanor is different. Our physiology is different when we’re motivated. The key changes that occur in a person are:

  • Increase cortisol in the blood
  • Increase in cardiovascular activity
  • Mydriasis and reflective thought

Importance of Motivation and Emotion

Motivation has many proven benefits. When a person is motivated, his well-being and functioning are at their premium. If we are forced to do something, our inner motivation fails to guide us and we usually end up failing the task.

Motivation has proven benefits in uplifting the mood, enhancing better communication skills, and a positive outlook on life. Motivation leads to better student satisfaction, greater job achievements, and more fulfillment in personal life (Benefits of motivation).

Self- Motivation

Motivating oneself is important. Eventually, every one of us is answerable to ourselves. We have to dream big and never let our failures defeat us. A truly motivated person is one who is hopeful, optimistic, and energetic. He always looks on the bright side of things and knows that everything will get better. Even if things are not going your way today, they will be tomorrow and you have to stay hopeful for that.

Effect of Motivation on Psychology

Motivation keeps a person charged. He remains happy, satisfied, and hopeful for the future. Motivated people know that nothing is out of bounds. If they work hard enough, they can shape their dreams the way they want. Motivated people learn better, in a short time and have promising outcomes (Science of Motivation – American Psychological Association, n.d.).

The Ending Note

In conclusion, motivation matters because it is the Motivation and Emotion that drive a human from within. Everything we do, and every behavior we adopt is because of the motivation that comes intrinsically. If a person is motivated innately, he has better chances of excelling at a particular activity, but if a person is coerced or is not ambitious the chances of his success are very dismal. Moreover, motivation ensures a healthy being, better life choices and a positive outlook on life.

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