There are two distinct approaches to the study of motivation. One stratagem is a product of academic, experimental procedures, while the second is an outgrowth of clinical, non-experimental methods. Each of the approaches has unique advantages and disadvantages. But all investigators in this field are guided by a single basic question, namely, "Why do organisms think and behave as they do?"
To help answer that basic question, Human Motivation presents an entire range of motivation studies -- from psychoanalytic, social learning and humanistic theory; to social facilitation, arousal, emotions, personal responsibility, and the irrationality of attributions; through chapterand verse of Hullian and Lewinian theory.
- Professor Russell H. Fazio, Ohio State University
Why is it that people who smoke continue to do so knowing how bad it is for them? What drives people to committing adultery even though they inherently believe this is wrong? What's the outcome of this contradiction in the mind?
Cognitive dissonance has been an important and influential theory since Leon Festinger published his classic work in 1957. It is known by every social psychologist, most psychologists of any stripe, and the lay public, making its way into such mainstream publications as The New York Times with increasing frequency and accuracy. Ultimately, dissonance has become one of the most popularly known expressions of social psychological insights, making its way into the literature in consumer, health and economic behavior, and has become a frequently used explanation of political behavior in the popular press and magazines.
In marking the 50th anniversary of the theory's inception, Joel Cooper - arguably the scholar most associated with dissonance research in the past few decades - has presented a beautiful, modern and comprehensive analysis of the state of dissonance theory. This book charts the progress of dissonance theory, assessing its impact not only within our understanding of psychology but in everyday experiences as well. It should be important reading for students in social psychology, either undergraduate or graduate, but equally relevant to a host of other readers who need to understand or share the same passions for appreciating the significance of cognitive dissonance in the human psyche.
The essays included here give voice to a broad sampling of these competing viewpoints. For years attention has been directed mostly to the individual's need to maintain harmony within him, and several of the authors focus on this concept. Cognitive dissonance theory is evaluated in particular detail. Ideas derived from other areas of psychology and attitude change theories based on learning, perception, and cognitive motivation are also well represented in this volume.
In his introduction, Suedfeld evaluates these major approaches as well as several less well-known alternatives. In weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each system he considers the limits of the applications of the various theories and the problems the theorists face. This book will be welcomed in a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, and by scholars and educated laymen seeking information on the current state of knowledge in this field.
The chapters here confront these differences, trying to come to terms with phenomena that are overarching, that extend through the dimensions of developmental psychology, social psychology, motivation psychology, and parts of clinical psychology. The book as whole gives a clear presentation of the issues, questions and phenomena that surface in research fields known as self psychology.