Beyond Pleasure and Pain: How Motivation Works

Overview

How does motivation work? The classic answer is that people are motivated to approach pleasure and avoid pain, that they are motivated by "carrots and sticks." But to understand human motivation, it is necessary to go beyond pleasure and pain. What people want is to be effective in their life pursuits, and there are three distinct ways that people want to be effective. They want to be effective in having desired results (value), which includes having pleasure but is not limited to pleasure. They want to be ...

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Beyond Pleasure and Pain: How Motivation Works

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Overview

How does motivation work? The classic answer is that people are motivated to approach pleasure and avoid pain, that they are motivated by "carrots and sticks." But to understand human motivation, it is necessary to go beyond pleasure and pain. What people want is to be effective in their life pursuits, and there are three distinct ways that people want to be effective. They want to be effective in having desired results (value), which includes having pleasure but is not limited to pleasure. They want to be effective in managing what happens (control) and in establishing what's real (truth), even if the process of managing what happens or establishing what's real is painful. These three distinct ways of wanting to be effective go beyond just wanting pleasure, but there is even more to the story of how motivation works. These ways of wanting to be effective do not function in isolation. Rather, they work together. Indeed, the ways that value, truth, and control work together is the central story of motivation. By understanding how motivation works as an organization of value, truth, and control motives, we can re-think basic motivational issues, such as the nature of personality and culture, how the motives of others can be managed effectively, and what is "the good life."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Beyond Pleasure & Pain may well stand as Tory Higgins' masterwork. It is a magisterial integration of diverse bodies of knowledge that shows us not only how motivation works as a process but who we are as a species." — Robert B. Cialdini, Author, Influence: Science and Practice

"As his title promises, Tory Higgins goes much beyond pleasure and pain in this bold, far-reaching and original analysis of motivation, probing how motivation works, examining mechanisms that enable it, and illustrating how to harness them effectively. For many years Higgins has led the way to make motivation a central topic and challenge for social psychology: in this volume he presents a sweeping, insightful integration of his theories and discoveries, and explores in depth and detail their important implications for thinking about how and why we live, work, evaluate, and strive-and how we might be able to do it better." — Walter Mischel, Columbia University

"What do people really want? This brilliant book explains that people want value, yes-gaining pleasure and avoiding pain-but people also want truth and control. As a breath-taking range of behavioral sciences and other human wisdom attest, being effective in these motivations rules our inner and outer lives, depending on our motivational focus, fit, and engagement. Higgins is a wise guide to what really matters." — Susan T. Fiske, Princeton University

"Tory Higgins' volume on motivation is a true tour de force, a milestone in the history of motivational science. The book adopts an innovative conceptual paradigm in which basic motives (for Value, Truth, and Control) are shown to exert profound independent effects and to combine into intriguing motivational patterns that navigate most human behavior. The book applies this broad theoretical framework to a wide variety of motivational phenomena discovered in recent decades of motivational research. A must read for all those who deem motivation important, or psychology more generally for that matter." — Arie W. Kruglanski, University of Maryland at College Park

"In this original and thought-provoking book, Tory Higgins integrates within a new motivation science framework what we have learned about human motivation. He spells out the implications of this framework for resolving the motivational problems people encounter in personal, group, and organizational settings. Both the basic science of motivation and its real life applications are presented in a conversational style that engages the reader in a dialogue with the author. For students and scientists, the book provides an unprecedented and long overdue integration of diverse ideas and findings that have accumulated over several decades of motivation research. For laypersons and professionals, the book provides practical perspectives that apply to a wide range of real life problems. — Yaacov Trope, New York University

"This book is very impressive on several grounds. It makes a lucid and compelling case that motivation involves much more than maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. It provides a comprehensive summary of classic and contemporary motivational theories and findings while integrating the diverse field of motivational science in a new way- analyzing how three ways of being effective (Value, Truth, & Control) function together. Finally, it is written at a level that will make it accessible to a wide audience- psychological scientists and laypeople alike. All in all, the book promises to be a landmark contribution to our understanding of motivation." — John M. Levine, University of Pittsburgh

"And E. Tory Higgins has spent a long and productive career studying that complexity. Now, he brings his work together in Beyond Pleasure and Pain. It is a magisterial work. Though its core structure revolves around Higgins' own theoretical insights and empirical findings, it is encyclopedic in scope, ranging into almost every corner of psychology, historical and modern. A careful reader of this book will get a picture of the best that psychology, in general, has to offer... Well, Shakespeare was right, and we've been wrong. Humans are quite a complex piece of work. And Higgins does a masterful job of both revealing and explaining that complexity." — Barry Schwartz, Science Magazine

"The book is impressive on several grounds. It makes a compelling case that motivation involves much more than maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. It provides a comprehensive summary of classic and contemporary motivational theories and findings.
And it integrates the field of motivational science in a new and exciting way. The book deserves to be read and studied by both laypersons and professionals who seek to understand the complexities of human motivation." — John Levine, European Bulletin of Social Psychology

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Product Details

Meet the Author

E. Tory Higgins is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He has received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, the William James Fellow Award for Distinguished Achievements in Psychological Science (from the Association for Psychological Science), and the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions. He is also a recipient of Columbia's Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction and Background

Chapter 1: Motivation Beyond Pleasure and Pain
Chapter 2: What is Motivation?
Chapter 3: Value, Truth & Control: Ways of Being Effective

Part II: Ways of Being Effective

Chapter 4: Value: Having Desired Results
Chapter 5: Truth: Establishing What's Real
Chapter 6: Control: Managing What Happens

Part III: Motivations Working Together

Chapter 7: Value-Truth Relations: Creating Commitment
Chapter 8: Value-Control Relations: It's the Fit that Counts
Chapter 9: Truth-Control Relations: Going in the Right Direction
Chapter 10: Value-Truth-Control Relations: Organization of Motives

Part IV: Implications of Motivations Working Together

Chapter 11: Personality & Culture: Ways of Seeing & Coping With the World
Chapter 12: Managing Motives Effectively: Working Backwards from What You Want
Chapter 13: What is the Good Life?: Well-Being from Being Effective

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