Beyond Pleasure and Pain: How Motivation Works

Beyond Pleasure and Pain: How Motivation Works

by E Tory Higgins PhD


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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 the nature of personality and culture, how the motives of others can be managed effectively, and what is "the good life."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199356706
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 10/11/2013
Pages: 576
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About 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 American Psychological Society), and the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions. He is also a recipient of Columbia's Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching.

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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