Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 283-329

First online:

Achievement motivation and its constructs: A cognitive model

  • Heinz HeckhausenAffiliated withThe Psychology Institute, Ruhr University

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The first section of this paper introduces a set of constructs, develops a cognitive model of motivation, and derives specific propositions for the case of achievement motivation. The model describes functional relationships among expectancies, instrumentalities, incentive values, and valences, each of which is calculated separately for situations, actions, and outcomes. Each valence is calculated with reference to an outcome's anticipated consequences, both immediate and delayed. The model draws on, but reworks and extends, Expectancy × Value Theory, Bolles' Psychological Syllogism, Instrumentality Theory, Achievement Motivation Theory, and Causal Attribution Theory. The second section examines the model's fit to the body of data that bears on a central area of research in achievement motivation, namely task preferences. The last section scrutinizes the motive construct as a summary concept and divides it into six parameter sets which represent sources of individual differences.