Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 16–21 | Cite as

Motivation theory essentials: Understanding motives and their conversion into effortful goal pursuit

  • Rex A. Wright
Original Paper


My commentary centers on two general theory essentials. One is a cogent depiction of motives and their operation. The other is an account of the conversion of motives into effortful goal pursuit. I construe motives as reasons to act that vary in strength, or importance, and have the capacity to (1) be either active or latent (quiescent), and (2) operate explicitly or implicitly. I argue that effort can, but will not necessarily, correspond to motive strength. After discussing the two essentials, I comment briefly on the relation between motive strength and desire, suggesting that the latter (desire) is not a simple function of the former (strength).


Motives Effort Desire 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Preparation of this article involved no grant support or conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights

The paper does not contain studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Motivation Science Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Terrill HallUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

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