• Philip D. Evans
Part of the Psychology for Professional Groups book series


Poetically speaking, motivation may be considered to be about the ‘springs of action’. More prosaically, the motivation theorist asks himself why any bit of behaviour occurs: what are the necessary and sufficient conditions which make any organism, human or animal, give up one activity and take up another, in the ever-flowing stream that constitutes behaviour?


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  1. Atkinson, J.W. and Birch, D. (1979) An Introduction to Motivation. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand.Google Scholar
  2. Murrell, H. (1976) Motivation at Work. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  3. Rachlin, H. (1976) Introduction to Modern Behaviorism. San Francisco: Freeman.Google Scholar
  4. Rachman, S.J. (1978) Fear and Courage. San Francisco: Freeman.Google Scholar

Annotated reading

  1. Atkinson, J.W. and Birch, D. (1979) Introduction to Motivation. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand. This book covers the area of human motivation well from the point of view of internal trait motives interacting with environmental contingencies. It fills in the details of recent research in achievement motivation and allied topics. At times the mathematical statements of theory might be too much for certain arts-biassed students, but the essential logic — all that is needed for an introductory appreciation — is usually clear.Google Scholar
  2. Evans, P. (1975) Motivation. London: Methuen. This is a short book which should not present the reader with any difficulty. It is very much a theoretical-cum-historical overview of approaches to the study of motivation, leaving it to other texts, such as the one above, to fill in details of particular approaches. It also has chapters on instinct and on biologically based motivations such as hunger, thirst, sex, and sleep. This might interest a student who wishes to extend the chapter’s coverage at a still introductory level.Google Scholar
  3. Rachlin, H. (1976) Introduction to Modern Behaviourism. San Francisco: Freeman. This is the best introductory book for the student who is interested in following up the idea mentioned in the chapter that ‘Motivation = Reinforcement’. In line with that view, it is no surprise that the word ‘motivation’ does not occur in the index! (Reinforcement, however, does.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The British Psychological Society 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip D. Evans

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