Motivational Dynamics in Encounters

  • Jonathan H. Turner


Motivation is a complex and, surprisingly, not a well-understood dynamic in the social sciences. I see motivation as the energy that drives individuals to behave in certain ways; and while a great deal of motivation among humans is idiosyncratic and tied to each person’s biography, there are certain universal motives that drive the formation and operation of encounters. I see these motivations as need-states in the sense that individuals have a relatively small set of persistent needs that they seek to meet in virtually all encounters, especially focused encounters. These universal need-states may be supplemented by a host of additional needs that are unique to individuals or particular situations, but of most importance to theorizing about the dynamics of encounters is the recognition that there certain need-states are always present. If individuals can meet these needs, they will experience a range of positive emotions, whereas if these needs cannot be realized, they feel negative emotions that will lead them to leave the encounter or sanction those who are perceived to have thwarted efforts to meet these universal needs.


Negative Emotion Positive Emotion Status Belief Situational Ecology Identity Verification 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of California at RiversideRiversideUSA

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