Mixed Motivation and Language

  • David M. Allen
Part of the Critical Issues in Psychiatry book series (CIPS)


The human condition is a paradox marked by an internal contradiction. We are constantly being torn apart by the warring forces of togetherness and individuality (Kerr and Bowen, 1988). This leads to various degrees of intrapsychic conflict in all of us, which then leads us to be ambivalent about what we expect of others and about what we expect of ourselves. Our ambivalence, in turn, causes us to give out double messages when we communicate our intentions to others—a confusion that is reflected in the very structure of our language. Chapter Two is dedicated to reviewing the root causes of motivational conflict and a preliminary discussion of how it is manifested in our speech. The next chapter will explore the language issue in more detail with particular attention to the concept of motivational ambiguity and will discuss how we assess the motivations of significant others when they present us with a contradictory picture of themselves.


Social Goal Universal Grammar Internal Contradiction Mixed Motivation Motivational Conflict 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Allen
    • 1
  1. 1.BurbankUSA

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