Trait Theories of Motivation

  • David SchefferEmail author
  • Heinz Heckhausen


Motivation is the result of an interaction between situational incentives and individual dispositions. Dispositional influences can explain why some people act in a motivated way across different situations while others do not. In part, motivation is, thus, not only attributed to the causal impact of situational incentives but also to stable traits which are part of an individual’s personality. These traits differ from other people across situations and are relatively stable over time. This chapter will begin with a basic explanation and gradually introduce more complex perspectives on the role of dispositional factors in motivation. Both nomothetic and idiographic perspectives will be introduced.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nordakademie Graduate SchoolHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for Psychological ResearchMunichGermany

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