Situational Determinants of Behavior

Chapter

Abstract

The situational approach addresses the situation as the sole determinant of behavior. For example, behaviorism completely renounced personality dispositions including motive dispositions. Behaviorism is not interested in individual differences but only in determinants of behavior that are specific to the situation (stimulus–response associations). In the further development of this approach, however, the necessity of including a drive or energetic component was realized. Thus, the concept of a general, activating drive was introduced. Subsequently, primary stimulus–response associations were augmented with mediating cognitive and affective processes. Neo-associationism supplements the association of stimulus and response by an intervening basic organismic evaluation reaction. Therefore, affects and emotions are acknowledged as central evaluative mediators in the generation of motivation and the activation of behavior. This conceptualization is pivotal in the transactional stress model which is the major model of stress research to date. Concerning potential motive components, the motivational approaches focusing on cognitive evaluations of the situation remain by and large undeveloped and untested. These approaches can therefore be characterized as motivation research without motives. Nevertheless, all the approaches on behavioral effects of cognitive evaluations of the situation presented in this chapter contribute a great deal to an understanding of motivational problems and provided vital impulses to modern interactionist motivation research.

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sport and Health SciencesTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for Psychological ResearchMunichGermany

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