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Approach and Avoidance Motivation

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Synonyms

Appetitive-aversive motivation; Approach-withdrawal motivation

Definition

Approach and avoidance motivation is composed of three conceptually distinct components. Approach indicates a propensity to move toward (or maintain contact with) a desired stimulus. Avoidance indicates a propensity to move away from (or maintain distance from) an undesired stimulus. Motivation is defined as the energization and direction of behavior. The valence of stimuli is at the core of the distinction between approach and avoidance, with positively valenced stimuli typically leading to approach and negatively valenced stimuli typically leading to avoidance. Stimuli can be external or internal, implicit or explicit, conscious or non-conscious.

Theoretical Background

The distinction between approach and avoidance has roots extending back to the time of the ancient Greek philosophers. Philosophers such as Democritus and Aristippus used the concept of hedonism to describe how people should live. The...

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Correspondence to Roger Feltman .

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© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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Feltman, R., Elliot, A.J. (2012). Approach and Avoidance Motivation. In: Seel, N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_1749

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