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Drive Theory

 

Explanations > Theories > Drive Theory

Description | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

We all have needs. which lead to internal stimuli prodding us into action, driving us to reduce those stimuli by satisfying the relevant needs. Drive theory is consequently also known as Drive Reduction Theory.

These drives are necessary, otherwise needs would not be satisfied. It is also important for the person to perceive the stimulus and response in order to learn.

Primary drives are those related to basic survival and procreation. Secondary drives are related to social and identity factors which are less important for survival.

As we act to satisfy needs we become conditioned and acquire habits and other unconscious forms of response or reaction. Behavior is changed only if habits no longer satisfy needs, such that drives remain.

If enacting of drives is frustrated or the driven action does not satisfy needs, this can lead to anxiety and other negative emotions.

Example

A person in a strange house is hungry and looks for food. They find some under the staircase. When they are in another house and hungry the first place they look is under the stairs.

So What?

Using it

Understand what drives people and stimulate these in order to get a person into action. Ensure you motivate the drive such that the person acts in a way that you want them to.

Defending

When you feel driven to do something, pause and wonder why. Have you been wound up like a toy by someone?

See also

The Brain's Urge system, Conditioning

References

Hull, C. (1943). Principles of Behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

 

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