Motivation is the need or desire to do something, it keeps us going when the going gets tough, but why do we need this to survive?
There are four theories behind motivation. Alone they explain a little, but combining more than one helps psychologists understand why we exhibit certain behaviours and psychological research has helped clarify the powers of motivation.
We can look at motivation from an evolutionary perspective, the instinctual behaviors driving us to become a successful species, or ones we have simply picked up along our ancestral tree that haven’t adversely affected us. A second theory, called the drive-reduction theory, explores the motivation behind incentives for things such as food, water, shelter, etc. — anything to keep homeostasis going. But if this drives us, then why eat when we’re not hungry? This is where the third theory, the optimal arousal theory, comes into play. This is the motivation to not be bored or stressed.
Combine these theories with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and we have a basic understanding of motivation.
From Crash Course: Psychology on YouTube presented by Hank Green