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Motivation

Motivation is an essential aspect of creative process.



Freud (1900; 1908) explained creativity as a means of reducing the tension between fundamental biological drives and social norms and restrictions. Creativity, in this view, is a form of sublimation of socially unacceptable desires of a sexual or aggressive nature, and their replacement by symbolic forms of wish-fulfilment. In this respect, creativity performs the same function as dreams or play. Freud (1910, 1928) also tended to identify creativity with neurosis and generally considered it as a pathological phenomenon.

Other theorists, on the contrary, have described creativity as a healthy tendency to master one's own environment and to realize one's human potential. This approach can be traced back to Jean-Jacque Rousseau's view that a man is essentially good, though often corrupted by social institutions, and Nietzsche's concept of super-man. Thus, Alfred Adler and Otto Rank, both disciples of Freud, rejected Freud's suggestion that creativity resulted from the sublimation of a sexual drive, and suggested instead that it was successful expression of a positive drive to improve the self and gain mental health. Thus, Adler (1956) argued that many great creative persons developed their skills to compensate for physical or intellectual disability. He also considered fear of death as a strong motivation force for creativity since it inspires people to compensate for their feelings of impending extinction by producing something of lasting value to survive them. Rank (1968) believed that creativity is motivated by two fundamental fears - fear of death and fear of life. On this basis, he built up his typology of personal development and definitions of three kinds of persons - adaptive, neurotic, and artistic. He considered creativity as a way to a healthy personality.

This view was developed further by the Humanist school in psychology. Both Rogers (1976; 1980) and Maslow (1968; 1973; 1987) believed that creativity was motivated by the drive for self-actualization or fulfilling one's fullest potential. Maslow described creativity as the spontaneous expression of the person whose more basic needs have been satisfied. However, his definition of self-actualization as 'the process of becoming everything one is able to be' (Maslow, 1968) has been later criticized as 'unrealistic and unwise' (Ochse, 1990: 20) as well as his underestimation of the factor of work and persistence in the creative process. Rogers (1976, 1980) believed that the self of the creator could be the object of creation to the same extent as more conventional creative products such as poems, paintings or technological inventions. He insisted that creativity is restricted by external evaluation and stimulated by unconditional acceptance and the possibility of free expression.

The motivation of creativity has also been understood as a search for the ideal object, 'an object that does not exist in his psychological reality' (Arieti, 1976: 30), as 'a way of repairing the self' (Storr, 1989: 143) and 'to restore a lost unity, or to find a new unity, within the inner word of the psyche, as well as producing work which has a real existence in the real world' (ibid: 123). Crutchfield (1962: 121) proposed the distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic motives, defining the first as such motives where 'the achievement of a creative solution is a means to an ulterior end rather than the end in itself, ' and the second as such motives where the person is mostly interested 'in the attaining of the creative solution itself.'

The concept of the two types of motivation has been elaborated by Amabile since the early 1980s (Amabile, 1983). Extrinsic motivation is defined as a 'motivation to engage in activity primarily in order to meet some goals external to the work itself, such as attaining an expected reward, winning a competition, or meeting some requirement; it is marked by a focus on external reward, external recognition, and external direction of one's work.' (Amabile and Collins, 1999: 299-300). Amabile identified two types of extrinsic motivators: synergistic, 'which provide information or enable the person to better complete the task and which can act in concert with the intrinsic motives' (ibid, 304), and nonsynergistic, which lead the person to feel controlled and are incompatible with intrinsic motives' (ibid).

Extrinsic motivation is opposed to intrinsic motivation, which is defined as a "motivation to engage in activity primarily for its own sake, because the individual perceives the activity as interesting, involving, satisfying, or personally challenging; it is marked by a focus on the challenge and the enjoyment of the work itself" (Amabile and Collins, 1999: 299). Intrinsic motivation is a condition of detached devotion (Henle, 1962), a psychological state related to creativity in which a person's intense passion, commitment, and interest in the activity are combined with a critical detachment.

Amabile proposed, in the framework of her componential model of creativity, the "intrinsic motivation hypothesis" which in its later form (known as "intrinsic motivation principle) states that "intrinsic motivation is conducive to creativity; controlling extrinsic motivation is detrimental to creativity, but informational or enabling extrinsic motivation can be conducive, particularly if initial level of intrinsic motivation are high" (Amabile 1996: 119).

Csikszentmihalyi (1996: 90) also notes that typical motivation for creativity is a combination of personal interest and a sense that something is askew in the intellectual environment.

Simonton (1994) discussed the role of the achievement motive, the power motive, the affiliation motive as well as intrinsic motives in the creative process and came to the conclusion that there is no one ultimate motive, but a 'cornucopia of needs.' As he puts it (ibid., 141),

we might do better to say that all the motives that can stimulate the energies of human beings all converge on a single activity, a monomaniacal preoccupation.... Only by the convergence of multiple forces can sufficient energy be railed behind the prodigious labors of those figures that dominate the history of their disciplines.

Motivation. Dictionary of Creativity: Terms, Concepts, Theories & Findings in Creativity Research / Compiled and edited by Eugene Gorny. Netslova.ru, 2007.
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