AP Psychology

Unit 8: Motivation and Emotion

In this part of the course, students explore biological and social factors that motivate behavior and biological and cultural factors that influence emotion.

AP students in psychology should be able to do the following:

After an ill-fated Saturday morning in the spring of 2003, experienced mountaineer Aron Ralston understood how motivation can energize and direct behavior. Having bagged nearly all of Colorado's tallest peaks, Ralston ventured some solo canyon hiking that seemed so risk-free he didn't bother to tell anyone where he was going. In Utah's narrow Bluejohn Canyon, just 150 yards above his final rappel, he was climbing over an 800-pound rock when disaster struck: It shifted and pinned his right wrist and arm. He was, as the title of his book says, caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Realizing no one would be rescuing him, Ralston tried with all his might to dislodge the rock. Then, with a dull pocketknife, he tried chipping away at it. When that, too, failed, he rigged up ropes to lift the rock. Alas, nothing worked. Hour after hour, then cold night after cold night, he was stuck.

By Tuesday, he had run out of food and water. On Wednesday, as thirst and hunger gnawed, he began saving and sipping his own urine. Using his video recorder, he said good-bye to family and friends, for whom he now felt intense love: “So again love to everyone. Bring love and peace and happiness and beautiful lives into the world in my honor. Thank you. Love you.”

On Thursday, surprised to find himself still alive, Ralston had a seemingly divine insight into his reproductive future, a vision of a preschool boy being scooped up by a one-armed man. With this inspiration, he summoned his remaining strength and his enormous will to live and, over the next hour, willfully broke his arm bones and then proceeded to use that dull knife to cut off his arm. He put on a tourniquet, chopped the last piece of skin, and, after 127 hours, broke free. He then rappelled with his bleeding half-arm down a 65-foot cliff and hiked 5 miles before finding someone. He was, in his own words, “just reeling with this euphoria ... having been dead and standing in my grave, leaving my last will and testament, etching ‘Rest in peace’ on the wall, all of that, gone and then replaced with having my life again. It was undoubtedly the sweetest moment that I will ever experience” (Ralston, 2004). Ralston's thirst and hunger, his sense of belonging to others, and his brute will to live and become a father highlight motivation's energizing and directing power.

His intense emotional experiences of love and joy demonstrate the close ties between our feelings, or emotions, and our motivated behaviors. In this unit, we explore our motivations and emotions, and the health effects of intense or prolonged emotions such as anger and stress.


Modules:
 37Motivational Concepts
 38Hunger Motivation
 39Sexual Motivation
 40Social Motivation: Affiliation Needs
 41Theories and Physiology of Emotion
 42Expressed Emotion
 43Stress and Health
 44Stress and Illness


Resources:
PowerPoint: Chapter Slides 8a | Chapter Definitions 8a
Study Guide 8 (and Answers 8)
Textbook (sort of an "e-book")