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Maslow vs Skinner

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Running head: MASLOW VERSUS SKINNER Maslow versus Skinner: Theories of Motivation MASLOW VERSUS SKINNER 2 Maslow versus Skinner: Theories of Motivation Maslows “Hierarchy of Needs” states that a human being requires the meeting of his or her physiological, emotional, and psychological needs. He states that meeting an individuals physiological needs in not enough to feel motivated or complete. On the other hand, Skinners “Operant Behavior” states that the consequences of an action affect the individuals motivation (Hotherstall, 2003). As teachers, these theories of motivation help a lot in classroom management (Madden 1972). Topic Maslow Skinner Definition Motivation stems from the inner person.

It is out of the persons desire to satisfy his or her hierarchy of needs as argued by Maslow. Motivation stems from how the society rewards good behavior and punishes bad behavior. Motivation changes from elementary to secondary students Motivation begins with simple emotional needs, to more complex ones, toward intellectual needs. The intellectual needs become more complex in time as well. It starts with basic ideas, to more dynamic and detailed ones. Motivation begins with simple methods of rewards and punishments, to more complex ones. The attribute, type, and amount of rewards that will motivate the student also changes. Similarities Just like Skinners rewards, moving to the next level of need can be deemed a reward.

Meeting the next-level need is a reward in itself. Motivation is influenced mainly by rewards. Students become more motivated when more rewards await their good behavior. Feedback is also considered a reward and it answers the individuals need to belong. This is similar to Maslows second level of need. Differences Need-levels can overlap depending on the deed. A single behavior can meet the physiological, emotional, and psychological needs of an individual.

Motivation can be based on either of the need levels. It is either good or bad --- reward or punishment. Motivation comes from desiring a reward that can only be acquired from good (or generally acceptable) behavior. (Hotherstall, 2003) The above chart presents a basic comparison and contrast of the two theories of motivation. The chart shows the simplified concepts of Maslows Humanistic Psychology and Skinners Radical Behaviorism. While Maslows theory is more focused on the unseen processes of thinking, Skinners theory is more focused on the reaction to stimuli (Hotherstall, 2003). The motivational changes from elementary to secondary students are both from simple to complex (Svinicki 2004).

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