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From curiosity to identity, purpose and meaning




David Beswick

The University of Melbourne


Introduction: The incomplete gestalt

Part 1: Forms of cognitive motivation 
1         Towards a general theory of cognitive motivation
2         Curiosity
3         Intrinsic motivation
4         Cognitive dissonance
5         Achievement motivation
6         Agency, efficacy and attribution

Part 2: Basic processes and applications
7        Working memory, consciousness, and attention
8        The function of emotion in cognitive motivation
9        Goals
10        Intentions
11        Identity
12        Purpose and meaning



Beginning with the study of curiosity, this book presents a new general theory of motivation in which a few basic concepts are applied to a wide range of cognitive motivation. It is the result of two sustained bursts of research and writing separated by a decades-long career in academia and ministry. I first explored the subject of psychogenic motivation in the late 1950s and early 1960s in my doctoral work at Harvard. Although I did not know it at the time, I was working in the midst of a movement in psychology that became known later as the cognitive revolution. The founders of that movement combined an exalted academic style with a commitment to new principles that promised to reshape the way human thought, feeling and behaviour were understood. ‘That revolution was intended to bring “mind” back into the human sciences after a long cold winter of objectivism,’ some of the leaders aiming ‘to establish meaning as the central concept of psychology - not stimuli and responses’ (Bruner 1990, p. 1-2). As a PhD student, my contribution was a cognitive process theory of curiosity in which I explained curiosity as a result of conceptual conflict. Reflecting on this work some 40 years later I found that I was dissatisfied with the narrowness of my explanatory dynamic – in particular, its failure to give a greater motivational role to emotion. I began to explore the many lines of research that spanned the intervening years, and I soon encountered George Loewenstein’s review of the subject (Loewenstein 1994), in which he propounded a general principle that curiosity is motivated by gaps in knowledge. Could we explain this kind of motivation by reference to gaps rather than conflicts? I found this interesting but thought focussing on gaps was too negative, based as it was on a desire to escape unfavourable conditions created by a perceived deficiency.

At around that time (2001) I was contacted by a PhD student at Buffalo, Todd Kashdan, who has since published a significant book on curiosity (Kashdan 2009) and become a leader in the developing field of positive psychology. He favoured Lowenstein’s gap theory and in his later work he rejected my conceptual conflict model. Interestingly, he had the same objection to my model as I had to the gap theory: he thought it too negative. I agreed that curiosity should have a positive motivation, so we needed something other than gaps and conflicts that could nevertheless accommodate those two ideas. Reflecting on this, it occurred to me that there is an overarching concept that can account for both the gap theory and the conceptual conflict theory. I hit upon the idea of completing incomplete images, resolving both gaps and conflicts, and more – reaching for a new whole image or gestalt. Whether Gordon Allport had planted that idea in my mind at Harvard all those years ago, I cannot say, I probably had the rudiments of it from my studies at Melbourne, but I recalled his proposition from an earlier time: ‘Motives are always a kind of striving for some form of completion’ (Allport 1937b). He was one who still found relevance in gestalt concepts, as did his once junior colleague Jerome Bruner. The idea of an incomplete gestalt offered itself to me as a general model of cognitive and affective processes that could provide for the filling of gaps in knowledge and the resolution of conceptual conflicts, and do so in such a way as to lead to a new creation. Gestalt theory was no longer at the forefront of cognitive psychology, but this idea pointed to the possibility of a general theory that extended the explanation of curiosity through the field of intrinsic motivation and beyond, to the full range of cognitive motivation. That was what I aimed to explore – the application of a few very basic ideas in a general theory to explain a wide range of related motivational phenomena.

Except as part of some applied work on education in later years, I had only been able to do a little more empirical work on curiosity myself around 1970. It was represented by my paper at the Toronto conference on intrinsic motivation in that year (Beswick 1971), and then the publication of my Intrinsic Motivation scale (Beswick 1974) while I was at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, and in my article with Kast Tallmadge (Beswick and Tallmadge 1971) on aptitude-treatment interactions in reference to inductive reasoning in complex learning tasks when I was with him at American Institutes for Research in the Behaviorial Sciences (AIR) in Palo Alto, Calif. Then there was the work with Judy Boreham, in the Education Research Unit at ANU and in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne, on the development of scientific interests and competence. That was in a longitudinal study of career development among students proceeding from secondary to higher education and entering the professions. We observed some interesting effects of intrinsic and extrinsic reward seeking among students in different kinds of courses (Beswick and Boreham 1986). At that time my thinking was also stimulated in a joint project with Paul Ramsden concerned with ‘Curiosity and Learning with Understanding’ (Ramsden, Beswick and Bowden 1986, Beswick and Ramsden 1987) in reference to deep and surface approaches to learning that had been described by Ference Marton in Sweden, who was in Melbourne briefly and who I visited at Gothenberg in 1986. I was encouraged to believe that not only were there useful practical implications of research on curiosity, but that field studies could yield some vital insights of theoretical significance which should have wide application in a general cognitive motivation theory.

I had, of course, been aware from an early stage of continuing work on curiosity over many years by researchers in the period after Berlyne’s original foundation studies in the 1950s, such as that of Mary Ainley, Carol Sansone and Judith Harackiewicz, up to the 2000s. Especially, I kept in mind the provocative research on the suppressing effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation by Edward Deci and others from 1971. However, I felt that Deci and his colleagues did not go far enough in breaking away from the old need or drive models of motivation. I had been persuaded of the necessity for a radical break by my original work on curiosity that had been reinforced particularly by my thesis adviser Robert White in his since much cited paper ‘Motivation reconsidered: The concept of competence’ (White 1959). I had been inducted by David McClelland into the study of what Henry Murray called psychogenic motives. I could see some overlap of his achievement motivation theory with my cognitive process theory of curiosity - hence the later prospect of a general theory that would apply not only to achievement motivation and curiosity, but also such motives as power and affiliation, as well as the theories of cognitive dissonance, attribution theory and self-efficacy. So I set about looking for the basic processes that underlie these different forms of cognitive motivation and I found at least some of them in studies of working memory and in the signalling function of emotions in motivation. I was then driven back to understand in greater depth the early gestalt theories of von Ehrenfels, Wertheimer, Köhler, Koffka, and later Lewin.

The culture of the original group that worked on need for achievement had a pervasive influence. It was something I received from McClelland, especially his approach to assessment and the combination of creative insights with quantitative empirical methods in the field of personality research – a combination I had already learned to appreciate from the influence of Sam Hammond at Melbourne. The subsequent development of my understanding reflected other influences from those days: provision for the unique individual, even to the point of allowing for the possibility of a singularity in every person, is something that was inspired by Gordon Allport, together with a willingness to include contrary indications and hidden prospects I saw in Henry Murray; while on emotion and cognition I was influenced in different ways, both then directly and later from their publications, by three other of my teachers at Harvard, George Mandler, Walter Mischel and Jerome Bruner. Another was Elliot Aronson, but I learned much more from his later writings than from him at that time. The evaluation of ‘non-intellectual factors’ in learning mathematics for the School Mathematics Study (SMSG) group at Yale led at Harvard by Richard Alpert supported some of my early survey research on curiosity.

Fellow graduate students Ralph Metzner, George Litwin and Merrill Carlsmith also contributed to my thinking. Metzner was working with Mischel on delay of gratification and shared with me in the curiosity and delay of gratification project reported in Chapter 2. Litwin, with whom I shared research assistance work for McClelland on achievement motivation, published a paper on risk taking and achievement motivation at this time with John W. Atkinson, with whom he had worked at Michigan. It was one of the foundations of expectancy-value theory discussed in Chapter 5. At this time also Carlsmith was co-author with Leon Festinger in their recently completed work at Stanford, their now classic study of cognitive dissonance from forced compliance which I discuss in Chapter 4 – ‘the single most important study ever undertaken in social psychology,’ according to Aronson (1999).

In regard to the theory of cognitive dissonance I should confess that when I developed the cognitive process theory of curiosity (see Chapter 2), around 1960, shortly after Festinger’s theory appeared, I avoided much discussion of cognitive dissonance. Dissonance was too close to what I wanted to say about the central role of conceptual conflict in motivation with which it might have been confused, and I wanted to make a completely different emphasis. The main difference, which became more apparent as the field developed, was that dissonance is an aversive state, but in cognitive motivation theory derived from the work on curiosity I am concerned more with positively attractive arousal in which the aim is not avoidance of an unpleasant state, but the prospect of satisfaction in developing whole new forms. I did not accept Festinger’s aversive theory of arousal, although in retrospect it is obvious that I might have learned a good deal from his writing and from Aronson had I paid more attention to developments in the study of cognitive dissonance in the following years. I owe more to them than I was prepared to acknowledge at the time, although, of course, I still prefer positive alternatives to the aversive model.

These historical reflections are relevant to the treatment I have given many of the topics in this book. Although I have not aimed to write a book that is concerned primarily with the history of psychology, I hope that it might make a contribution to the history of this branch of psychological theory. I have traced many of the central ideas over a period of a hundred years or so. The historical treatment I have given to basic concepts in the general theory of cognitive motivation will contribute to the understanding of those concepts in depth and to the history of the various lines of research in which they were developed. At the same time I hope that the wide range of literature I have reviewed in its historical context will be a rich resource for new researchers in this field and for established scholars who might not be able to spare the time to search widely for the background of a topic of current interest.

The breadth and depth with which I have treated the main topics and the amount of information I have included raises a question about the best way to read this book. Relevant disciplines range from cognitive and affective neuroscience to personality and social psychology, including contemporary and historical accounts of cognition and motivation. Some sections are quite technical and others discursive, bridging into tangentially related fields like philosophy and literature. Although there is a logical sequence in the topics, that should be apparent in the chapter summaries, not every reader will want to read the whole work from beginning to end like a novel. It is intended to hold together as both a rich resource and a coherent account of the field rather than serve as a reference work on discreet subjects. I recommend taking the topics in the order in which they are appear, but selective attention to topics of interest is likely, nevertheless, to be productive. In each chapter, there is a list of section and sub-section headings at the beginning and a summary at the end. There are numerous cross references between chapters that are designed to enable the reader to pursue related topics of interest, find further substantiation of the arguments being made and explore further implications. Particular sections may contain more detail than is useful to a particular reader. Except perhaps for the orientation given to the whole work in the Introduction, it should be possible to begin almost anywhere, skip on from part-way through a chapter to a section of interest in another chapter and still construct a satisfying sequence.

I am indebted to the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in the University of Melbourne for providing me with an academic home and general support while I worked on this book after retirement, and especially its Centre for Positive Psychology in the later stages of the work. My previous position as Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at Melbourne was a base for much relevant background in applied research and basic theory, as was the Department of Psychology and the Education Research Unit of the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. I should also acknowledge with real appreciation the time out from regular ministry, and their tolerance of my testing combination of interests in theology and psychology, that was extended to me over many years by the Victoria and Tasmania Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia and the former Victoria and Tasmania Conference of the Methodist Church of Australasia.

Many thanks are due to several scholars in Australia and overseas, for comments on drafts of chapters at various stages of the work: I think particularly of Mary Ainley, Erica Frydenberg, Jean Russell, Todd Kashdan, Jordan Litman, Reijo Byman, Norman Feather, Ference Marton, Alan Baddeley, Bruce Beswick, David Beckett, Lea Waters, Gavin Slemp, Lindsey Oades, Christine Siokou. They are not of course responsible for any defects that remain. The contribution of my son Bruce has been significant both in his assistance with editing and through many hours of discussion that helped to clarify theoretical concepts.

It is with warm appreciation that I acknowledge the love and support of my wife Hazel while I worked on this book at a time when she might have expected more time together in retirement. It was time that my first wife Joan did not live to enjoy for long enough, but she too had shared gladly with much understanding my diverse and sometimes conflicting professional commitments. DB.


The incomplete gestalt

Motives are always a kind of striving for some form of completion - Allport 1937

How we think affects what we want. It is usually put the other way around: What we want affects how we think, but it works both ways. Cognitive processes can have motivational effects, as well as being affected by motivation. It is well established in psychological research that there is a kind of motivation with many interesting properties that is cognitive in origin and explains some of the most basic and the most highly developed aspects of human behaviour and experience. This work explores a theory of cognitive motivation that brings together motivation and cognition in a way that explains a range of such motivation.

A prime example of cognitive motivation is curiosity in which attention to perceived novelty gives rise to conceptual conflict and awareness of gaps in knowledge. People then seek additional information, review their thinking and strive to overcome inconsistencies and gaps in their view of the world and themselves. Other examples of cognitive motivation include cognitive dissonance, achievement motivation, attribution theory, self-efficacy, competence for its own sake, and various types of intrinsic motivation, in all of which there is some initial sense of incompleteness in one’s conception of the world and oneself. Awareness of incompleteness motivates people to seek new information and reorganize present knowledge to form a new understanding of themselves and the world in which they live. That search for a new understanding defines a goal for purposive behaviour. Motivated behaviour is purposive by definition.

It is a common psychological conception that motivation both gives direction and impels action, and so it is with cognitive motivation. When behaviour is directed towards a goal we assume that there are information processing conditions within the individual that direct and energize behaviour for the attainment of that goal. As with all kinds of motivation, cognitive motivation is goal oriented; but its goals are often intrinsic to the motivated behaviour itself. It is not dependent upon the satisfaction of physiological needs, but on forms of information processing. In order to provide a theoretically useful basis for understanding behaviour with a purpose, however, the internal processes which constitute a particular type of motivation need to be explicated. It is not enough simply to name a motive or ascribe a need for whatever is defined as a goal. To advance psychological understanding we need to know how it works.

In the theory of cognitive motivation that I propose in this work, the internal conditions that we infer are not static but dynamic: that is, we look for a process of motivation, not simply a motive state or disposition. The process of arousal and direction defined in this theory is called cognitive motivation because it is cognitive in origin and in its contents, as distinct from motivation that has physiological or other pre-programmed biological sources. But while cognitive in its processes it is derived from both thoughts and feelings. In a theory of cognitive motivation we are concerned with processes that include cognitive elements representing emotions with physiological components which help to initiate and guide behaviour towards a goal.

It was common in 20th century psychology to separate cognition from motivation, so that the term ‘cognitive motivation’ might not have appeared initially to make sense in the prevailing theoretical framework. In a fairly typical statement in the development of this field Gordon Allport said ‘… no theory of cognition, however dynamic, would give us the required foundation for a full-blooded psychology of personality. We need also a doctrine of motivation to explain the facilitating, inhibiting, selecting, and vivifying of our cognitive and behavioural systems’ (Allport 1955, p. 15). The theory of cognitive motivation combines the two, cognition and motivation, in a single process. It does so by incorporating emotions as signs in cognitive functions.

Curiosity is the prime example of cognitive motivation. A cognitive process theory of curiosity (Beswick 1964, 1971) is presented in Chapter 2 as a model of the underlying processes of intrinsic motivation, which are then generalized to a broader concept of cognitive motivation. Curiosity is the prototypical example of intrinsic motivation in which motivation is inherent in the motivated activity itself, that is, in something done for its own sake rather than being a means to some other end (see Chapter 3). Intrinsic motivation falls within the scope of cognitive motivation, but not all cognitive motivation is strictly intrinsic. Some of the goals of other forms of cognitive motivation may be separable from the motivated behaviour which serves as a means to those ends. On the one hand, cognitive motivation includes competence for its own sake or ‘effectance motivation’ that is intrinsically rewarding (White 1959), while on the other, cognitive dissonance is an example in which extrinsic feedback from social interaction may be important in reconciling dissonant cognitions (Festinger 1957). In another example, achievement motivation can be rewarded either intrinsically or extrinsically – compare the satisfaction that an inventor receives in his or her own mind from a unique accomplishment with the accolades received from others by the winner of an Olympic race (McClelland, Atkinson, Clark and Lowell 1953). Attribution theory (Weiner 1986b), self-efficacy (Bandura 1997), and personal searches for identity, purpose and meaning depend upon higher levels of cognitive organization that, while intrinsically rewarding in processes of self-understanding, incorporate feedback from external sources in social and personal developmental experiences (see Chapters 3, 6 and  12). There are different theories for each of these types of cognitive motivation. This work is an inquiry into the possibility that a general theory of cognitive motivation can be applied to all its forms.

The incomplete gestalt

The basic idea I suggest we explore is that cognitive processes have motivational effects as people strive for completion  of incomplete images of the world, including themselves and their place in it. In the theory of cognitive motivation, as in other general cognitive theories, the images we have of the world and ourselves are organized in a cognitive map with dynamic properties which owe their effects to a general principle of striving for meaningful organization. This map is not only a simplified summary of past experience, but a coherent meaningful representation which extends into images of the future. Cognitive processes have motivational effects when attention is focused on some point at which the organization of a cognitive map  is incomplete, and purposive imagination conceives of possibilities for its completion. We form images of the future and compare them with the present state of affairs. We both see and feel the difference. Feelings guide us toward the fulfilment of our aspirations as we move conceptually from a present state to an imagined future state: ‘the difference between a desired state and a current state drives the organism toward reducing that difference’ (Austin and Vancouver 1996, p. 340). It is a basic principle of the theory of cognitive motivation, however, that we never arrive exactly at a previously imagined position. New forms emerge and a new order is established as new information is processed in the resolution of what I call an incomplete gestalt, the key concept in this theory.  The aim of the resolution is not simply to overcome deficiencies but to achieve growth of organization and meaning (Hebb 1949, Bruner 1990) so as to make sense of what is happening and equip the person to cope more effectively with future challenges. There is a similar set of assumptions in the recently developed meaning maintenance model (Heine , Proulx  and Vohs  2006) which I discuss in Chapter 1 and at other points.

Many theorists in the early and mid-20th century, such as Woodworth , Allport, Hebb , Bruner, Hunt, McReynolds and the Gestalt psychologists, suggested directly or indirectly that there is an inherent tendency in the way the brain processes information for the level of organization to be increased. In this view it is to be expected that there is a tendency for an incomplete image to be transformed into a more nearly complete form, or gestalt, that stands out from a background. This is a basic hypothesis in the cognitive motivation theory. Recent developments in biological and physical sciences have described ‘self-organizing systems’  similar to those suggested by the early Gestalt psychologists, Köhler  in particular (see Chapter 9). In this theory it is assumed that self-organizing systems in the brain produce new forms of order, so that identifiable gestalts appear. As a new order develops, at a point of transition between chaos and cosmos, people strive for ‘some form of completion,’ to use Allport’s term for the goal of all kinds of motivation (Allport  1937b, p. 154, see also Allport 1937a). In the process that I describe, an incomplete gestalt is the engine which drives cognitive motivation: it is a motivating force that gives direction to goal oriented activity and energizes behaviour for that purpose. Its varying effects in different types of cognitive motivation depend upon the specific contents of an image or schema, the different ways in which it can be incomplete, and the various strategies that may be adopted for its completion.

Cognitive approaches to motivation have been developed over the past half century or so, but no general theory of cognitive motivation has been put forward. What was known previously as a cognitive ‘approach’ may be seen as a step towards a cognitive theory of motivation. A cognitive view of motivation in general is represented in Kagan’s definition of a motive as ‘a cognitive representation of a future goal state that is desired’ (Kagan 1972 p. 54). That definition could have a very wide application, but I propose a theory of cognitive motivation which applies to only certain types of motivation. That is, I do not aim to give a general account of all motivation, but only motivation that falls within the wide range of cognitive motivation. There are signs, however, of a general theory of all kinds of motivation being developed in the foreseeable future.

In a recent paper which appeared too late to be taken fully into account for this book, Baumeister has suggested some steps ‘Towards a general theory of motivation’ (Baumeister 2016). His purpose was to look ahead to ‘a broad understanding of motivation that would apply across multiple domains of desire and motivated behaviour’ (p.1). He too refers to the last half century as a time in which emphasis has shifted to cognitive processes, and to the present as a time when motivation has generated renewed interest, and he argues, as I do, that a full understanding must encompass both cognition and motivation in a new conceptual paradigm. I agree with him on the basic function of emotion acting with cognition in the service of motivation, and on the emergence of new forms of motivation like the search for meaning. He has some very interesting suggestions on the nature of possible long term change in the base level to which motivational arousal returns in an equilibrium type of motivation. I differentiate cognitive motivation from the equilibrium model, but his idea of adaptation could fit quite well with my argument for the resolution of an incomplete gestalt never returning the system to a previous state. He concludes with a hope ‘that moving toward a general theory of motivation will help psychology as a whole acknowledge and embrace the fundamental importance of motivation in the grand scheme of integrative psychological theory’ (p. 9). I do not aim to offer a general theory of motivation, but a theory applicable to the limited range of cognitive motivation which I define in Chapter 1. However, it would be consistent with my general theory of cognitive motivation if, ‘in the grand scheme of integrative psychological theory,’ a general theory of all motivation was built upon the principles of cognitive, personal and social integration.

Cognitive motivation occurs in a variety of forms, including cognitive dissonance (Chapter 4), achievement motivation (Chapter 5), attribution, and self-efficacy (Chapter 6), as well as curiosity (Chapter 2), competence and intrinsic motivation in general (Chapter 3). I will attempt to identify the cognitive processes that underlie these examples and help to explain cognitive motivation in general. Among the underlying processes with explanatory power are those of conscious cognitive integration which take place in working memory (Chapter 7), the function of emotions as signals for the changing relationship of a person to a goal in the course of purposive activity (Chapter 8), and the processes of meaningful organization that guide the pursuit of goals and intentions (Chapters 9 and 10). Some of the examples, like curiosity, achievement motivation and self-efficacy will be discussed in detail in Part 1 of the book, and the more general underlying cognitive processes in working memory, consciousness, emotions, goals and intentions, in Part 2 which concludes with applications of the general theory to identity, purpose and meaning in Chapters 11 and 12.

Summary of the Introduction

There is a kind of motivation with many interesting properties that is cognitive in origin. A prime example of cognitive motivation is curiosity (Chapter 2). Others include cognitive dissonance (Chapter 4), achievement motivation (Chapter 5), attribution theory and self-efficacy (Chapter 6), competence for its own sake, various types of intrinsic motivation (Chapter 3), and the search for meaning and purpose in life (Chapter 12), in all of which there is some initial sense of incompleteness in one’s conception of the world and oneself. Awareness of incompleteness motivates people to seek new information and reorganize present knowledge to form a new understanding of themselves and the world in which they live. A key concept in this theory is the idea of an incomplete gestalt. We look for a process, not simply a state of motivation. It is a process that tends to complete new whole images that stand out from a background.

While cognitive in its processes, cognitive motivation is derived from both thoughts and feelings. A cognitive process theory of curiosity is presented as a model of the underlying processes of intrinsic motivation, which are then generalized to a broader concept of cognitive motivation. Among the underlying processes with explanatory power are those of conscious cognitive integration which take place in working memory (Chapter 7), the function of emotions as signals for the changing relationship of a person to a goal in the course of purposive activity (Chapter 8), and the role of goals and intentions (Chapters 9 and 10). Some of the examples, like curiosity, achievement motivation and self-efficacy are discussed in detail in Part 1 of the book, and the more general underlying cognitive processes in working memory, consciousness, emotions, intentions, purpose and meaning, in Part 2. The same basic processes found at the micro level in curiosity can be applied at the macro level of personal identity, purpose and meaning (Chapters 11 and 12).

References for the Introduction

Allport, G. W. (1937a). Personality: a psychological interpretation. London, Constable.
Allport, G. W. (1937b). "The functional autonomy of motives." American Journal of Psychology, 50: 141-156.
Allport, G. W. (1955). Becoming: Basic considerations in the psychology of personality. New Haven, Yale.
Austin, J. T. and J. B. Vancouver (1996). "Goal Constructs in Psychology: Structure, Process, and Content." Psychological Bulletin 120(3): 338-375.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: the exercise of control. New York, W.H. Freeman.
Baumeister, R. F. (2016). "Toward a general theory of motivation: Problems, challenges, opportunities, and the big picture." Motivation and Emotion 40: 1-10.
Bruner, J. S. (1990). Acts of Meaning. Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press.
Festinger, L. (1957). A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford, California, Standord University Press.
Hebb, D. O. (1949). The organization of behavior: a neuropsychological theory. New York, Wiley.
Heine, S. J., T. Proulx and K. D. Vohs (2006). "The meaning maintenance model: On the coherence of social motivations." Personality and Social Psychology Review 10: 88-110.
Kagan, J. (1972). "Motives and development." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 22(1): 51-66.
McClelland, D. C., J. W. Atkinson, R. A. Clark and E. L. Lowell (1953). The achievement motive. New York, Appleton Century Crofts.
Weiner, B. (1986b). An attributional theory of motivation and emotion. New York, Springer-Verlag.
White, R. W. (1959). "Motivation reconsidered: The concept of competence." Psychological Review 66: 297-333.



I am using the Anglicized forms of the German word Gestalt and its plural Gestalten, but I intend the term to have the meaning given to it by the Gestalt theory pioneers, von Ehrenfels, Wertheimer, Köhler, and Koffka. As in the original Gestalt theory, by ‘gestalt’ I mean a form, image or whole unit of perception or conception that coheres as a single entity and is different from the sum of its parts (see Chapter 9).