Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Little-Known Truths, Quirky Anecdotes, Seething Scandals, and Even Some Science in the History of (Primarily Achievement) Motivation

Abstract

This article presents a history of the study of motivation from approximately 1900-1975, focusing on achievement strivings and containing little-known and often surprising facts about the main contributors to this field. Four theorists are highlighted: David McClelland, Kurt Lewin, John Atkinson, and Fritz Heider, each associated with a different theoretical approach (respectively and in order of historical emergence: trait, Gestalt, expectancy/value, and attribution theory). A fifth conception, drive theory, is also represented. In addition, a number of individuals who influenced these theorists and others who followed them are discussed. The article emphasizes the interrelations between the theorists and the interaction between personal and scientific life. © 2013 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View