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Human Development Pursue of Happiness

1) Do humans pursue happiness. Give two different definitions of happiness.
2) Give three examples of basic biological tendencies in humans
3) What was Freud trying to accomplish in therapy? What changes did he want to make in his clients?
4) Describe two different attributional styles, i.e. ways people explain what causes things to happen.
5) What approaches to the study of motivation are most likely to use non-human animals in their research, give your reasons for identifying these approaches.

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1. Do humans pursue happiness? Give two different definitions of happiness.

There are different theories about happiness, but most would agree that humans do pursue happiness in varying degrees and for different purposes. For example, in the first definition below, it suggests that happiness is a direct result of self-actualization, which paves the way to be happy. On the other hand, Aristotle, in the second definition, actually theorizes that happiness is the true meaning and purpose of life.

A. David Leonhardt's definition of happiness:

Finding happiness is like finding yourself. You don't find happiness, you make happiness. You choose happiness. Self-actualization is a process of discovering who you are, who you want to be and paving the way to happiness by doing what brings YOU the most meaning and contentment to your life over the long run.

B. Aristotle's definition of happiness:

Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.

See other definitions at

2. Give three examples of basic biological tendencies in humans.

1. Hunger
2. Thirst
3. Sleep

Example 1 and 2: Hunger and Thirst

Drive Reduction Theory - According to Clark Hull (1943, 1952), humans have internal biological needs, which motivate us to perform a certain way. These needs, or drives, are defined by Hull as internal states of arousal or tension, which must be reduced. A prime example would be the internal feelings of hunger or thirst, which motivates us to eat. According to this theory, we are driven to reduce these drives so that we may maintain a sense of internal calmness

Example 3: Sleep

Humanistic Theory: Although discussed last, humanistic theory is perhaps the most well know theory of motivation. According to this theory, humans are driven to achieve their maximum potential and will always do so unless obstacles are placed in their way. These obstacles include hunger, thirst, sleep, financial problems, safety issues, or anything else that takes our focus away from maximum psychological growth. For example, the best way to describe this theory is to utilize the famous pyramid developed by Abraham Maslow (1970) called the Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow believed that humans have specific needs that must be met and that if lower level needs go unmet, we cannot possible strive for higher level needs. The Hierarchy of Needs shows that at the lower level, we must focus on basic issues such as food, sleep, and safety. Without food, without sleep, how could we possible focus on the higher level needs such as respect, education, and recognition?

3. What was Freud trying to accomplish in therapy? What changes did he want to make in his clients?

Freud said the goal of therapy was to make the unconscious conscious. Most importantly, Freud popularized the "talking-cure"--an idea that a person could solve problems simply by talking over them (e.g. free association), something that was almost unheard of in the 19th century. Through talking, Freud believed that the 'unconscious' repressed memories come into our conscious awareness. Then, the symptoms will be alleviated. Thus, therapy is about bringing our repressed memories (from childhood) to conscious awareness. Even though many psychotherapists today tend to reject the specifics of Freud's theories, this basic mode of treatment comes largely from his work.

The unconscious includes all the things that are not easily available to awareness, including many things that have their origins there, such as our drives or instincts, and things that are put there because we can't bear to look at them, such as the memories and emotions associated with trauma. The client does not have to make changes, beyond talking to make the unconscious conscious.

Extra Reading:

Example: Freud's Therapy ...

Solution Summary

By responding to the questions, this solution discusses aspects of human development and theory e.g., happiness, biological tendencies, attribution styles, Freud, and approaches to motivation.