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Incentive and Instinct Theories

Identify the individuals associated with the incentive and instinct theories. A brief explanation of each theories motivational elements would also be helpful. Thank you.

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Let's take a closer look at the two theories and the associated theorists. Theorists use these types of motivational theories, but they are not often referred to as instinctual theorists or incentive theorists making it difficult to locate information using those search words.


There are several motivational theories, including Instinct Theories and Incentive Theories.

Motivation is often defined as the forces that act on or within an organism to initiate and direct behavior. Motivation is characterized by its activation (the initiation or production of behavior), persistence (continued effort to reach a goal), and intensity (the vigor of the response or behavior).

1. Instinct theory

Instinct theory proposed that human behavior is caused by instincts.

Example: An instinct theorist would say that Nancy wants to have children because she has a reproductive instinct.


Some of the instinct theorists are Konrad Lorenz, Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, Erik Erikson and Karen Horney (see for information on each theorist).

For example, a prominent ...

Solution Summary

This solution briefly describes the incentive and instinct theories in terms of motivation and then identifies the Key players associated with each theory.