Skip to content

AP Psychology Unit 6 Vocab: Understanding Human Motivation

AP Psychology Unit 6 Vocab: Understanding Human Motivation

As humans, we are consistently driven by different motives. Motivation is the driving force that moves us towards goals and objectives. In this article, we will dive into the AP Psychology Unit 6 Vocab, which will provide an understanding of human motivation.

What is Motivation?

Motivation is the process of stimulating action towards achieving a specific goal. Motives can be intrinsic or extrinsic, and they can be positive or negative. Positive motives are those that lead to rewards, while negative motives drive individuals to avoid punishment or negative consequences.


Instincts are innate, automatic behaviors that are not learned but are present in all members of a species. This is a biological drive that directs behavior in response to a specific situation or stimulus.

Drive Reduction Theory

The Drive Reduction Theory of motivation suggests that the primary motivation behind behavior is the drive to satisfy physiological needs. This theory suggests that we are driven to reduce physiological imbalances and strive for homeostasis.

Arousal Theory

According to the Arousal Theory of motivation, individuals seek an optimum level of arousal or stimulation. Individuals engage in behaviors that balance their need for stimulation with their need for relaxation.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs provides a framework for understanding human motivation. This model suggests that individuals have a hierarchy of needs, which are arranged in a pyramid. Needs at the bottom of the pyramid include physiological needs, and as these needs are satisfied, individuals move up the pyramid until they reach self-actualization needs.

BACA JUGA:   Mindfulness Psychology Degree: Unlocking Insight and Awareness

Incentive Theory

The Incentive Theory of motivation suggests that individuals are motivated to behave in ways that lead to rewards and incentives. This theory suggests that we are drawn to behaviors that offer some form of reward or benefit.


Emotion is a complex psychological experience that includes changes in physiological arousal, subjective feelings, and behavioral expression. Emotions can be positive or negative and can drive behavior to achieve goals or avoid punishment.

Cognitive Appraisal Theory

The Cognitive Appraisal Theory suggests that emotions are products of the individual’s interpretation of a situation. The theory suggests that individuals do not simply react to stimuli but interpret the situation before deciding how to respond.

Humanistic Perspectives

Humanistic Perspectives emphasize self-determination and personal growth. These perspectives suggest that individuals seek to be the best version of themselves and have a drive towards personal growth and self-actualization.


Understanding human motivation is critical in psychology. The AP Psychology Unit 6 Vocab provides a comprehensive understanding of the different theories and concepts that drive human behavior. Individuals are motivated to pursue different goals and objectives, and understanding these motives can help individuals achieve success in various aspects of life.