Understanding Motivation

Understanding Motivation

Understanding Motivation

Date posted: January 9, 2019

The Center for the Developing Child at Harvard has created an interesting interactive graphic outlining the brain regions involved in motivation and how they work together. Click the image below to go to the fully interactive graphic.

Here are five commonly misunderstood facts about motivation:

  • Motivation comes from a set of neurochemical networks that develop over time, as a result of the experiences we have.
  • The best way to sustain motivation is to support internal drivers with the right kind of external feedback.
  • Addictions divert motivation systems and require more than willpower to overcome.
  • Motivation is complicated and has many influences.
  • Providing a predictable reward is not enough to sustain motivation over time.

To learn more, read Understanding Motivation: Building the Brain Architecture That Supports Learning, Health and Community Participation, a new working paper from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard. It explains the science behind motivation, how motivation develops, and how it can be disrupted. In addition to the scientific information, it includes practical guidance for parents, caregivers and teachers, as well as implications for policy and public systems.

The working paper is available for free download.

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