Volume 13, Issue 4 (2022)                   LRR 2022, 13(4): 467-497 | Back to browse issues page


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Hosseini Fatemi A, fathabadi J, Pishghadam R. Problems of Defining and Distinguishing Motivation and Motive Among Iranian English Learners and Native Speakers, and a Historical-Genealogical Study of the Reasons in Psychology. LRR 2022; 13 (4) :467-497
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-39884-en.html
1- Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran , hfatemi@ferdowsi.um.ac.ir
2- Ph.D., Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran
3- Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran
Abstract:   (657 Views)
Abstract It is safe to say that motivation is one of the most controversial concepts of study in all social sciences especially psychology. Concerned with this controversy, the purpose of this study was to investigate the problems of defining and theorizing about motivation. To this end, the tendency and capability of Iranian English learners and native speakers to distinguish motive and motivation was investigated. Moreover, the problems were situated in a historical context to shed light on the reasons behind them through a structural and genealogical approach. Based on the results all the participants including only distinguished motivation and motive where both of them were present, otherwise, they were treated synonymously. The structural analysis of motivation as a word resulted in a very broad definition: the whole process of moving toward a goal. This extensive meaning, which includes both mental and outside factors, cannot be accounted for in a single theory. Therefore, in the process of becoming a concept and then a measurable construct, the range of meaning has shrunk. It, in technical terms, is the inevitable result of embracing the ontology of analytical philosophy, which ends up in moving toward fixity and identity, by most psychologists. Being aware of these facts can play a major role in preventing motivational scholars from making unjustified conclusion based on their findings.

1. Introduction
The first psychological use of the term ‘motivation’ dates back to 1901 and has been a main concern and a controversial topic in psychology. It is also one of the most important, controversial, and debated concepts in SLL research. The common belief is that motivation is the indispensable factor in all facets of language learning without which the efforts for accomplishment would be in vain, and it can also make up for lack of abilities in other skills. Acknowledging the problems that surround motivation, this study aims at inspecting these problems, discovering the reasons behind them, and coming up with a comprehensive definition for motivation.
Research Question(s)
1. Do English native speakers differentiate motive and motivation when one of them is present (error-recognition test)?
2. Do Iranians majoring in English differentiate motive and motivation in error-recognition test?
3. Is there any difference among male native English speakers, female native English speakers, male Iranians majoring in English, and female Iranians majoring in English in the error-recognition test?
4. Do English native speakers differentiate motive and motivation when both of them are present (two-options test)?
5. Do Iranians majoring in English differentiate motive and motivation in the two-options test?
6. Is there any difference among male native English speakers, female native English speakers, male Iranians majoring in English, and female Iranians majoring in English in the two-options test?
7. Is there any difference between participants who took the error-recognition test and those who took the two-options test?
8. Structurally speaking, what could have been the meaning of motivation as a word?
9. What are the sources of the difficulties surrounding the definition of motivation?
10. In what ways the meaning of motivation has diverged throughout its life in the field of psychology?

2. Literature Review
2.1. Motivation in Psychology
Earliest attempts of psychologists to capture the essence of the concept is what came to be known as instinct approaches. In these approaches, inborn, biologically determined factors i.e., instincts, were considered to be the reasons behind behaviors. Later, drive-reduction approaches emerged to compensate for the problems inherent in instinct approaches. In these new approaches, the reason behind any behavior was considered to be lack of some biological needs which creates a drive for action to satisfy those needs. Regarding the drive-reduction approaches, two different criticisms appeared: they could not explain behaviors in which the goal was to increase arousal, and  lacked the rationale needed in accounting for behaviors which do not follow an internal drive. The line of work addressing the first criticism resulted in the development of arousal approaches the main proposal of which was  that each person wants to maintain a certain amount of arousal. Furthermore, incentive approaches emerged to cover external drives addressed in the second criticism. The shortcoming inherent in previous approaches paved the way for the emergence of cognitive approaches in which the source of motivation was believed to reside in people’s cognition, i.e., mental information processing or thinking.

2.2. Motivation in SLA
Dornyei and Ryan divide the historical development of L2 motivation research into three periods: social psychological, cognitive-situated, and process-oriented. The first trend differentiated language learning from other school subjects because, as the proponents proposed, it is not a neutral subject. The second trend started off as an attempt to connect with motivational psychology and study motivation in actual classroom settings. Beside temporal nature, attended to by cognitive situated period, the socio-dynamic perspective emphasized the dynamic character of motivation i.e., its fluctuation in response to the changes in environment.

3. Methodology
In general, 200 English native speakers (half male and half female), and 200 MA or Ph.D. students majoring in English (half male and half female) participated in this study. These participants were 22 to 42 years of age and agreed to participate in the second phase of the study via email. Twenty novels (both originally English and translated works) were randomly selected from the lists of ‘best novels of time’ provided by the Telegraph, the Guardian, and Time magazine. The word ‘motive’ has been used 241 times in these novels twelve of which, were randomly selected and used as materials to develop two tests: an error-recognition test and a two-options test. The Crosstabulation and Chi-square Test were conducted to reveal whether the participants differentiate motive and motivation in two different scenarios: first when only one of them is present, and secondly when both of them are provided as options. This data analysis was conducted both as a whole, and separately for Iranians and native speakers across both genders. Subsequently, a series of T-tests and ANOVA Tests were performed based on their scores to find out whether there is a significant difference among participants across gender, and language status.


4. Results and Conclusion
This study revealed that ‘movere’ which means to move, is the principal root of motivation. Another word that has its root in ‘movere’ is motive, the meaning of which has become so close to motivation. The results of the first part confirmed this proximity of meaning: both native speakers and Iranians majoring in English did not differentiate motive and motivation when only one of them was present. However, both group did differentiate them when both of them were primed. Simply put, although English users know and expect motive and motivation to convey different meanings, they could easily end up neglecting this expected difference. The definition of human motivation at point zero, as recreated through its linguistic structure in the second part of the study, turned out to be ‘everything that happens and/or is at play from the beginning of a behavior till its end whether the goal is accomplished or the behavior is abandoned for various reasons’. The review disclosed that this definition is practically nonexistent in the literature for various reasons such as:
  • the analytical ontological orientation dominant in research projects within humanities and social sciences
  • the inclination of researchers and theorizers toward preciseness and fixity at the expense of excluding differences
  • the transition from word to concept within scientific fields of study
  • the requirements of establishing a construct in scientific research projects.

 
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Article Type: مقالات علمی پژوهشی | Subject: Language Psychology
Published: 2022/10/2

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