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Motivation facts for kids

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Aspiration Management
Maslow's Pyramid

Motivation is an important part of human psychology. Motivation makes a person want to work towards a goal. It makes people want to take action. For example, hunger is a motivation which causes a desire to eat. Motivation is the purpose or psychological cause of an action.

With animals, motivation is caused by basic needs. These needs can be the needs for food, water, warmth, safety, mating, protecting the young, defending territory, or needs to escape pain and threats. The drive to do these things is instinctive, inborn, and triggered by the situation an animal is in.

Compared to other animals, motivation in humans is more complicated. Like other animals, humans also have the instinct to find food and water and avoid pain. However, humans are are also capable of having long-term plans that require motivation over a long period of time.


A drive or desire is a deficiency or need that activates behaviour aimed at a goal or an incentive.

Drives may arise inside or outside an organism. External drives for humans are rewards and punishments, and can be quite subtle: a frown or a smile may be sufficient for a young person.

Drives often occur within the individual and may not need external stimuli to encourage the behaviour.


Motivation and emotion are intertwined: "Emotional states tend to have motivational properties".

Unconscious motivation

Not all motivated behaviour is the result of conscious decisions. Freudian psychology suggests that much behaviour is motivated by "unconscious factors, working through a network of defence mechanisms, symbolic disguises and psychological cloaks".

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Motivation Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.