Instincts and tension reduction

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Instinct and Tension Reduction is a theory of causation, or motivation, of behavior – causation from a behaviorist perspective, motivation from a mentalist perspective. The idea is that when an inherent instinct, such as a need for food, exceeds a threshold value we act to reduce the tension so caused. In other words, when our bodies need food we are motivated to act to reduce the feeling of the tension of hunger by obtaining food and ingesting it. This idea goes back at least as far as Sigmund Freud’s theory of drive that, sans tension, went on to underpin the behaviorist theories of Drive Reduction in the 1940s.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of personality and individual differences
EditorsVirgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9783319246123, 9783319280998
ISBN (Print)9783319246109
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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    Brown, B. (2020). Instincts and tension reduction. In V. Zeigler-Hill, & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of personality and individual differences (pp. 2271-2276). Cham, Switzerland: Springer, Springer Nature.