|Title of host publication||Encyclopedia of personality and individual differences|
|Editors||Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford|
|Place of Publication||Cham, Switzerland|
|Publisher||Springer, Springer Nature|
|Number of pages||6|
|ISBN (Electronic)||9783319246123, 9783319280998|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|
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.