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Motivation in Maladaptive Behaviors: Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Stress


Addiction to drugs and other substances or activities have been demonstrated to involve the naturally occurring brain chemical transmitter dopamine. Dopaminergic neurons in the brain send projections to a few key areas in the brain that are involved in the addictive behaviors described in the textbook and in this module. Discuss the common brain pathway that is implicated in addiction and also discuss the supporting research evidence that points to the role of this pathway in addiction.

    In what ways are addictions and continuous stress maladaptive? How do you think these factors might alter one’s journey along Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, towards self-actualization?

    Discuss how the use of drugs differs from other natural incentives in motivating behavior.

    Discuss the inter-relationships between stress and drug use and/or drug abuse.

    Discuss how the immune system and social support influence stress levels and the physiological and psychological consequences of stress.


Foundations and History of Human Motivation


Question 1

State whether the following statement is true or false. Explain your answer. “Motivation can be defined in terms of how a behavior is initiated and how that initiation results in fulfillment of a need.”

Question 2

State whether the following statement is true or false. Explain your answer. “Motivation can be regarded as largely based in biology.”


Question 3

Explain what is conveyed in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid about the needs that underlie motivation.


Question 4

In your own words, explain to a fellow psychology student the distinction between a drive and a need. Provide an example to illustrate the point.


Question 5

Would you say that Olympic athletes are more motivated by psychological tension or physical arousal?


Question 6

State whether the following is true or false. Explain your answer. “An experimental design seeking to determine cause and effect involves surveys and questionnaires.”

    Question 7

Give an example of a dataset that can be plotted on a graph. Which data would you plot on the X-axis and which on the Y-axis? Provide an interpretation of your data.