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Motivation: A Critical Consideration of Freud and Rogers’ Seminal Conceptualisations

Willmott, Dominic and Ryan, Saskia and Sherretts, Nicole and Woodfield, Russell and McDermott, Danielle (2018) Motivation: A Critical Consideration of Freud and Rogers’ Seminal Conceptualisations. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 49 (2). pp. 229-234. ISSN 0079-2993


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Humans vary in many aspects of their psychology with differences routinely found in patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, setting individuals apart across time and place. Though many psychologists have attempted to account for these individual differences, one area that has continued to generate interest and disagreement is the concept of motivation. Today, understanding behavioural motivation remains one of the most important questions facing personality theorists. In an attempt to better account for human motivation, the present exploration reviews seminal theoretical positions put forward by Sigmund Freud from a Psychoanalytical perspective and contrastingly, that of Carl Rogers from the Humanistic approach. Critical consideration is specifically applied to how verifiable each perspective may be and the degree of empirical support either account has attained to date. Whilst understanding human motivation is not a new endeavour, the present exploration provides a contemporary critical assessment of traditional psychological explanations.

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