coste087: November 2011 Archives

Drive reduction theories propose that humans are motivated to maintain homeostasis within certain drives like hunger, thirst and sexual frustration. However, if we didn't supplement drive reduction theories with incentive theories we would have to assume that people never intentionally engage in behaviors when their drives are satisfied, and that would be incorrect, people frequently are motivated to extend beyond homeostasis by pursuit of positive goals. An example given in the textbook examines the work of great minds like Picasso, Maya Angelou and Mozart, asserting that if we applied only drive reduction theories to their work after they finished a masterpiece they would have less desire to create another. This we can tell is not the case; Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in 1907, which he built upon for many years to reach the groundbreaking cubist movement and then in '37 he painted Guernica, arguably his greatest and most famous piece. What I am interested in are the two types of motivation responsible for Incentive theories: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation.
As a senior and art major at the U, I have taken nearly every type of art class, because I eventually want to teach art, so it's important that I have a little bit of experience with every kind of art form. This year I was confronted with the fact that I still needed to take ceramics, my least favorite type of art. I figured that I just didn't like it because I didn't have very much experience with it and within a couple weeks of the class it would grow on me. That's how it went with photography, which I slowly grew to love. Ceramics has proven to be different, I still really hate it, even more than I thought I would in the first place. I persist because I want to pass the class and I need to have experience if I want to get into a teacher licensure program for art. These criteria are both motivated by external goals or from extrinsic motivation. If I was making the work in ceramics based more on internal goals, like trying to use it to express a bigger idea or artistic theory I have, it would be intrinsic motivation. So which form of motivation is better? I think both are necessary. Not all people have type A personalities, so sometimes a little extrinsic motivation is necessary to prompt later intrinsic motivation. Class assignments are good starting points so that we don't feel so overwhelmed by an entropic world with endless ideas and possibilities. My frustration with ceramics is that there are way too many goals created by extrinsic motivation. My teacher piles assignment on top of assignment so I have to think quickly and therefore I'm only concerned only with whether or not I can get the assignment finished, I give no thought towards what kind of meaning the piece has to me. So when the ceramic piece is finished and glazed it offers nothing to me except a grade. I don't think that's how art classes should be, but there are a number of definitions for what constitutes as art, and perhaps one could go as far as to claim that just because all of these feelings and motivations or lack thereof motivations were poured into a piece, that that is what makes the piece significant. What I do know is that once the class has ended I will not be satisfied and I will pursue ceramics again out of an unfulfilled drive of intrinsic goals that I never got to sort out within the scope of this semester.

Perfecting Parenting

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From my little experience working with kids, (I taught swimming lessons for a couple years, and I volunteer at a preschool) I've been surprised to learn how very different they can be behaviorally speaking at such early ages. I think this has a lot to do with parenting, which is mentioned in our book on page 388. I also think that the style of parenting kids grow up with has long-term effects on development.
A parenting phenomenon that has been highly discussed recently is "helicopter parenting." I would classify a helicopter parent under the style the textbook calls an "Authoritarian." An authoritarian is strict, offering little freedom and much punishment. Helicopter parents are involved with every aspect of a child's life. Many interpretations of the term appear as comic strips with an apathetic looking kid in the middle of two hovering parents, one whispering an answer to the test they're currently taking and the other trying to wrap the kid in bubble wrap.
The term reminded me very much of many of my friends' parents in high school, in particular my friend B's mom. B's mom always decided what classes B would sign up for. She wouldn't allow her to take art because there were more important classes that would be "more beneficial to B later on in life." When I first started to hang out with B she admitted to being constantly stressed out, she told me how on holidays she would always get drunk in her bathroom because she felt like she didn't belong with her family and they didn't think she was good enough. This really freaked me out and I suggested she tell her mom how she felt about how much control she had over B. B's mom didn't like this at all and eventually stopped allowing B to come over to my house. She said I was a bad influence on her because my parents were too liberal and they were divorced so I was "troubled." As stated in our textbook the effects of divorce on children are variable and "better-designed studies show that the substantial majority of children survive their parents' divorce without long-term emotional damage." My parents' divorce came as a relief to me because I knew the constant fighting would be over. B's parents condemn divorce and yet have separate bedrooms and fight often. So then in 2008 came Bs transition and mine into college. While my parents had been lenient with me (or authoritative) I was reluctant to disobey them and their suggested limits because I was generally happy with life. When B got to college it was as if you let her out of a cage, once overwhelmed with structure and limitations B was now free to do as she pleased. She drank heavily and her grades suffered. So was the cause of this her helicopter mom? Or had she simply been wired that way..with little self-control, and thus her mom had no other choice but to constantly dictate her every action?

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1940697-1,00.html <---good article on helicopter parenting

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