Psychology -
Cognitive and Behaviorist Studies

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External Influences

External Influences of Motivation
     The Incentive Theory suggests that people are pulled toward behaviors by rewards (incentives).
Extrinsic (external) motivation is any influence comes from an outside source. An intrinsic (internal) motivation is any motivation comes from within and provides a sense of satisfaction. Incentives can provide negative motivation, a promise of an unpleasant outcome, that can be avoided if a specific behavior is performed.

     Decisions are not made in a vacuum. There are various external factors or influences that affect how we function, our objectives, and short and long term strategies.

     A major factor that affects us is the number and degree of obstacles that may prevent the successful implementation of a decision.

     Possible factors that can affect our decision include:

  • Social – how people in our social/per group behave and their beliefs,
  • Legal – legislation, codes, and regulations made by society puts acceptable limits on our behavior,
  • Economic – how the our national and local economy affects affects our net spendable income,
  • Political – how changes in local. state, and national elections can affect government policy that might limit or expand our opportunities,
  • Technological – how the rapid pace of changes in technology can limit or expand our opportunities,
  • Ethical – what is regarded as morally right or wrong regarding our personal, social, and business conduct.
     Social changes occur as individuals in our local and national communities adjust their attitudes concerning how the live and conduct themselves. As a member of society, we need to be aware of our social responsibilities. The way we conduct our self towards the different parts of society influences who we associate with and how we make decisions to support or separate ourselves from the groups that we belong.

     How we act and behave in our private life and in groups may be the identical or may be tailored to each group - social, business, family, school, church, sports, and political organizations.  Keeping track of what persona you present to each group can become very difficult and cause embarrassing situations when the wrong persona is displayed. A fact that many politicians have learned to their great dismay with cells phones recording video and audio files that can easily be sent around the world in a flash.

     The decision to make post personal behavior on facebook pages and other social sites have become very common among our younger generation who have not grasped the concept that once sometime is electronically distributed and proves to be very embarrassing, it can never be completely removed.

External Influences
      Ad agencies design clever ways to connection celebrations with the consumption of alcohol. High profile sports telecasts are saturated with commercials to encouraging celebrating with alcoholic beverages. A few decades ago cigarette manufactures promoted their product using male and female images portraying themes of enhancing sexual attractiveness.

      There is an irony that our social traditions can determine the types, amounts, and times of consuming food and beverages based on the schedule of activities that occur at home, at school, and/or work. Our social and work structure doesn't encourage or promote the consumption food and beverages based on our body receiving signals that it is necessary to refuel our bodies. 

      Every new addition to a family (child or pets) introduces a new set of dynamics between parents and each addition. A new arrival also changes the interactions between each sibling.  The extent and manner in which each child will be affected depends on their sex and age. Avoid using sexual stereotypes when assigning chores and establishing expectations.

      Methods of how to change habits include the following suggestions:
  • Learn how to recognize patterns of behavior associated with specific conditions that may trigger subject's behaviors,

  • Develop a plan to replace old habits with new and more positive habits,

  • Replace old habits with new and more positive habits,

  • Start small because any changes of habits is difficult. Attempting to make too many changes, even small changes, in too little time is  extremely difficult and more likely not to be successful. However, a recipe for disaster is to attempt to make drastic changes without sufficient preparation and/or sufficient time to accomplish the "make over".

There are tangible factors to use in determining who is best suited to be an external influence
      Research suggests that good teachers, coaches, and individuals in a leadership position possess a few simple, quantifiable attributes.
  • Verbal and cognitive ability. An adults verbal and cognitive abilities are strongly tied to their success in communication with children. 

  • Adequate knowledge of their content areas. Not everyone is well versed in all subjects. A person's subject matter knowledge contributes to their ability to communicate only up to a certain point. They must be able to conserve at the level of the learn, otherwise there is a serious break down in communication.

  • Knowledge of how to teach their subject areas. Which is more important, a person's knowledge of subject matter or their knowledge of how to communicate their pedagogical content knowledge of the subject matter.  Baumert and colleagues (2010) tested 194 high school mathematics teachers on both their math skills and their knowledge of how to teach difficult math concepts. They found that although content knowledge is essential, teachers who also possess strong pedagogical content knowledge are more effective than those with content knowledge alone.

  • Ethical and moral code should be in agreement with your values before you allow any individual to be in a position of influencing your children.
There are intangibles factors to use in determining who is best suited to be an external influence
      There are attributes that can be measured or quantified quite easily. However, the really great teachers, coaches, and individuals in a leadership position, also possess many intangible attributes. Here are a few intangibles that research links to effectiveness:
  • Belief that all students can learn. Since the famous Rosenthal experiment in the late 1960s, the Pygmalion effect — the observation that teachers' expectations for their students affect how well students learn — has been well documented (Hattie, 2009).
  • Belief in their own abilities. A RAND study conducted more than 30 years ago (Armor et al., 1976) found links between student achievement and teachers' sense of efficacy — their belief in not just their students' ability to succeed, but also their own ability as teachers to help those students succeed.
  • Ability to connect with students. Cornelius-White (2007) conducted a meta-analysis of research on teacher-student relationships and found that teachers' warmth, empathy, and "nondirectivity" strongly correlated to higher levels of student participation, motivation, and achievement.
Source - The Effective Educator  December 2010/January 2011,
Volume 68, Number 4, pages 79-80.

     Schools public agencies, sports associations, and other youth organizations use a background check to determine if there is any public record of a new hire or volunteer has any convictions involving child and physical abuse charges. This is a positive step to screen new staff members who might potentially be a predator of children.

Recommended Reading:
  • Attribution Theory There are two basic kinds of attributions made: Internal and External. The meaning of a behavior depends on the cause to which it is attributed ... behavior) the factors affecting the attributions that the observer will make are: ... To the extent that the B believes that the A's actions are meant to affect him/her, the action is personal.
  • Chapter 7: Human Society
    Human behavior is affected both by genetic inheritance and by experience. .... External factors — including war, migration, colonial domination, imported ideas, ... terms, the amount of living space, or a personal feeling of suitability as parents.
  • External Influences: Culture -  Culture represents the behavior, beliefs and, in many cases, the way we act learned by interacting or observing other members of society. In this way much of what we do is shared behavior, passed along from one member of society to another.

  • Tips for Breaking Bad Habits and Developing Good Habits  If you know how to change your habits, then even a small effort can create big changes. This article will help you break bad habits and develop good ones.
  • The Importance of Yoga for Sports Persons   Feb. 5, 2011 Yoga is a holistic system - teaching skills which many sports persons seek, such as control over the mind, control over the body, good breathing, etc.
  • Autonomic Nervous System - NDRF   The autonomic nervous system conveys sensory impulses from the blood vessels , the heart and all of the organs in the chest, abdomen and pelvis, etc.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder  All kids have worries and doubts. But some have obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD) in which their worries compel them to behave in certain ways.


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Converting Bad Habits

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The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
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