Motivation is not essentially a psychological phenomenon but human behavior is a product of complex biological system and physiological processes play important role in motivation. A major physiological factor is level of arousal that refers to overall readiness of the human organism to engage in activity. The phenomenon of arousal involves the intricate neurological activation of the reticular activating system (RAS) in the brain, autonomic nervous system and hormonal system (endocrine system). The involvement of all these processes enhance or slow down the physiological processes that leads to variations in the intensity of response rate (condition of alertness and readiness to respond).
In order to depict the ralationship between arousal and performance, a law was proposed by Yerker and Dodson known as Yerker-Dodson law. The essential element of this law is that an optimal level of arousal is required for performance, and excessive or too little arousal can harm the performance level.
Eyesnck theory is widely regarded as the oldest attempt to explain the arousal level on the physiological grounds. Eyesenck illustrated a relationship between cerebral functions and processes and basic personality dimension of arousal. This theory manifests two types of cerebral activity; cortical arousal, which control concentration and readiness to engage in an activity and Autonomic activation that pedals emotional patterns and primary drives. He postulated that “introverts” have higher levels of cortical arousal so they have excessive level of arousal whereas as “extroverts” have lowest possible arousal level. Neurotics have higher levels of autonomic activation that charge them with excessive emotionalism.
The Behavioral Approach System (BAS, Gray 1994) proposed that approach behaviors are activated by incentives of reward and non-punishments. Behavioral Activation System (Fowles, 1988) has the same magnitude of relationship between arousal and performance. About the cerebral processes of this BAS, Grays says, “The key components are the basal ganglia (the dorsal and ventral striatum, and dorsal and ventral pallidum); the dopaminergic fibers that ascend from the mesencephalon (substantia nigra and nucleus A 10 in the ventral tegmental area) to innervate the basal ganglia; thalamic nuclei closely linked to the basal ganglia; and similarly, neocortical areas (motor, sensorimotor, and prefrontal cortex) closely linked to the basal ganglia.” (Gray 1994, p 41). Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) is complementary to Behavioral Approach System. If BAS accelerates approach behaviors and enhances arousal level then BIS stalls the approach behaviors through punishment or non-reward and reduces the arousal level to the minimum. On the contrary, BIS can also increase tension and hence arousal level due to punishment stimuli. The BIS may be considered both as a cognitive and physiological system (Fowles, 1988; Gray 1982).
During studies a proper level of arousal must be maintained by a male adult to achieve good grades in academic life. Excessive arousal level or “introversion”, caused by too much anxiety about the performance, too much focus on results, social compulsions and/or familial concerns, can impede the performance of this male student. “Greater physiological reactivity to sensory stimulation” at the Reticular activation system can lead to over-arousal that results into nothing. This excessive introversion can be analyzed in the light of approach behaviors that are activated in response to indication for reward or punishment. These approach behaviors are linked “neurophysiologically” with the “motor programming system”. This cerebral system raises a high level of arousal that is disadvantageous to the performance of the male. So this male is requires peace and serenity to equip them with an optimal level of performance. This arousal level can be stimulated by different activities such as sleep, engaging in heartening conversation, consultation with seniors etc.
Minimal level of arousal can harm the relationship of a female with her partner as emotional attachment or sexual activity requires a minimal optimal level of arousal. Low level or very high-level arousal is detrimental to her relationship. Low level of arousal or “extroversion” is caused by low stimulation at Reticular Activating System. This reduces the optimal required level of arousal needed to equip her with proper emotional level to meet the requirements of her partner. The motive for this low level cortical arousal is due to lack of strong stimulation e.g. no natural inclination toward dating, introduction or presentation of relationship in an awkward way etc. This low level of arousal can harm her relation as her partner will consider this low arousal level as lack of warmth and affection on her part and can think of parting the ways. So a minimum optimal level of arousal is needed to save her relation.
In order to induce her physiological reactivity at the reticular activating system, she can indulge herself in light amorous discussion over the topic related to their love affair and can further engage herself in kissing. This will raise her arousal level to the minimum optimal level required.
Eysenck, HJ. (1991). Dimensions of personality: 16: 5 or 3? Criteria for a taxonomic paradigm. Personality and Individual Differences, 12, 773-90.
Eysenck, HJ. (1991b). Dimensions of personality: the biosocial approach to personality. In J Strelau & A Angleitner (Eds.), Explorations in temperament: international perspectives on theory and measurement (pp. 87-103). London: Plenum.
Gray, JA. (1994). Framework for a taxonomy of psychiatric disorder. In SHM van Goozen, NE van de Poll, & J Sergeant (Eds.), Emotions: Essays on emotion theory (pp. 29-59). Hillsdale, N. J.: Erlbaum.