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[Xmca-l] Re: Intrinsic motivation?



Maria,
I appreciate your critical response very much. The accusations of dualism
are probably apt despite my dispreference for dualisms. Part of the trouble
is simply figuring out how to communicate the ideas in a way that will be
understandable to others, particularly with regard to the individual and
the context. Gregory Bateson suggested the term
"organism-in-the-environment" which we could easily translate to
"individual-in-the-environment". And yet it isn't clear how well proposing
this unity would push back against the everyday common sense notion that
the individual moves through (quite literally) different environments.
There is certainly mutual constitution going on here (consider the
difference between a blind and a seeing man walking through a city, or,
perhaps an autistic woman vs. a non-autistic woman moving through a social
space imbued with meaning such as a high school cafeteria), but there is
also something that the individual brings along with them as they move
through the world (is that better than saying "from context to context"?).
As much as I like the push for non-dualism (and I think it should be the
goal here), I'm struggling with the words to capture a non-dualistic
approach.

To that end, I wonder if you might be willing to say more about your
dissertation research. Can you take us up to the level of the concrete
realities you were dealing with and briefly describe what this kind of
analysis looks like with concrete examples so that we might begin to see
what language you use to describe these things as well as giving us
concrete examples of what an "object" of activity looks like?

-greg





On Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 4:35 AM, Maria Cristina Migliore <
migliore@ires.piemonte.it> wrote:

> Hi to everybody,
>
>
> Very interesting debate this one on motivation.
>
>
> My PhD dissertation was on ‘motivation’ to workplace learning in the case
> of older workers in the shop floor in the industrial sector, in a western
> ‘developed’ context such the north of Italy.
>
>
> I have chosen to adopt the concept of motives to learning instead of the
> too much cognitivist concept of motivation.
>
>
> The proposal - here in this debate - to integrate this concept by
> specifying that motivation is *justified* and *mediated* does not satisfy
> my need of positioning myself in the CHAT perspective. I have problem to
> accept this part of the definition of motivation: “the person’s long term
> characterological story of an intrinsically motivated person”.
>
>
> It seems to me that this conceptualization of motivation focuses on the
> individual, as separated from the context. The context is now *in* the
> individual. We look at the individual and the context is only a backcloth.
>
>
> In my doctoral research I have elaborated on the concept of motives and
> hierarchy of motives from the work of Leontiev in “Activity, Consciousness,
> and Personality”. I think that the Leontiev’s concept of motives is more
> useful when one uses the CHAT perspective and wants to overcome the dualism
> individuals/contexts. This concept offers a way to look at the single
> development of people and activities.
>
>
> This single development can be seen for motive is what is behind an
> activity. My interpretation of Leontiev’s work is that all of us
> internalize motives by participating in collective and material activities,
> which are driven by the objects. Object is “the true motive” of the
> activity. Motives have collective meanings. When motives are internalized
> with their collective meanings, the person personalizes them on the basis
> of her experiences. Every one is a unique constellation of experiences and
> motives, which they continuously organize hierarchically. This is the
> moment of subjectification (subjectivity) of the process of internalization
> (of motives) - highlighted by Stetsenko in her article on MCA in 2005-, a
> moment between internalization and externalization.
>
>
> I discuss these ideas in my thesis uploaded in Academia.edu.
>
>
> Thanks to this approach I was able to conclude my research with some
> indications to policy makers about types of intervention to support the
> single development of people and activities. I tell this here as a comment
> to what Greg has said about the macro level and its transformation: “these
> larger structures are much more intractable to change”. I am wondering
> whether this thought stems from the adoption of a theoretical perspective
> which is still marked by the Cartesian dualism and prevents to see how
> everything is connected.
>
>
> Maria-Cristina Migliore
>
>
> Turin (Italy)
>
>
>
> 2014-08-04 5:54 GMT+02:00 Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>:
>
> > ditto. "but" traded for "and"...
> > As to the question about transforming our relations, I'm not so sure
> that a
> > changed understanding of motivation is going to do all that.
> >
> > What I do think it could do is:
> >
> > 1. Serve as a push-back against the "I built that" mentality of the
> > American bourgeoisie (this was a Republican cry in the last election) in
> > which it is assumed that those who have "made it" have done it because of
> > their "intrinsic motivation" or their ability to "delay gratification".
> In
> > contrast, poor people are seen as people who want it and they want it
> now!
> > This was my reference to the famous marshmallow study where a kid is
> given
> > a marshmallow and told if they can wait, they will get two marshmallows -
> > and this was supposed to predict later success in life! Seems like a
> > troubling road to go down. Seems like this is bourgeois psychology at its
> > best.
> >
> > 2. But perhaps the more useful point is caught up in Luria's notion of
> the
> > importance of contexts for changing behavior. If we are working with kids
> > and want them to change their behavior then this suggests that we
> shouldn't
> > sit there and preach to them about how they should try harder in school
> or
> > "apply themselves" more or have more "intrinsic motivation" or whatever.
> > Rather, it seems like the task is to look to create contexts in which
> they
> > can realize themselves in ways that look like our much desired "socially
> > justified intrinsic motivation". The point is that motivation has
> > everything to do with the context, and I think that there is a real key
> > here.
> >
> > Everyone has examples of kids who appear in school to be lacking any
> > motivations other than "extrinsic" ones and yet these same students will
> > apply themselves in remarkably "intrinsic" ways in areas other than
> > schooling. As a quick example, I have a colleague, Jonathan Rosa (Umass
> > Amherst) who worked with some Mexican American high school kids in
> Chicago
> > when he was doing his dissertation research. He became particularly close
> > with one student who wasn't doing particularly well in school but who
> loved
> > Bolly-wood movies. He loved them so much that he kept notebooks of the
> > translations of the Urdu words that were provided on the screen so that
> he
> > basically had started making his English-Urdu dictionary.
> >
> > The point here is that we tend to think of individuals as the sole locus
> of
> > intervention. Much greater attention needs to be paid to the making of
> > contexts.
> >
> > This is already too long of a post, but just to be clear, I'm thinking
> > primarily of contexts in terms of the close-in contexts of learning and
> > living. Larger contexts (e.g., structures of socioeconomic systems and
> even
> > the larger economic system in which one lives) need changing too, but
> these
> > larger structures are much more intractable to change. In order to
> maximize
> > effects of intervention, it seems that this meso-genetic level is the
> place
> > to work - i.e. to the making of contexts.
> >
> > Just my thoughts.
> > -greg
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Sun, Aug 3, 2014 at 9:26 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Sure, I'll trade my but for your and, Larry.
> > > mike
> > >
> > >
> > > On Sun, Aug 3, 2014 at 7:03 PM, <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > >  Greg, Mike
> > > > The phrase
> > > >
> > > >  *justified* intrinsic motivation, a form of motivation that is
> > > > socio-culturally mediated BUT attributed to the person’s long term
> > > > characterological story of an intrinsically motivated person?
> > > >
> > > > I was wondering if we  change BUT to AND
> > > >
> > > > *justified* intrinsic motivation, a form of motivation that is
> > > > socio-culturally mediated AND attributed to the person’s long term
> > > > characterological story of an intrinsically motivated person?
> > > >
> > > > speaks to a particular *horizonal perspective* of a taken for granted
> > > > story of *character* formation through *bildung*?
> > > >
> > > >  Greg’s *generally acceptable* motivations the nature of which is
> > > > contingent on local culture and history.
> > > >
> > > > Greg brings in the value question of *more better* horizonal
> > > perspectives.
> > > > If we become  more explicitly conscious that our horizons are
> > > > socio-culturally generated then hopefully  this awareness will be
> > > > transformative.  The question I ask is
> > > >
> > > > *If we are successful in  making explicit the socio-cultural
> horizonal
> > > > nature of our understanding of being human, will this awakening
> > awareness
> > > > transform our socio-cultural relations with each other?
> > > >
> > > > Our *justifications* may always emerge within particular horizonal
> > > > interpretive formations.
> > > > Larry
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Sent from Windows Mail
> > > >
> > > > *From:* Gregory Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
> > > > *Sent:* ‎Sunday‎, ‎August‎ ‎3‎, ‎2014 ‎6‎:‎49‎ ‎PM
> > > > *To:* Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>, eXtended Mind, Culture,
> Activity
> > > > <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> > > > *Cc:* xmca-l@ucsd.edu
> > > >
> > > > Yes, Mike, I was thinking something like "socially justified and
> > > generally
> > > > acceptable" motivations, the nature of which is very much contingent
> on
> > > > local culture and history. Seems like all of it has
> extrinsic/intrinsic
> > > > aspects to it but some are just considered "more better" than others.
> > > >
> > > > And yes Cathrene, I agree. I think you caught that the object of my
> > > concern
> > > > was not John-Steiner and Hersh - they were just using a concept that
> I
> > > > myself frequently use. Your characterization of subcultures that
> > > cultivate
> > > > "inherent" (scare quotes are required, I think) worth of certain
> > > > accomplishments is right on. But it must be more than just
> subcultures
> > to
> > > > have such a powerful effect.
> > > >
> > > > Very importantly, I wonder, without fetishizing people who engage in
> > work
> > > > that is highly intrinsically rewarding, how are, for example, highly
> > > > trained athletes socialized into the catharsis (take note Andy!) of
> the
> > > > cognitive and affective variety that you mention?
> > > >
> > > > (and returning to Mike's question we might even wonder if some of
> these
> > > > endeavors, e.g. the Olympic athlete, are really socially justified
> and
> > > > generally acceptable? Isn't there a certain vanity and
> > self-centeredness
> > > > (socially "bad" traits!) here too?).
> > > >
> > > > Happy grading Cathrene! Hope you are feeling intrinsically motivated
> > (in
> > > > the proper, socially justified manner...).
> > > >
> > > > -greg
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On Sun, Aug 3, 2014 at 12:27 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > Maybe you could call it "justified" intrinsic motivation, a form of
> > > > > motivation that is socio-culturally mediated but attributed to the
> > > > > individual's long term characterological story of an intrinsically
> > > > > motivated person?
> > > > > mike
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > On Sun, Aug 3, 2014 at 10:52 AM, Cathrene Connery <
> > cconnery@ithaca.edu
> > > >
> > > > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > > Hi Greg:
> > > > > > I think you are onto something here, in light  of the fact that
> > many
> > > > > > dichotomies are false, especially when contextualized within the
> > > > > > sociocultural, historical-political complexity of human society.
> > > While
> > > > > > John-Steiner and Hersh were specifically talking about
> recognition
> > > and
> > > > > > motivation in this case, is also possible that the
> > > > > > scientist/artist/athelete or other thinkers-performers
> experience a
> > > > > > completely different and discipline-specific form of fulfillment
> > when
> > > > > > accomplishing that which has not be achieved before and /or
> > > witnessing
> > > > > such
> > > > > > big "C" (vs. little "c" creative events). The sense of
> fulfillment,
> > > in
> > > > > > these instances, is derived from a specialized subculture that
> > knows
> > > > the
> > > > > > inherent worth of the accomplishment (such as Olympic or
> > world-class
> > > > > > athletes). I suspect that these individuals experience a type of
> > > > > catharsis
> > > > > > that involves both cognitive and affective aspects as well as
> > > > > > aesthetic-functional dimensions. But, I have 60 papers to grade
> for
> > > > > summer
> > > > > > school, so it is time to get back to work.
> > > > > > Cathrene
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Dr. Cathrene Connery
> > > > > > Associate Professor of Education
> > > > > > Ithaca College
> > > > > > Department of Education
> > > > > > 194B Phillips Hall Annex
> > > > > > 953 Danby Road
> > > > > > Ithaca, New York 14850
> > > > > > Cconnery@ithaca.edu
> > > > > >
> > > > > > On Aug 3, 2014, at 12:25 PM, "Greg Thompson" <
> > > > greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
> > > > > > wrote:
> > > > > >
> > > > > > > While reading David Kirshner's review of Hersh and
> John-Steiner's
> > > > > Loving
> > > > > > > and Hating Math book, I cam across the following
> characterization
> > > of
> > > > > > > Gregory Perelman's decision to refuse to accept the Fields
> Medal
> > in
> > > > > light
> > > > > > > of the apparent fact that his work had been plagiarized by a
> > > Chinese
> > > > > > > scholar who had previously received the medal:
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > "“Everybody understood that if the proof is correct then no
> other
> > > > > > > recognition is needed” (p. 72), which Hersh and John-Steiner
> > > > interpret
> > > > > as
> > > > > > > “a beautiful example of intrinsic scientific motivation” (p.
> > 73)."
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Although this makes perfect sense to me and my understanding of
> > > > > > "intrinsic
> > > > > > > motivation" from an intuitive sense, I was nonetheless struck
> by
> > > the
> > > > > fact
> > > > > > > that in this case, it was an EXTERNAL recognition that is taken
> > to
> > > be
> > > > > > > "intrinsic".
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > On the one hand, in my intuitive sense of this psychological
> > terme
> > > > > d'arte
> > > > > > > (as well as my emic everyday sense of it - psychological termes
> > > d'art
> > > > > are
> > > > > > > part of everyday language about things like parenting and
> > > teaching!),
> > > > > it
> > > > > > > seems that the Hersh and John-Steiner quote IS pointing to
> > > intrinsic
> > > > > > > motivation.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > But, on the other hand, it also seems that the motivation in
> this
> > > > case
> > > > > is
> > > > > > > EXTRINSIC - the mathematician is seeking recognition of others
> > (or
> > > > > > perhaps
> > > > > > > even recognition by the "field of mathematics" - which some
> might
> > > to
> > > > > > > imagine to be a truth-conditional field that exists outside of
> > any
> > > > > > > community of mathematicians). Isn't this type of motivation
> > > "outside"
> > > > > of
> > > > > > > the individual?
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Conversely, isn't it also the case that the desire for medals
> and
> > > > > awards
> > > > > > > (e.g. the Fields Medal) or even other rewards (even
> > marshmallows!)
> > > > > could
> > > > > > be
> > > > > > > thought of as INTRINSIC as well? Don't these desires have to be
> > > > INSIDE
> > > > > > the
> > > > > > > person in order for the person to be motivated by them?
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Seems like all motivation is both extrinsic and intrinsic, no?
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > And I wonder if this may be connected to the quote that Mike
> > > > mentioned
> > > > > > from
> > > > > > > Luria that a person cannot control their behaviors any more
> than
> > a
> > > > > shadow
> > > > > > > can carry stones?
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Both seem to point to an ideology (myth) of individualism that
> is
> > > > > > prevalent
> > > > > > > among psychologists?
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > For those interested, here is a description of intrinsic and
> > > > extrinsic
> > > > > > > motivation:
> > > > > > > "Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by
> > internal
> > > > > > > rewards. In other words, the motivation to engage in a behavior
> > > > arises
> > > > > > from
> > > > > > > within the individual because it is intrinsically rewarding.
> This
> > > > > > contrasts
> > > > > > > with extrinsic motivation, which involves engaging in a
> behavior
> > in
> > > > > order
> > > > > > > to earn external rewards or avoid punishments."
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > -greg
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > --
> > > > > > > Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> > > > > > > Assistant Professor
> > > > > > > Department of Anthropology
> > > > > > > 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> > > > > > > Brigham Young University
> > > > > > > Provo, UT 84602
> > > > > > > http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > --
> > > > Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> > > > Assistant Professor
> > > > Department of Anthropology
> > > > 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> > > > Brigham Young University
> > > > Provo, UT 84602
> > > > http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> > > >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> > Assistant Professor
> > Department of Anthropology
> > 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> > Brigham Young University
> > Provo, UT 84602
> > http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> >
>
>
>
> --
>
> Maria Cristina Migliore, Ph.D.
>
> Senior Researcher
>
>
> IRES Istituto Ricerche Economico Sociali del Piemonte
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>
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>
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>
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-- 
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson