question:Analyze one cognitive neuroscience approach to research motivation in the laboratory and one approach for a natural environment.

Motivation is something that has an explanation in just about every area of psychology. For example, in one article, the authors define multiple areas of psychology and their explanations for human motivation including behaviorist, hedonistic, cognitive, and humanistic. One thing I found that each of these has in common is the idea that the individual is intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. For example, in behaviorist theories, motivation is more extrinsic, meaning that the individual is motivated by outside or environmental factors. Theories such as the cognitive approaches state that the individual is motivated more intrinsically or internally.

In the cognitive approaches to motivation, studies will typically include using things such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in conjunction with a task such as a computer game or a puzzle such as a sudoku. The purpose of completing studies in this way is to identify the brain areas specific to the motivation process. For example, research has found that motivation has direct ties to the prefrontal cortex with a loop/connection to the basal ganglia (which also has implications for physical movement) (O’Reilly, 2020). One could also argue that testing or behavioral tasks such as the studies that B.F. Skinner completed with his rats could be replicated in a cognitive sense by attempting to understand the correlation between the avoidance behaviors associated with negative reinforcement, and the brain areas that are activated in the cognitive sense during the activity.

In a real-life sense, we know that cognition does not stop; cognition is a psychological and mental function that occurs on an almost constant basis. However, it is often tied back to behavior. For example, when someone gets out of a toxic, co-dependent, or narcissistic type relationship, they have a tendency to return to that same situation. However, after so many times of being let down, hurt, neglected, or gaslighted, the individual eventually learns to avoid such interactions. There is a cognitive avoidance component to this. It is difficult to say that this is purely a conditioned behavioral response because there is often cognitive training and damage done to the individual.

O’Reilly, C. (2020). Unraveling the mysteries of motivation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, (24)6. 425-434.

Shuman, R. B. (2023). Motivation (psychology). Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health