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November 1959

The Neurology of Motivation

AMA Arch Neurol. 1959;1(5):535-543. doi:10.1001/archneur.1959.03840050069010

The Nature of Motivation  "Behavior," as defined in Webster's, is the "mode of conducting oneself," and, as the word "oneself" denotes, includes activities of the total organism in relation to its environment. Now these activities, to constitute behavior, must be characteristically purposeful, goal-directed, or "motivated." To walk is not to behave, but to walk to a political meeting and to take a position on the issues is to behave. The purpose or goal determines the quality of the behavior. To shoot a gun, again, is not to behave, but to shoot a gun in war and to shoot it in murder, although quite the same in motor mechanism, are nevertheless vastly different kinds of behavior. I think we may agree that any biological science of behavior must therefore consider goals or motivation as the unique hallmark of behavior.For centuries the philosophy of science has been deterministic and has had

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