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100 word count each peer Tess Peer 1 The

100 word count each peer

Tess Peer 1

The cognitive processes involved in both relationships and work have always held special interest for me, probably because they are two things that take up most of our time in life. There are many theories floating around about relationships and what attracts two people. From soul mates to opposites attract, it seems like most people have some sort of preconceived notion about relationships and what makes them work or not work. The study by Buston & Emlen (2003) suggested that out of the possibilities of opposites attract, reproductive potentials attract, and likes attract, the preference for long-term partners was based on likes attract, meaning people tended to pick partners who were similar to themselves across a number of characteristics. Buston and Emlen (2003) had participants first rate the importance they placed on 10 attributes in a long-term partner and then had participants rate themselves on those same attributes. What was interesting was that people who rated themselves highly were found to be significantly more selective in their mate (Buston & Emlen, 2003). Thus, people of low self-perception have a harder time finding a satisfactory mate, because people of higher self-perceptions are typically seeking people on their same level (Buston & Emlen, 2003).

Building off that, Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields (2019) suggest that love has three basic components: 1) passion, 2) intimacy, and 3) commitment. In other words, there has to be physiological desire, a feeling that you can share all your thoughts with someone, and a willingness to stay with someone through both good and bad times for a relationship to be considered true love (Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields, 2019). I think it’s the combination of these two findings (that we go for people who are similar to us, and we have those three components) that solidify a romantic relationship and elevate it from dating to serious and potentially lifelong.

I also very much enjoyed the video from Dan Pink on motivation (2009). I find the concept of contingent motivation to be so interesting! It seems like it would be a no-brainer that if you incentivize someone, they will do something better, faster, or more creative. However, as Dan describes, the opposite has been shown time and time again in countless studies (Pink, 2009). He explained how rewards narrow our focus and concentrate our mind, and that’s why rewards 
can work in certain situations where the steps are laid out and there’s a clear path to the finish line and typically only one solution (Pink, 2009). However, many of the problems that we face don’t have parameters so clearly defined or any one solution. It takes creativity to be able to approach modern problems and think outside the box to come up with a solution. He goes on to talk about how autonomy, mastery, and purpose are the building blocks to authentic motivation, which has also been found to be true in multiple studies (Pink, 2009). Those three concepts play a large part in intrinsic motivators and rewards/punishments are extrinsic motivators. Intrinsic motivators almost always trump extrinsic motivators and should be implemented in more businesses, schools, and the like if we want to challenge people to think more creatively.



Buston, P. M., & Emlen, S. T. (2003). Cognitive processes underlying human mate choice: The relationship between self-perception and mate preference in Western society. 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
100(15), 8805–8810.

‌Cavanaugh, J. C., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2019). 
Adult development and aging (8th ed.). Cengage.

Pink, D. (2009). The puzzle of motivation [YouTube Video]. In 

Nathaniel Peer 2

Success in work is generally measured by productivity (Pink, 2009). The company’s, and thereby its employees’, ability to perform tasks, provide services, and accomplish industry-specific goals. Historically, these metrics have been incentivized by both positive extrinsic motivating factors such as pay, bonuses, and benefits and well as negative extrinsic motivating factors like punishments, timelines, and terminations (Pink, 2009). In his TED Talk, Dr. Dan Pink describes how research shows that these extrinsic motivators are useful in increasing productivity in tasks of repetitive mechanical skill (Pink, 2009). However, along with the evolution of society and technology, many of these mechanistic skill tasks and jobs have become a lesser percentage of modern-day jobs with the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, giving rise to a higher percentage of cognitive skill-based jobs (Pink, 2009). Current research shows that not only do extrinsic motivators not increase productivity in this realm, but actually inhibit it to a degree (Pink, 2009). Instead, Dr. Pink describes a greater need for intrinsic motivation, which is better able to inspire creativity and imagination, which are required for these types of jobs (Pink, 2009). Citing current practices by multiple companies, Dr. Pink shows how concepts such as FedEx Days, 20% Time, and Results Only Work Environments, increase employee autonomy, inspiration, purpose, and thereby productivity (Pink, 2009). This is an interesting concept which makes intrinsic sense to most people: we are more engaged in work we feel internally passionate about compared to work we are disengaged from but are required to do.

                With this newfound ideology on intrinsic motivation, we must ask ourselves: what is the best form of intrinsic motivation? This is where the synthesis of Dr. Pink’s work and Dr. Teresa Amabile’s work yield interesting revelations. Dr. Amabile dedicated her research to answering this exact question and found that the act of making simple progress towards a meaningful goal or work is the best intrinsic motivator (Amabile, 2011). She found that success and productivity are better measured through small steps taken towards an end goal instead of by the accomplishment of the end goal alone (Amabile, 2011). This also makes logical sense especially when viewed in the context of jobs that work on large projects. Naturally we cannot accomplish major goals every day due to time constraints and other variables. However, we can make some amount of progress towards that end goal every day and regardless of how small said progress is, it is a strong motivating factor to continue in the pursuit of the end goal. This is wholly applicable outside of the workforce as well. Take health and fitness as an example: someone who has a goal to lose 20 pounds will not be able to accomplish that task in a day, a week, or even a month. This can become, and usually is, highly depressing to those who are solely focused on the end-goal of their ideal body. Instead, if these individuals acknowledge their daily progress of getting exercise, their weekly progress of losing one pound, and monthly progress of losing four, they will have the motivation and understanding that the end goal is accomplishable in due time. As Dr. Amabile discussed, often we are afraid of making mistakes or faltering on our progress, which is highly detrimental to our overall motivation (Amabile, 2011). She suggests the solution to this is nurturing progress and being able to turn setbacks into positive learning experiences which contribute to our overall progress in other ways (Amabile, 2011). Whether in the workforce or our personal lives, mistakes are good because they help us learn what we did wrong so we can avoid them going forward. Taking this a step further, learning from mistakes and passing on the wisdom gained to others can help contribute to the betterment of our family, friends, and society as a whole.

                Overall, putting these two presentations together helped me understand the importance of intrinsic motivation and daily progress, the combination of which I would call discipline. Having this daily discipline helps to keep us on the right track of progress towards our end goals whether they be in work, relationships, or about our personal journeys. In my personal life I find that if I have made at least some measure of progress towards a goal that I feel good about my day and the opposite is true if I have made no progress. Being able to see the effects of Dr. Pink’s and Dr. Amabile’s research firsthand helps me to solidify their conclusions in my own life. I would argue that achieving success in these two realms of daily progress and intrinsic motivation are directly correlated to success in life and therefore overall life satisfaction, which could be measured by our ability to fulfill our goals and dreams.


Amabile, T. (2011). The progress principle [YouTube]. In 

Pink, D. (2009). The puzzle of motivation [YouTube]. In 
TED Talks.

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