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September 15, 1958 - Image 100

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The Michigan Daily, 1958-09-15
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Ten-Year Research Project in Psychology Based
On Atkinson's New Conception of Motives as Urges
By Robert Junker

PROF. JOHN W. Atkinson of-the
psychology department is con-
tinuing work on humnan motivation
which started about 10 years ago
as one segment of the University's
psychology research program.
Prof. Atkinson's work, grouped
under studies in general psycholo-
gy, is, being undertaken with a
grant from the Ford Foundation.
Charles P. Smith of the same de-
partment, assistant to Prof. Atkin-
son on this project for the past
two years, explained the research'
is based on Prof. Atkinson's theory
that "motives are urges to obtain
certain kinds of goals or satisfac-
tions."
Thus a hunger motive, he said,
would be a desire for the satisfac-
tion that comes from eating. Be-
ing tested in this experiment are
the achievement motive-a striv-
ing for excellence of performance,
the affiliation motive-the indi-
vidual's desire to maintain and es-
tablish !relationships, and the fear.
sex, aggression and power mo-
tives.
SMITH REMARKED that meth-
ods of measuring these motives
are being tested. 'We are trying
to find the best way of measuringl
motives, and when. we are fairly,
certain of a measuring technique,
we use it to attempt to relate mo-
tives to behavior. We are also at-
tempting to determine how mo-
tives develop in people," he con-
tinued.
Some of the motive measuring
techniques being used in this ex-
periment are the story completion'
test, in which the subject is asked
to - complete a partially related
tale; a test where the subject

writes a story to fit a picture he
is shown; and a test where he
checks his preferences in a - list
of activities.
This study also analyzes
"doodles" made by the subject,'
and in another technique tests his
memory for interrupted tasks.
Smith explained ho'w this last
technique is used to measure mo-
tives.-The idea for this test came
from the phenomenon known as
the Zeigarnick effect. In European
restaurants, waiters handle several
tables and keep customer's checks"
in their memory; they do not keep
a written record of the cost of the
meal.
When, after a meal, a customer
asks the amount of- the check, the
waiter can tell him, but if you were
to approach this waiter after the
customer has paid and ask how
much that man's meal had cost,
the waiter probably wouldn't re-
member, Smith related.
This gave researchers the idea.
that as long as remembering the
cost of the meal was important to
the waiter, that is in enabling him
to do a good job, he remembered
it; when, however, this incentive
was removed by the man paying
the cheec, the waiter discarded
this information. The waiter
thought this information import-
ant until he had reached his goal,.
namely getting paid, and then he
no longer needed it, Smith ex-
plained.
HIS SAME memory device is
now used in the University psy-
chology laboratories to measure.
motives. In the lab, subjects are
given several simple tasks to per-
form in a half-hour period, for ex-
ample, building blocks.
Several times during this period
the subject will be interrupted
before he completes one of the
tasks. At the end of the period-the
. I I( Cr-r

l

subject is asked to recall as many
of the tasks, both completed and
incompleted, as he can.
The psychologist then looks at
the findings, especially at the re-
lationship of completed to incom-
pleted tasks which the subject re-
called. "The individual who re-,
members many incompleted tasks
would seem to be a person who has
a motive to do a good job, the
achievement motive," Smith ex-.
plained.
This, and other, areas of research
will be described in a forthcoming
book, Motives in Fantasy, Action
and Society," edited by Prof. At-
kinson.
NY RESEARCH in behavior,
Smith continued, leads to the
question of how motives originate.
To answer the question, "Do the
values of parents influence the
personality of their children?",
the researchers used groups o
parents and tested both parents
and children to determine the in-
fluence on the offspring.
The earlier the mother requires
the child to be'. self-reliant, to
choose his own friends or find his
own way around town, and the
extent to which she rewards him
for this, for example with affec-
tion, the better the chance that
the child will develop a strong mo-
tive to achieve, Smith commented.
WHEN A CHILD who has been
self - reliant to some degree
since early childhood grows older,
he will tend to want to work hard
at things. This is viewed as an en-
during personality characteristic,
Smith said.
Just how parents .train their
children. toward self-reliance is
being studied in a national survey,
and a similar study will be made
in Lebanon by Prof. E. Terry Pro-
thro, visiting professor in psychol-
ogy at the University.
"At present there is some.
evidence from questionnaires to
indicate that Jewish and Protes-
tant parents make' earlier inde-
pendence demands on their chil-
dren than do Catholic parents,;
Smith added.
"There are unexpected differ-
ences between men and women in
the results obtained in our attempt
to . measure the strength of the
achievement motive in individ-
uals," Smith continued. "hn fact

When an achievement motiva-
tion test is given to women they
tend to make higher scores. Social
approval seems to be seen as an
area for achievement for women
but not for men, he commented.
-Also under the heading of "gen-
eral psychology" may be listed
the work in learning theory which
Prof. James McConnell is pre-
sently doing.
PROF. McCONNELL is experi-
menting with planaria, a small
worm which possesses a bilateral,
synaptic nervous system. These
worms have the ability to learn at.
a very simple level, and Prof. Mc-
Connell is attempting to determine
where in the worm's nervous
system the learning process takes
place..
When planaria are surgically
divided into two or more complete
sections, they have the capacity to
regenerate into two or more com-
plete organisms.
The general plan which Prof.
McConnell plans to follow involves
testing these regenerated organ-
for retention of learning
given the original planaria before
surgical sectioning.
IN THE FIELD of personality and
clinical psychology, Prof. E.
Lowell Kelly, acting chairman of
the psychology department, is
directing a project which began
about 20 years ago.

in project , as aesVUigna Tolan
swer these questions: 1) What
variables (both physical and psy-
chological) are operative in the
selection of marriage partners?
2) What variables of the man and
woman individually, and what
patterns of variables of the pair
are predictive of marriage out-
comes? 3) What personality
changes in husbands and wives
occur during marriage?
AT THE START of the project,
300 couples were assessed with
a wide variety of techniques which
yielded several hundred pre-mar-
riage variables.
During the first five years of
marriage, follow-up' reports were
obtained annually for most sub-
jects, and in 1954-55 a,. definitive
follow-up was completed.
In the final follow-up which
Prof Kelly is using asudata for
his study, categorical outcomes of
each couple (broken engagement,
still married, death, divorce, etc.)
and fertility were determined for
all 300 couples.
In addition, a large portion of
the original subjects were re-as-
sessed with the original techniques
used and provided detailed reports
of their marriages.
Prof. Kelly and his research as-
sistants are presently engaged in
analyzing this collection of data,
and, because of the large number'
of variables and the complexity of
the relationships involved, except
that the analysis will require sev-
eral years to complete.

get rid of it. Back in my dormitory
days the housemother tried it, and
it turned out to be the farce of he
year. For the seyeral weeks that
the- Prohibition lasted, the cor-
ridors rang with cries of "Go take
a flying 5,' or "Oh 6 it all to 3."
THE OTHER alternative is to.
improve the situation. We may
divide profanitysinto two general
categories: everyday and Sunday-
go-to-meetin' swearing.
For everyday use it seems im-
perative to salvage the few old
terms that still show signs of life,,
and to discard the rest, replacing
them with a new profane lexicon.
The need for cursory emphasis
usually arises suddenly, and one
must have a reservoir of terms on
hand for immediate call to action.
Soon repeated usage will ex-
haust the magic of the new voca-'
bulary, so new innovations and old
burials must be made continuously,
much in. the manner of teenage
slang.'
UNDAY-GO-TO-MEETIN' pro-
fanity is for those. special oc-
casions when we need to express
our strongest emotions. C'est a
dire this is the real poetic art of
profanity. It need not be limited
to Sunday. It should be somewhat
of an extemporaneous oratorical
masterpiece: something new and
elaborate, with a touch of mystery.
Most important, it must be red-,
bloodedly twentieth century.
As we have seen, this is not a
new idea, but it must be brought
up to date. Burges Johnson point-.
ed out that even the early Greeks
had a way of inventing oaths as
they went along, "not because the'
old terms were worn out, but be-
cause they were not."
Since Americans have generally

.l

(Continued from Page 10)

given up the ghost of belief in
magical powers, we have to create
our own mystery in profanity. One
way of doing this is to draw upon
a vocabulary with which your
enemy is not well acquainted; yet
he should recognize what you're
saying enough to threaten his
tender libido.
The twentieth century American
culture of atomic power, tech-
nology and automation holds a
rich cache of untapped words that
can provide a distinctively modern
profanity.
IN THE Gelett Burgess novel Find
the Woman, one Dr. Hopbottom
assails an obstinate truck driver,
with a fine example of Sunday-go-
to-meetin' swearing: -
"What diacritical right has a
binominal exypendactile advous-
trous holoblastic rhizopod like you
got with'your trinoctial ustilagin-
bus Westphalian holocaust plock-
ing up the teleostean way anyway!.
If you give me anymore of your
lunarian, snortomaniac hyperbolic
pylorectomy, I'll skive you into a
megalopteric diameriferous auxo-
spore."
To which the truck driver meekly
replies: "I beg your humble par-
don. . . . I had no idea it was as,
bad as that."
Of course development of a
talent for swearing demands an
increased awareness of people and
the world around us, beyond the
help of Reader's Digest. The good
swearer must develop careful'
judgement of the proper occasion
to swear in the proper way.
Perhaps we can't all learn to
swear as well as King Lear, Cyra-
no de Bergerac, or Dr. Hopbottom,
but with a little effort, a little in-
dividuality, and a good deal of
imagination, profanity may "rise
again to become everyman's art.

(Continued from Page 9)
great quantity, but so are consum-
er goods (though almost entirely
inferior to their American coun-
terparts). A remarkable variety of
foodstuffs is displayed. Resorts
for children and the new stadium
in Moscow are shown in table
models. A complete display of the
latest Russian books, even includ-,
ing atlases, is available for visi-
tors to browse through.
The exhibit, of course, has
weaknesses. The quality; of con-
sumer'goods is one, and art is an-
other. Most of the Russian art is
of the sort usually found illus-
trating short stories in American
magazines, with the general
themes of peace and work pre-:
dominating.
Most of the work is uninspired;,
the major exception, is a statue,
~entitled "Beat the Swords into
Plowshares," which has strength
and feeling.
BEYOND these two giants stands
a third - France. The French
have by far the best art exhibit
at the Fair. The display is exclu-
sively 20th century. Besides the
great masters, it contains a sur-
prising variety of immediately
contemporary works -'of merit,
from every conceivable school. It
is better than many art museums,
The country also has a complete
book display, and sends schdlarly
French periodicals free of charge
to any visitor who requests them.

The colonies are included with
the mother country, and their dis-
plays are perhaps more interest-
ing than those of the latter to
the visitor unfamiliar with them.
The smaller nations appear to
be having the most fun at the
Fair. None has attempted to be
thorough, but all have hit the
high spots and hit them well.
The Arab States, for instance,
have two magnificent tile reliefs
on the walls of the lobby, one de-
picting a dominant characteristic
of each of the five countries
(Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia
and Jordan - the murals are a
year old), the other exhibiting the
three great religions born in the
Arab States (Judaism, Christian-
ity; and Islam).
The rest of the exhibit also has
real merit. Cloth-of-gold and
magnificent mosaics highlight
the Syrian. display, and Iraqt has
a table model of ancient Babylon
that earns high praise.
OTHER countries have shown
similar good sense. Holland,
for example, has taken advantage
of a natural slope on one side of
its pavilion to set up a dike, with
the' "ocean" (complete witha wave
machine) above, and an irrigated
field below. A windmill in the
field completes the exhibit which
is the most popular the Dutch
have.
Tunisia has an Oriental bazaar,
where handicrafts are sold to the
accompaniment of song-and-

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MAGAZINE
Monday, September 15, 1958

tr

Vol. V, No. 1

CONTENTS

tJe

37

tradition

RobertJunker is- r member
of The Daily editorial staff.

1

Motivation Theory Being Studied
By Robert Junker
Pursuing Peaceful Atoms
By Michael Kraft

Page Two

that 'is

tf

'I

-Page Three

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Page Five

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Page Eight

Profanity Re-examined
By Dale McGhee
MAGAZINE EDITOR--David Tarr

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..-Page Ten

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