THE PREFRONTAL LOBES: BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF INTRINSIC MOTIVATION
In the wholistic paradigm for teaching, emphasis is placed on learning and the learner's intrinsic motives for learning. An understanding of the learning process is based on the consideration of the learner from a wholistic perspective of the human organism as a social organism.
THE HUMAN ORGANISM The human organism is a social organism which belongs to the primate order of the human species - knowing man or 'homo sapiens'. One of the most striking features which differentiates homo sapiens from its ancestral species - upright man or 'homo erectus' is the high forehead. The high forehead of homo sapiens is associated with the development of the frontal lobes of the brain. Evolution of the frontal lobes must have occurred very fast in the Middle Pleistocene era.
HUMAN CHARACTERISTIC OF MOTIVATION REQUIRED FOR ADAPTATION AND SURVIVAL The frontal lobes play an important part in the development of balanced personality. Associated with development of the human personality, frontal lobe development is a function of the unique human capacity for 'motivation'. As a unique feature of human personality development, motivation is the characteristically human capacity to perform RED actions which produce delayed responses and rewards. Motivation is the expression of the capacity for initiative and sustained attention and concentration of one's attention on a goal. As a capacity related to causes of action and motives for behaviour, the human capacity for motivation is required for adaptive behaviour and for survival. It is the extreme front part of the frontal lobes - the prefontal lobes - which is responsible for motivation. Motivation is an intrinsic function of the development of the 'prefontal lobes' of the human brain.
The prefrontal lobes are responsible for initiative and the maintenance of the proper balance between actions and restraint - sustained attention and the resulting delayed responses and rewards. The proper functioning of the prefrontal lobes is the biological basis for the ability to concentrate for long periods on demanding tasks. It is the basis for the characteristically human ability for productivity or 'work'.
As a function of the development of the prefrontal lobes, motivation is a characteristically human capacity which is necessary for adaptive behaviour and survival of the human organism as a social organism. Human survival depends on the human capacity for motivation. Like any other biological organism, the human organism is intrinsically motivated for behaviour which is adaptive to its environment. The human organism as a social organism is similarly motivated for behaviour which is adaptive to its social environment. Adaptive behaviour depends on the accuracy of the individual's perception of the social environment and on the way in which the individual thinks about it. Accuracy of the individual's knowledge and understanding depends on the unconscious motivations and thought patterns. The individual's thought patterns determine the accuracy of evaluation which in turn determines the degree of adaptability of behaviour. Human survival depends on the capacity for adaptation to a changing social environment and social adaptability depends on the capacity for motivation and work.
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