Motivation Evaluation

Motivation Evaluation
Motivation has three major viewpoints consisting of psychoanalytic, humanistic, and diversity (McAdams, 2009). Another approach to human motivations is Henry Murray’s theory. These views can help a person understand the motivations of others. In the case of Ted Bundy, using these viewpoints can help understand the reasons behind his motives for becoming a serial killer. Psychoanalytic view

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At an early age, Ted Bundy became interested in disturbing objects such as knives (bio. True Story, 2013). This was only the beginning however. As a teenager Bundy began looking through people’s windows and stealing (bio. True Story, 2013). In an interview before his death, he told psychologist James C. Dobson that pornography especially those that depicted violent sexual relations fueled his reasons (interview, January 23, 1989). This fits into Freud’s view that motivation comes from our sexual and aggressive urges (McAdams, 2009).

Humanistic view
Humanists believe that people’s motives stem from wanting to better themselves (McAdams, 2009). While Bundy’s murderous crimes do not convey a person who is trying to better their self his academic and social life does. After Bundy learned his sister was actually his mother and the devastating break up between him and his girlfriend he threw himself into his studies and graduated with honors (bio, 2013). Bundy also became a republican campaigner for the governor of Washington who wrote him a letter of recommendation for law school (bio. True Story, 2013).

Diversity view
The diversity view believes that people are motivated by a number of things (McAdams, 2009). The reason for Bundy’s rampage on killing women falls under the diversity view because pornography is not believed to be his only reason. While in college he fell in love with a woman who did not reciprocate the feelings he did (bio, 2013). His victims during his killing spree shared her physical characteristics; it is possible this heart break drove him to doing harm to women who resembled her (bio, 2013).

Henry Murray’s Theory
Another view of motivation comes from Henry Murray. He believes that a person’s motivation comes from time and its force includes needs, press, and thema (McAdams, 2009). Needs are constructs of the brain that deals with human thinking, perceiving, strivings, and feelings (McAdams, 2009). Press is, according to McAdams (2009) “various situational constraints and opportunities for need expression “(279). The repeated interaction between the two is called the thema (McAdams, 2009).

The psychoanalytic perspective believes that motivations come from our sexual and aggressive urges; the humanistic believes that these motives stem from wanting to better ourselves, and the diversity view states that there are numerous motives for individual actions (McAdams, 2009). Another view point is found from Henry Murray who discusses how a person’s needs motivate them. Ted Bundy was a serial killer who’s motives could be explained using each one of the viewpoints including how his ambitions to kill started and what could have possibly pushed him over his hypothetical ledge.


bio.. (2013). Ted Bundy Biography. Retrieved from

bio. True Story. (2013). Ted Bundy. biography. Retrieved from

McAdams, D. P. (2009). The person: An introduction to the science of personality psychology (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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