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Previous research on Complex Problem Solving (CPS) has primarily focused on cognitive factors as outlined below. The current paper discusses the role of motivation during CPS and argues that motivation, emotion, and cognition interact and cannot be studied in an isolated manner. Motivation is the process that determines the energization and direction of behavior (Heckhausen, 1991).

Three motivation theories and their relation to CPS are examined: McClelland’s achievement motivation, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and Dörner’s needs as outlined in PSI-theory. We chose these three theories for several reasons. First, space forces us to be selective. Second, the three theories are among the most prominent motivational theories. Finally, they are need theories postulating severalmotivations and not just one. A thinking-aloud protocol is provided to illustrate the role of motivational and cognitive dynamics in CPS.


Originally published in Frontiers in Psychology May 2017

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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