Author: Michael J. Apter
Abstract: Two main kinds of motivational change have been suggested in reversal theory: reversal and focal change. The latter, to which comparatively little attention has been paid so far, is about the relative importance of different motivational states and values in conscious experience at a given time and over time. If reversals are about value oppositionality, focal change is about value complementarity – about which states go together at a particular time and about how these combinations change over time. One kind of relationship between states arises when two focal states are active together at a given moment and one uses the other for its own purposes: in this respect, the first “assimilates” the second. Numerous examples are provided in this article, which state assimilates which state in such a pair can also change through “focal inversion”. It is also possible for opposites within a domain, such as telic and paratelic, to help each other over time such that both their values may be pursued successfully. These concepts raise new challenges for research on motivation and personality and extend the reach of its explanatory power.
Link to Article: 2015-v4-01-Apter