Motivation and Performance
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleSOW-PSB2SP50E
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryB2 (Second year bachelor)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Social Sciences; Psychology;
PreviousNext 1
dr. P.K.C. van de Pol
Other course modules lecturer
dr. P.K.C. van de Pol
Other course modules lecturer
dr. P.K.C. van de Pol
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. P.K.C. van de Pol
Other course modules lecturer
drs. E. Scherps
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2023
KT-PER3  (29/01/2024 to 05/04/2024)
Starting block
Course mode
RemarksPositive BSA required
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Waiting listYes
Placement procedureThrough a weighted lottery system
ExplanationThrough a weighted lottery system
Upon completion of this course you will have insight into the fundamental processes and mechanisms that are responsible for the origin, maintenance and alteration of motivation. You will also have insight into how and when motivation does or does not lead to better performance.
You will be able to:
  1. Present an overview of the main theories and research findings related to motivational processes and the relationship between motivation and human performance (FQ 2.1, 2.2, 2.3).
  2. Critically analyse this knowledge, integrate it and use it to describe and explain motivational processes and human performance related to them, in a scientific manner (FQ 2.1, 2.2, 2.3).
  3. Transfer this knowledge to practical applications such as guiding and coaching people with motivation questions; improving the performance of people in teaching, work or sport situations; improving people’s self-regulation; and making effective use of rewards (FQ 2.6, 5.1).
  4. Systematically develop a motivational question of your choice in a presentation, using neurobiological, individual and/or social-cultural theoretical perspectives and providing a theoretically supported solution/ recommendation/intervention (FQ 6.3).
  5. Present a well-structured and convincing recommendation/intervention for your case. (FQ 5.4).
Why do people do the things they do? This question often comes up in both daily life and in science. If we can answer this question, we will be able to better predict and direct human behaviour. Motivation science searches for the causes of human behaviour. For this purpose, this field of science often uses the concepts of needs, rewards, and goals.

Our aim during this course is to help you to acquire a thorough knowledge of the field of motivation science. This theoretical knowledge lays the foundation for the ability to observe human behaviour in an analytical manner; we believe this is an important skill for an academically trained psychologist. In order to change a certain behaviour, you first need to understand what the cause of this behaviour is.

At the same time, we also find it very important for you to learn how to make yourself useful (and later in your career, indispensable) with the aid of this knowledge and these skills. Almost all institutions, such as governments and businesses, can profit greatly from a better understanding of human behaviour, and of human performance in particular. However, to make that difference, you need to be able to communicate your acquired scientific knowledge in a clear and persuasive manner, not just to colleagues in the field, but above all to those individuals who make the final decisions.

The course is subdivided into the following sub-themes:
1. An introduction to motivation; the role of Needs
2. Rewards    
3. Goals    
4. Self-Regulated Motivation
5. Deviant Behaviour and Motivation
6. Talent & Coaching

Exam information          
Examination of this course will be based on a Multiple-choice examination and a Presentation.

Multiple-choice examination
The multiple-choice exam consists of 42 multiple-choice questions, evenly distributed over all the course themes;  the exam covers all literature in the course manual and all material discussed in lectures.
The cut-off point is relative. This means that there will be corrected for both probability and difficulty, according to the standard formula as established by the School of Psychology.
The examination grade must be a ‘pass’: in other words, higher than 5.5.

The Presentation is scheduled in the last week of the course (week 7). The presentation needs to be a group presentation; you are expected to prepare and deliver this presentation in a group of 5 to your fellow students. The presentation needs to be an oral presentation with visual support via PowerPoint. Presentation time is 10 minutes, followed by a 5 minute discussion (answering questions from the audience).
The presentation must be based on a motivational problem/question. This topic is based on your own choice, but must be based on course content (literature and/or discussed lecture material). During the course there is a session scheduled to discuss, and receive feedback on, your (group’s) choice of the topic. The topic of the presentation needs to be approved by your teacher.    
Your presentation will be evaluated based on how the material is presented (format) and on what is presented (content).  The appraisal of your group presentation will also be your individual grade for this part, but under the condition that the above criteria (i.e., take an active part in the end product) are met. If you receive a failing grade for your presentation, you will have to participate in the retake-meeting for the presentations later in the semester. In that case, your maximum grade for these components is a 6.

Final appraisal
To pass the course, you must have a passing grade (i.e.,  >.5.5) for both components (Examination and Presentation; compensation between these parts is not possible), and the weighted average final grade must be higher than 5.5. The final grade will be rounded off to a decimal of .5.

Presumed foreknowledge
  • Psychology students who are admitted to the second year (B2)
  • The course may not be taken as a minor by students from other disciplines
  • The course cannot be taken as contract education.
Test information
Written exam with multiple choice and open answer questions.
Corethemes are admissible for Psychology students only. Further information: see Course enrolment in the General Information section.
Required materials
Scientific articles; this content will be announced before the start of the course

Instructional modes
Type of instructional modeLecture

Lectures with interactive elements

6 double lectures
1 presentation session

Peer feedback sessions
Attendance MandatoryYes

Presentation session
Attendance MandatoryYes
Type of instructional modePresentation

Multiple choice + open answer questions
Test weight80
Test typeDigital exam with CIRRUS
OpportunitiesBlock KT-PER3, Block KT-PER4

Test weight20
Test typePresentation
OpportunitiesBlock KT-PER3