A theory originally posited in the mid-20th century; attributed all behavioral motivation to the pleasure of meeting a biological need. Drive-reduction theory fell out of favor because it failed to explain situations where people choose a tension-producing over a tension-reducing action — in extreme sports, for example.

Example: Hunger is an unpleasant sensation which reminds us to eat food, an activity central to our survival.


    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Dec 2008