A model of two different types of human motivation – pragmatic and non-pragmatic – is proposed. The two have a common metatheoretical foundation in a rationalist world view. Within the rationalist framework, however, two opposing conceptions exist – humans as machines and humans as the causal source of their own behavior. Each of these conceptions dictates a particular research approach to the study of motivation. Pragmatic motivation, rooted in the human-as-machine tradition, typically manifests itself in the form of deviations from behavioral norms and is based in an individual’s primary needs; it is subject to modification through various forms of conditioning. Non-pragmatic motivation, rooted in a contrasting, agentive conception of human beings, typically manifests itself through normative behavior. It is mediated by characteristics such as moral self-esteem and empathy and can be fostered in children by means of a democratic style of social interaction. The model is illustrated by experimental studies of normative and deviating behavior in preschool-aged children in both the former Soviet Union and Western cultures.

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