Barry Schwartz is a world renowned American social psychologist. Schwartz is the Dorwen Cartwright professor of social theory and social action at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. He is also the author of many books, including The Social Mind: The Foundations of Self-Interest and Why We Do What We Do. Schwartz regularly publishes editorials for The New York Times using his studies in psychology to discuss current events. His writing has been featured on numerous media outlets, and he also writes articles for websites specializing in a variety of topics.
When I began learning about Barry Schwartz's work, I was intrigued by his academic credentials. However, I didn't know how well he could apply his theories to my own life. I decided to ask him what kind of impact his theories might have on my own situation.
Barry Schwartz's theoretical model of human motivation, based on cognitive processing theory, provides an important theoretical framework for many of his studies of motivation and personality. This framework is essential because it helps to explain the various patterns of behavior that we see every day. According to Schwartz, people are motivated to act in one of three ways. The first involves a need for “self-preservation”; people will do things for themselves rather than for others if they believe it is necessary to their survival. The second is called “social” motivation; people do things for others that are related to social interactions, including friendship and relationships.
In contrast to the social model, Schwartz believes that people are motivated by a need for “self-interest”. He uses two different models to describe self-interest: “systems thinking”utility thinking”. System thinking occurs when people rely on an internal source of guidance to make decisions that serve their self-interests. Utility thinking, on the other hand, involves relying on external information or cues. When people use their external sources for information, Schwartz argues that they use that information in a manner that benefits them. These two models are interdependent; a person who relies on internal cues is less likely to use external information than someone who relies on external cues. In order to fully understand Schwartz's model, it is important to distinguish between these two models.
According to Schwartz's models, it is important to note that there is a difference between the motivation that people have for themselves and the motivation that they have for others. Self-interest motivation usually stems from the need to live up to one's own standards. For example, a young woman may be motivated to join a sorority or an organization because she wants to fit in or to fit into the norms of society, but . . . . . . not because she has a desire to help her community. An older man may be motivated by the need to earn more money than the minimum wage because he needs to fulfill the family financial needs.
According to Barry Schwartz, the challenge facing psychologists is to figure out the relationship between systems thinking and social influence. He believes that people are not motivated by a desire to help others, but by the need to be taken seriously as a member of their group. This theory helps us understand why some people fail to act in a socially responsible fashion.