Motivation Syllabus

Fall, 2017
Dr. Travis Langley

Understanding Motivation and Emotion by Reeve


This course looks at why we do the things we do.  It examines the motives and drives that stimulate individuals to take action.  Topics of discussion include emotion, hunger, sex, aggression, love, and other appetites.


UNIT 1                        EXAM:
Chapters 1-5, especially 2 and 4

UNIT 2                        EXAM:
Chapters 6-10

UNIT 3                        EXAM:
Chapters 11-15



Each unit will conclude with a 40-item multiple choice exam covering lecture notes, assigned readings, and class discussion. Bring number 2 pencils for every test. If you have trouble erasing mistakes completely, just ask for a clean answer sheet. Any answer marked wrong due to an incomplete erasure is simply wrong. Bring your own Scantron answer sheet for each test.

On every test, put your name and ID number on the front of the answer sheet and on the back of your test. Follow instructions to put your test and answer sheet face down and in the right stack; otherwise the Scantron machine might grade the back of your answer sheet or grade it according to the wrong answer key.

There will be NO makeup tests, so don’t even ask unless you’ve missed two tests and can prove you had great reasons for both excused absences. As long as you do not miss any tests, your lowest test will be dropped, unless it is the final exam. If you do miss a regular test but have an excused absence, the missing test will be the one that gets dropped. Don’t miss the final; you can’t drop it.

If you arrange for a guest speaker of sufficient educational value to come to our class (or maybe for us to go to them), an extra A will be figured into your average, equal to one test.


Test questions range in difficulty to get an accurate idea of exactly how much you know and understand about the course material. I do not feel it is right to establish a curve based on the highest grade in the class, in which case only one score would determine everyone’s grade. The scale on the 40-point tests (although bonus credit makes them worth more than 40) is simply this:

A         35.1 –>
B         30.1 – 35.0
C         25.1 – 30.0
D         20.1 – 25.0

Your professor reserves the right to assign other values for these grade cutoffs. The professor also reserves the right to subtract any number of points from the grade of someone who disrupts class, or to assign a course grade of F to someone caught cheating. Anyone caught cheating will also be referred for University disciplinary measures.

Writing Across the Curriculum: The last question on every test except the final will be “What else did you learn from the current course material that was not otherwise covered by this test?” For that question, you will need to explain concepts in complete sentences, making certain that you are not simply copying the wording as it appears in the book. Convince me you understand.

There will be other essay questions to assess your understanding of material.


The strongest correlate with poor grades in any class is absenteeism. Poor attendance, therefore, punishes itself. Anyone who does not attend class at all during the first week will be dropped (because apparently they’re not really taking the class). The professor reserves the right to drop anyone for profound absenteeism. If you aren’t here when roll is taken, the reason does not matter. Do not tell me that you’re going to miss class or tell me why you missed after the fact. If you miss class, you are responsible for getting copies of the notes from fellow students.

Class participation, however, will be more likely to help your grade than signing a roll sheet.


If your phone rings or vibrates loudly enough for your professor to hear it during class, every ring is a classroom disruption and can cost you points. If it rings once, make sure it does not ring a second time.

Don’t use computers to take classroom notes. Sorry, but too many professors have run into problems with people distracting other students by sitting there surfing the Internet.

Do not text during class because that is distracting to others. If you need to be on your phone that badly, then you need to be somewhere else.

Your phone and other electronic devices must be OFF and OUT OF SIGHT during tests. You are responsible for making sure you cannot even see your phone during the test. If your phone, iPod, or anything else that could contain notes is visible, that will be treated as cheating because too many students use such things to cheat. I do not have to confirm what was on your phone or related item.

Stay off the computer. Stay off the phone.


The best way to contact your professor is via email at

If you do not normally use your email address, you MUST set it up to forward messages to you because if I have to email a message to the class, that’s where the system will send it. You are responsible for making certain you are set up to receive messages from your professor.


The activity grade is equal in value to a test. Part of the grade is based on class participation. Participation without monopolizing is valuable. Part of the grade will be based on completion of Internet assignments and other tasks throughout the term. Some will be online.


In groups of three or four, you will all make presentations before the class at some point during the semester.  Those who make their presentations earliest will be graded slightly more leniently.  Grades for the presentations will be based on quality of presentations, educational value, and amount of work reflected.  Each presentation will be worth 40 points, the same as a test.

Point value for presentations

A+     40               B+     35             C+     30           D+     25           F    10
A       38.3            B        33.3          C       28.3        D       23.3         0    0
A-      36.6            B-       31.6          C-     26.6        D-      21.6

Examples of possible group presentation topics:

age changes in motivation
anxiety disorders
body language
consumer behavior
eating disorders
Game of Thrones
limbic system
mating rituals
method acting (“What’s my motivation?”)
moral development
religious fanaticism
sex crimes
sex hormones:  androgens (esp. testosterone) & estrogens
sexual impulsivity (so-called “sex addiction”)
sexual dysfunctions
sexual deviances (paraphilias)
survival of the fittest

With any of these topics, make very certain you’ve chosen an aspect of it that is clearly relevant to the topic of motivation.

You’re welcome to choose topics not on this list, but double-check any other topic with your professor.


Students with disabilities:  Individuals who may need academic accommodation based on the impact of a documentable disability (e.g.: sensory, learning, psychological, medical, mobility) should contact the Disability Resource Center for assistance.  For more information, visit the DRC website at

The schedule and other details in this syllabus may be subject to revision.