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Motivation and crime-Fight-or-Flight Revisited- How Approach and Avoidance Motives Shape Behavior

Motivation and crime-Fight-or-Flight Revisited- How Approach and Avoidance Motives Shape Behavior.

Journal Summary

The first journal by Thielsch et al. (2020) examined how laypeople can be motivated when there is fire and the actions they can undertake when in such danger. It is also evident from this study that the researchers wanted to connect motivation and the act of fight or flight, which in this case is the decision by lay people to fight the fire or to run away from it. The researchers were also interested in gathering information on how these participants could respond to the fire. The study also examined how professional firefighters respond to abrupt fire when not on duty. The study revealed that lay people responded to fire by fighting, and those who knew how to fight fire responded well by putting off the fire. The challenge was that the laypeople made mistakes that placed them in danger. This study showed that in the event of trouble like fire, people respond with a fight, not a flight.

In the second study, by Ota (2018), the researcher considered the predation cost of fighting as a motivator to fight or fight in cases where an animal sees danger. In the study, another critical thing that was examined was how animals behave when there is danger from other species and when there is danger from similar species. The research showed that animals respond strongly and vigilantly when there is danger from similar species (Ota, 2018). This practice distracted them from sensing danger from other species, prompting them to flee if a threat from another species approached. In other words, the motivation of these animals to fight or fight depended on the type of danger they were facing and the factors occupying their attention at the time. This study shows that the decision to fight or to run away is present in all animals when faced with danger. However, the decision to fight or run away depends on other factors that act as motivation.

The Main Points in Connection to the Week’s Reading

One aspect that strikes in the article by Thielsch et al. (2020) is that there are external elements that influence a person’s decision to either engage in a fight or to engage in a flight. The external factors can be classified as extrinsic motivators, as seen in the works of Reeve (2018). Hence, in this experiment’s case, the extrinsic motivation was fire, and it is seen in the research that many people respond to danger by trying to fight it. However, this study also leaves one wondering whether another type of danger can lead to a different kind of response.

In the second study, Ota (2018) conducted research whose main idea is that the decision to fight or run away depends on the type of danger and what is preoccupying the animal’s mind. This idea connects well with the facts stated by Reeve (2018) that there is a connection between emotions and motivation. Suppose other factors carry away the animal’s feelings and preoccupy its mind. In that case, it is highly likely that the animal will act differently from what is expected in the face of danger. In this research, animals engaged in intense fights with their own kind when emotionally driven toward protecting their territories. This tendency made them less concerned about invasion from predators, and thus, they would run away instead of engaging firmly against an external intruder, as predicted by Ota (2018). This indicates that emotions play a crucial role in the motivation to fight or flee when there is danger.

Personal Thoughts

The first research has focused on an important area, especially now that fires are a common danger. Such a study can help understand people’s behavior when there is a fire, hence making the firefighters and concerned parties know exactly how to respond. The one thing that limited this research was that the experiment involved a burning pillow. In my opinion, this is a small fire, so it might explain why most participants responded by fighting it. However, in cases where the fire is big, like a burning house or forest, people may act differently. However, the study helped to support the ideas in the week’s reading and expound further on the same.

The second research depended mainly on animals, which gave an excellent observation of how animals behave when there is danger. The one thing that is clear is that animals often fight against a danger they are well aware of. In other words, the emotional state of familiarity with the threat creates the motivation to fight. This idea is very similar to what Reeve (2018) explains in Chapter Three about motivation and the emotional brain. Therefore, this study connected well with the course content. However, a reader might have a question about whether these findings can be generalized to people.


Ota K. (2018). Fight, fatigue, and flight: narrowing of attention to a threat compensates for decreased anti-predator vigilance. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 221(Pt 7), jeb168047.

Reeve, J. (2018). Understanding Motivation and Emotion. United States: John Wiley & Sons Incorporated.

Thielsch, M. T., Kirsch, J., Thölking, H., Tangelder, L., & Lamers, C. (2020). Fight or flight? Behavior and experiences of laypersons in the face of an incipient fire. Ergonomics, 64(2), 149-170.


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Motivation and crime
Using the South University Online Library, find two peer-reviewed journal articles on motivation in regards to avoidance and approach or the Flight-or-Fight response. In your synopsis, you will include:

Motivation and crime-Fight-or-Flight Revisited- How Approach and Avoidance Motives Shape Behavior

Motivation and crime-Fight-or-Flight Revisited- How Approach and Avoidance Motives Shape Behavior

A summary of each of the journal articles
The main points discussed in each of the journal articles and how they relate to the week’s course and text readings
Your thoughts and perspectives regarding the concepts covered in each of the journal articles

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