How Emotions Motivate Human Behavior

Basic Emotions

Emotions are resultant feelings from failure or success of the desired goals. There are six basic emotions: fear, surprise, anger, happiness, disgust, and sadness.

Understanding how human behavior is connected to emotions is the best way of motivating human behavior. Many psychologists learn and understand such knowledge, which helps them to motivate various people to achieve particular goals in life.

Sadness is associated with punishment, fear and anger with stress, and happiness with reward.

How Emotions Motivate Human Behavior

Happiness is the greatest emotional motivator because it makes people behave in a particular manner they believe will result in happiness. For instance, when people associate health with happiness, they often work towards improving their health to live a happy life.

People often avoid companies that make them sad all the time, or they will start self-medicating to avoid the feeling. However, such actions often prolong and worsen the feeling.

Fear is a useful emotion, especially in a dangerous situation that threatens a person’s wellbeing. Some people seek out the experience of fear because a prolonged experience of fear reduces a person’s feeling of anxiety and fear.

People often avoid things that disgust them, like infection, rot, and poor hygiene. Sometimes they avoid companies that engage in distasteful or evil behaviors.

Angry people are often destructive in nature. However, there are people who use their anger to take action in pursuit of solutions to issues bothering them.

Surprised individuals fight or flee from the scene. For instance, when one opens a closet and finds a snake, their first reaction is to flee because one never expected the snake to be there. There are positive surprises that improve a person’s emotions, such as surprise birthday celebrations.

Startled individuals release adrenaline that prepares their body either for a fight or a flee response.

Personal Examples

The fear of failing my final exams is my great motivator for working hard and achieving academic success. Moreover, the happiness associated with succeeding academically also motivates me to work towards achieving the goal.

The basic emotions have helped me focus on my academic success and living a good life by avoiding certain people that try to revoke my emotion of anger.

I also consider my health to be a very important factor because it leads to happiness.


Cherry, K. (2019). The six types of basic emotions and their effect on human behavior. Very Well Mind, 4. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'How Emotions Motivate Human Behavior'. 6 January.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "How Emotions Motivate Human Behavior." January 6, 2023.

1. PsychologyWriting. "How Emotions Motivate Human Behavior." January 6, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "How Emotions Motivate Human Behavior." January 6, 2023.