Motivation and emotions are two psychological aspects that are related in line with the realm of cause and effect. Motivation is a mental state that influences an individual’s behavior with regard to working towards achieving his/her desired goals. Emotion, on the other hand, is a feeling that results from the motivation or the actions driven by the motive (King). Although motivation and emotions are closely related, the two concepts bear some fundamental differences. In psychology, motivation is a drive that activates, directs, and energizes behavior while emotion is a subjective and conscious experience that is portrayed by the state of mind, physiological expressions, and biological reactions (King).
Emotion is somehow different from feelings because it is private to the individual and is directed towards certain subjects. However, the concept of emotions is used interchangeably with “affect” that expresses the response elicited from an individual such as gestures and facial expressions. According to psychologists, the resemblance between emotions and motivation arises from three arguments. Firstly, the excitation of motives and emotional motivation influences behavior. Secondly, motives often go hand in hand with emotions. Finally, emotions are defined by their motivation or cause (King). For instance, happiness makes someone perform better in their activities.
To sum up, various theories have been developed to explain how motivation is related to emotions by illustrating how people intend to pursue things that seem to bring satisfaction, happiness, or any form of positive effects. Therefore, it is clear that emotions are outcomes of a motivated behavior and they may be positive or negative depending on their cause. In light of this, it can be concluded that motivations lead to emotions, which then dictate a person’s behavior in the pursuance of a given goal.
King, Laura A. The Science of Psychology (1st Ed.). McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2014.