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Action theory concerned with theories about the processes causing intentional (willful) human bodily movements of more or less complex kind.

Basic action theory typically describes action as behavior caused by an agent in a particular situation. The agent?s desires and beliefs (e.g. my wanting a glass of water and believing the clear liquid in the cup in front of me is water) lead to bodily behavior (e.g. reaching over for the glass). In the simple theory, the desire and belief jointly cause the action. We should take the concept of intention as basic and not analyzable into beliefs and desires.


A reward, tangible or intangible, is presented after the occurrence of an action (i.e. behavior) with the intent to cause the behavior to occur again. This is done by associating positive meaning to the behavior. Studies show that if the person receives the reward immediately, the effect would be greater, and decreases as duration lengthens. Repetitive action-reward combination can cause the action to become habit.

Rewards can also be organized as extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic rewards are external to the person; for example, praise or money. Intrinsic rewards are internal to the person; for example, satisfaction or accomplishment.

Some authors distinguish between two forms of intrinsic motivation: one based on enjoyment, the other on obligation. In this context, obligation refers to motivation based on what an individual thinks ought to be done. For instance, a feeling of responsibility for a mission may lead to helping others beyond what is easily observable, rewarded, or fun.

A reinforcer is different from reward, in that reinforcement is intended to create a measured increase in the rate of a desirable behavior following the addition of something to the environment.


Are we free to make our own choices? To answer the question, we must first cut the fat off the widely used definition of choice. Defining choice in this situation can be a difficult task. A popular definition of choice could be a mental process through which an individual weighs the consequences of their actions to create an ideal image of their preference to the outcome of their actions. But, when you look at this definition, you see that it suggests that someone who fails to carefully analyze their actions doesn?t actually make choices. Can we assume by this definition that choices are free? We can say yes, because according to this definition, if we do carefully analyze our actions, we create the outcome that we choose.