Criterion for Functional Autonomy

In general, a present motive is functionally autonomous to the extent that it seeks new goals, meaning that the behavior will continue even as the

A person might begin running to lose weight but continue because running is enjoyable. The motive for continuing to run is then functionally autonomous from the motive for beginning to run.

motivation for it changes. For example, a child first learning to walk is motivated by some maturational drive, but later he may walk to increase mobility or to build self-confidence. Similarly, a scientist initially dedicated to finding answers to difficult problems may eventually gain more satisfaction from the search than from the solution. At that point, her motivation becomes functionally independent from her original motive of finding answers. She may then look for another area of inquiry even though the new field is somewhat different from the previous one. New problems may lead her to seek new goals and to set higher levels of aspiration.

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