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Quality of Motivation Theory (Martin, 1975) is an attempt at an objective theory based upon concepts which are defined in terms that are measurable. Nine major assumptions provide the means by which these concepts are built into theory. The crux of the theory is that positive and negative sources of motivation act in an orthogonal, yet interactive manner.

The four basic emotions (Ecstasy, Depression, Pain and Relief) can be represented on a hedonic cross showing the onset and offset of both positive and negative emotional stimuli. These emotions can occur from a Primary (Innate) stimulus or a Secondary (Learned) source.

Basic to utilization of these concepts is learning to recognize which of these emotional states is active. The cues which occur before these states also generate unique emotions (Lust, Care, Fear and Hope). Knowledge of these anticipatory emotions enables one to bring the occurrence (or non-occurrence) of the basic emotions under your control (response contingent).

It is posited that each of us has developed the eight skills that cause and prevent both positive and negative emotional states. Four of these skills (Attainment, Maintenance, Avoidance and Escape) help insure survival and well-being whereas high levels of the other four skills (Self-Defeatance, Self-Sabotage, Self-Punishment and Martyrance) can be maladaptive.

QM Theory has been shown to have a large amount of heuristic value. In addition to stimulating academic research the theory has been shown to have practical value in the private, human resources and corporate arenas.

Our most often used method of measuring these concepts in people is the Quality of Motivation Questionnaire 2011 (QMQ). This true/false questionnaire is computer scored and has been shown to be reliable and valid. It generates scores on 37 scales. Analysis of these basic scales produces a Power Motivation Profile which is both diagnostic and prescriptive in that strengths/challenges are revealed and specific recommendations are made regarding those areas where improvement should occur. There are more that 10 other assessments which focus on different scales and differentiate people in categories such as Stress/Anger, Dependency, Sales potential, Risk level for accidents, etc.  

One set of assumptions within the theory is relevant to the compatibility of people with different Power Motivation Profiles. Research has shown that we can predict differences in compatibility of such people and the Compatibility Assessments are being used in private, human services and corporate areas.