Introduction - Motivation, Emotion, and Stress

MCAT Behavioral Sciences Review - Kaplan Test Prep 2021–2022

Motivation, Emotion, and Stress

Chapter Profile


The content in this chapter should be relevant to about 6% of all questions about the behavioral sciences on the MCAT.

This chapter covers material from the following AAMC content categories:

6C: Responding to the world

7A: Individual influences on behavior

She has developed a heart condition, has suffered substantial bone density decreases, has esophageal and stomach ulcers, and has lost 25 percent of her body mass: she is affected by anorexia nervosa. As a career model, she has been put under extreme pressure in the workplace to look a certain way. Over time, this pressure motivated her to lose weight in an unhealthy manner. In her case, she was motivated by feelings of disgust and guilt that go directly against the body’s basic needs. A combination of stress from her job and peers, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and negative emotions resulted in what could be a life-threatening condition.

In this chapter, we’ll discuss motivation, emotion, and stress. We will look at factors that influence motivation, the components of emotion, and the stressors that lead to the stress response. We will also look at theories used to explain these processes and associated behaviors. The physiological, cognitive, and behavioral elements will be examined in order to understand the role that these topics play in everyday life. Exploring these ideas will enable us to tackle any question related to these concepts on Test Day.