In psychology, instrumental refers to behaviors that are aimed at achieving a specific goal or outcome. These behaviors are purposeful and are often motivated by external rewards such as praise, recognition, or financial compensation. Instrumental behaviors can be contrasted with expressive behaviors, which are aimed at expressing emotions, building relationships,, or fulfilling personal needs.
One example of instrumental behavior is studying for a test in order to achieve a good grade. The goal of the behavior is to achieve a specific outcome (a good grade) and the behavior is motivated by external rewards (such as praise from the teacher or parents). Similarly, working long hours at a job in order to earn a promotion or raise can also be considered instrumental behavior.
Another example of instrumental behavior is engaging in exercise or other physical activities in order to achieve a specific health or fitness goal. The behavior is purposeful and motivated by the desire to achieve a specific outcome, such as weight loss or improved physical health.
In addition to instrumental behavior, there are several related psychological concepts that are important for understanding motivation and goal attainment. One such concept is self-efficacy, which refers to an individual's belief in their ability to achieve a specific goal or outcome. Individuals with high self-efficacy are more likely to engage in instrumental behaviors and persist in the face of challenges or setbacks.
Another related concept is goal orientation, which refers to an individual's overall approach to goal setting and achievement. Individuals with a mastery orientation are focused on developing their skills and learning new things, while those with a performance orientation are focused on achieving specific outcomes or demonstrating their competence to others.
Finally, intrinsic motivation is another related concept that is important for understanding behavior and goal attainment. Intrinsic motivation refers to behaviors that are driven by internal rewards such as enjoyment, satisfaction, or personal fulfillment. Unlike instrumental behaviors, which are motivated by external rewards, intrinsic behaviors are motivated by internal factors and are often associated with greater creativity, persistence, and overall well-being.
In conclusion, instrumental behavior refers to behaviors that are aimed at achieving a specific goal or outcome and are often motivated by external rewards. Other related concepts that are important for understanding motivation and goal attainment include self-efficacy, goal orientation, and intrinsic motivation. By understanding these concepts, individuals can develop effective strategies for achieving their goals and maintaining their motivation over time.