Motivation science is concerned with the nature and functions of wanting. It asks questions about what people want, how they try to get it, and what happens when they succeed or fail. By providing answers to these questions, motivation science bridges the gap between what people know and what they do.

Motivation scientists conduct research in four central areas:

  1. Preference and choice (attitudes, decision making, resource allocation, and strategic planning)
  2. Well-being (emotional, behavioral and physical problems, self-esteem, and quality of life)
  3. Achievement (learning, performance, and activity engagement)
  4. Social Influence  (socialization, communication and persuasion, and cooperation and conflict)

Research in these areas is conducted across many disciplines, including psychology, economics, sociology, political science, management, marketing, education, medicine, and law.