Theories and Models


In John Holland’s Theory of Career Development, he pictured the structure where the personality of an individual would be compatible with specific environments. When the personality and the compatible environment match, then it can lead to a greater feeling of satisfaction and success.

There are 5 key points to consider when looking at this theory.

1. There are 6 different types of basic environments.
Holland created environments that he labeled as artistic, conventional, enterprising, investigative, realistic, and social. Work within these environments only needs to serve a specific purpose, so it can be paid or unpaid work. Even hobbies fit into these basic environments.

2. These basic environments match human personality types.
Holland makes the argument that the basic environments that are available for a career are the same basic personality types that people have.

3. People tend to work better together when their work environment and personality match.
When people with the same type of personality are matched together in a working environment that suits their needs, then they will work together to enhance that environment so that their output can be increased. Rewards are then based on exhibiting the personality traits that positively influence the career environment.

4. People search for a direct match.
If you have an artistic personality, then you are going to seek out a career option that offers an artistic work environment. Someone who focuses on realism would not naturally seek out a work environment which focuses on creativity because the two perspectives would clash.

5. Those who find a match are the most likely to be happy.
There is a greater chance of finding success or feeling satisfied when the work environment and the personality type are able to find a direct match.

This means how people feel or act when they are in a working environment will depend on the specific features of that environment. If there are similar personality types, then there is more comfort. If the personality types are not similar, then there will be more discomfort on a daily basis.

Does There Need to Be a Direct Match to Find Satisfaction?

In Holland’s Theory of Career Development, he recognizes that being able to choose an educational program or a working environment that is similar to an individuals’ personality would bring the greatest chances for success. He also recognized that there would be instances where a direct match may not be possible.

For this reason, Holland created a scoring profile that would help people be able to identify their core personality type and what other congruent matches may be available. The congruent matches are not as positive as a direct match, but they can still offer satisfaction.

  • Realistic personalities are compatible with conventional and investigative careers.
  • Investigative personalities are compatible with artistic and realistic careers.
  • Artistic personalities are compatible with investigative and social careers.
  • Social personalities are compatible with artistic and enterprising careers.
  • Enterprising personalities are compatible with conventional and social careers.
  • Conventional personalities are compatible with enterprising and realistic careers.

By recognizing these relationships, Holland observed that the available personalities and work environment options formed a hexagon. There would be different “pie slices” on each personality line where an individual would find themselves. Then based on the results, they could find a job that best suited their needs OR an employer could shift an employee into a position where they would be more productive.

What If Someone Has Inconsistent Personality Patterns?

Some people have personalities that combine in unique ways, creating what would be considered an inconsistent personality pattern in Holland’s Theory of Career Development. Someone might be social, for example, but also be realistic. In these circumstances, it becomes necessary to find a working environment where both personality patterns are able to be engaged in some way.

If one personality trait is emphasized more than the other, even if a working environment is a direct match for that trait, the individual will feel uncomfortable because they are not engaging their entire personality.

So for someone with social and realistic traits, a job that helps people in some way tends to be the most satisfying match. Think of careers in medicine, such as being an occupational therapist, or becoming a technical instructor in a preferred field, to satisfy both personality needs.

The fact is that each of us has a rather unique personality. When we can recognize this, then we can look for career options that will satisfy our basic needs so that we have the greatest chance to find success. This is the purpose of John Holland’s Theory of Career Development.


Originally developed by Clark Hull and then expanded upon by Ken Spence, the Drive Reduction Theory of Motivation was one of the first great efforts to explain how behaviors occur with individuals. In this theory, the reduction of drives is what creates motivation. It is much like how you feel thirsty after taking a long run. The reduction of fluids through sweat and consumption creates a need to have something to drink, so you make the decision to drink some water.

In current behavioral theory, the Drive Reduction Theory of Motivation is not considered to be the same dominant force as it was in the 1940s and the years immediately following. Yet there are still some influences from Hull’s theory and Spence’s after work that are in play today.

How the Drive Reduction Theory of Motivation Came About

Hull took ideas from a number of theories that were being promoted at the time, including components of Darwinism. He would then create the Drive Reduction Theory of Motivation around the idea of homeostasis.

Homeostasis is the idea that the human body will continually and actively work to maintain a certain level of biological equilibrium or balance. You have a specific body temperature as a warm-blooded mammal that helps you not be too cold, but also not be too hot. The body regulates this temperature without a conscious decision from you. If you get sick, then the temperature regulation allows for hotter temperatures to destroy invading germs.

And if you are out in the elements for too long, the outside cold can override the body’s internal temperature regulation to lower body temperature. Yet even then, through shivering, chattering, and other movement methods, the internal regulators of body temperature are continually trying to restore balance.

It is this concept which caused Hull to suggest that motivation could arise from factors that were very similar. There is a biological need to have a well-regulated body temperature. Hull theorized that all motivation could be a result of biological factors as well.

Any “drive” that an individual has would become a motivation that was developed through the reduction of needs. Even addiction could be included within this theory. As the amount of a drug or substance reduces within the body, there is a biological need to have more of it. Even though that need may be empowered by a psychological dependence on the substance, the motivation to continue with the addiction is a decision that is made through a powerful motivation.

Many of Our Decisions Are Based On Our Motivation

What happens when you wake up in the morning and it feels cold in your home? There’s a good chance that you’ll turn up the heat on your thermostat. You might also decide to delay getting up because you feel nice and warm underneath the covers on your bed. The reason why we make decisions like this is because we’re attempting to reduce the feelings of tension that arise when a drive has been effectively reduced in some way.

If you get hungry, then you’re going to find something to eat. When we can successfully restore biological functioning, then the decision becomes a learned behavior. We want to repeat the same thing over and over because we know it can meet our needs. This is how motivation develops. It’s also how addiction develops.

Say an individual goes down to their local pub because they feel emotionally terrible. They’re going through a divorce, their spouse has full custody of their kids, and today their boss just fired them. So they have a couple of drinks and the emotional pain begins to fade away. This motivates the individual to have a couple more drinks until the terrible emotions are forgotten. Although the feeling is temporary, the actions were successful.

This motivates the individual to return to the pub again the next day. And then the next day. Until there is a more powerful motivation that comes into play. Maybe the divorce proceedings get called off. Or maybe the individual finds a better-paying job. Without a stronger motivational factor, there is a good chance that a trip to the pub is in order.

What Happens If a Motivational Decision Cannot Be Fulfilled?

Using the example from the pub, let’s say our individual continues to remain lonely and unemployed. He’s been going to the pub every night for two weeks and coming home drunk every night. Tonight he wants to go to the pub again, but when he checks how much is in his checking account, there just isn’t enough money left for a night of drinking.

What happens now? In the Drive Reduction Theory of Motivation, this individual will still be motivated to meet his needs. There will be a substitution. Instead of going to the pub, a trip to buy a bottle of scotch at the local liquor store might fit into the budget instead. If there isn’t enough cash for that, a cheaper beverage might be chosen.

In the worst case scenario, this individual might be motivated to go begging for cash so they can meet the needs that are caused by their internal drive.

You could see this with a cold home as well. If you get up and turning up the thermostat doesn’t warm you up enough, you might decide to put on a sweater. You might decide to purchase a blanket you see while watching TV because that might meet your need. You could run down to the local store to purchase a space heater for immediate warmth.

Whenever we find a behavior that can reduce the drives that we have, then we will replicate that behavior time and time again. If that direct behavior cannot be replicated, then we will attempt to duplicate results with a substitute behavior instead.

What Does This Mean for Reinforcement and Conditioning?

If human behavior is caused by the need to reduce a drive, then the Drive Reduction Theory of Motivation would show that we are conditioned into certain choices because of the positive reinforcements that a drive reduction creates. You feel good because you got warm when you turned the thermostat up.

This also means that human behavior could potentially be influenced by using the same reinforcement and conditioning principles. When a living organism has their survival threatened in some way, they enter into a state of need where every other drive is ignored because the tension of the survival drive must be resolved. This means the behaviors of an individual could be artificially influenced if their survival drive was stimulated.

It is in this aspect that the Drive Reduction Theory of Motivation still has some sway within the scientific community. We see this influence between behavior and the tension of survival in many ways today.

We can often see it on Facebook and other social media sites. There are many people who felt that in the 2016 US Election, having Hillary Clinton elected would destroy their country. They may not have liked Donald Trump and perhaps wouldn’t have voted for him, but did so because the drive for survival outweighed any other drive.

And this drive influenced their behavior online. People who disagreed with the idea that Trump should be elected would be ignored, unfollowed, or unfriended. This is because a singular worldview was required in order for the survival drive to be reduced. Now that the election is over and the tension from a need to survive is lessened, other drives can be focused upon and those needs met, creating different behavioral responses.

The opposite is also true. Clinton supporters took to the streets to march after the election because their survival drive was suddenly reduced. Their behaviors were influenced by the same needs as the supporters of Trump were before the election took place. Until that drive can be reduced as well, the same pattern of ignoring, unfollowing, and unfriending will continue to take place.

Why Has the Drive Reduction Theory of Motivation Fallen Out of Favor?

The problem with Hull’s Drive Reduction Theory of Motivation is that it is fairly specific in design. There is a lack of generalization within the concepts of this idea. Yet his use of rigorous experimentation and the inclusion of other scientific methods to develop the theory have helped to expand the field of psychology in numerous ways.

The largest issue with this theory is that secondary reinforcements are not included. A secondary reinforcement does nothing to reduce a need. If you’re cold and you want to get warm, you need money to go buy a space heater. Money is a secondary reinforcement. It allows you to purchase the space heater, but you must turn on the space heater to become warm.

And sometimes we choose to engage in behaviors that do not reduce a drive, but increase it: like skydiving.

In order to fully understand behavior, we must take the full person into account, including their behaviors, attitudes, culture, and socioeconomic status. The Drive Reduction Theory of Motivation helped us to understand this concept for the first time.


The Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality is an idea that the personality of an individual will develop in a series of stages. Each stage is characterized by certain and very specific internal psychological conflicts. It is a theory that can be characterized by 4 key points.

1. Human behavior is the result of three component interactions.
Freud described these three internal components as being the id, the ego, and the superego. It is the conflict within their interactions that helps to develop personality.

2. Most of the conflicts are unconscious.
People are not aware of how their three internal components are in conflict with each other, despite the fact that this conflict shapes the mind in terms of personality and even behavior.

3. Sexual identification can influence this conflict.
Freud identified five different stages of psychosexual development which he believed would influence the outcomes of the conflicts occurring through the id, ego, and superego.

4. Social expectations and biological drives must be integrated.
As children develop, there are certain social expectations that are placed upon them. These expectations may be at odds with what their biological drive is telling them to do. How a child navigates through this process allows them to master their stages of development and this helps to provide the foundation of a mature personality.

Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality often comes under criticism because of its primary focus on individualized sexuality identification. This emphasis then led to an importance on the dreams that a person has, what the interpretation of that dream might be, and the defense mechanisms that an individual might use to protect their biological drive against societal expectations that are counter to them.

The 3 Elements of Personality Structure

The Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality is dependent on the definition of the three elements of personality structure. Freud identified each element in this manner.

ID: This part of a person’s personality is driven by an internal and basic drive. It is essentially a need for self-survival and replication. This means the needs of the id are based on instinct: thirst, hunger, or a desire to have sex would all be considered part of this element of personality. The decisions within this element are often impulsive.

EGO: This part of the personality is driven by reality. It is the balance between the instinctual form of personality and the moral form of personality. The ego, according to Freud, rationalizes the urges and instincts of the individual and separates what is real from the restrictions that societal groups place upon individuals.

SUPEREGO: This personality element is driven by morality principles. It is where people are able to connect with logic and other forms of higher thought or action. Instead of making a decision that is based on instinct, an individual engaged with their superego would make a judgment on write or wrong and use guilt or shame to encourage behaviors that are socially acceptable in themselves or in others.

The key to unlocking an individual’s personality is the development of the unconscious mind. This is where the true feelings, thoughts, or emotions of an individual happen to be. In order to understand these components of personality, it becomes necessary to access the unconscious mind. According to Freud, dreams would be the place where people could do such a thing.

What It Means to Get Stuck in Freud’s Theory

Freud’s ideas about individualized personality development are dependent on the progression of the individual. Freud believed that are different stages that occur based on how a person’s libido is focused on specific, but different body parts. In his order of progression, there is oral, anal, phallic, latency, and then genital.

Only if people are able to meet all of their needs through every other stage will they be able to meet at the genital stage with any available sexual energy. If needs are not met in the other stages, then that individual becomes fixated within that stage until their needs are met.

If a person were to be stuck, the unconscious mind may attempt to communicate this fact through the use of dreams. It may also come out in the form of a Freudian Slip, which would show evidence of the ego or superego not working properly. This, in turn, would affect an individual’s personality because no progression could be made until the communication from the unconscious mind was addressed.

Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality does have limits. Environmental impacts are not included despite evidence of its influence. There is no empirical data to support the theory, and culture and its influence are disregarded. Despite these limits, the approach does offer an explanation for certain defense mechanisms and why they are used, showing how individual personalities can develop over time.


David McClelland is one of the most cited psychologists of the 20th century thanks to ideas like his Acquired Needs Theory of Motivation. In this theory, McClelland proposed that the specific needs of every individual are actually acquired over time. These needs are also shaped by the experiences that each individual happens to have.

By separating these needs into three specific classifications, McClelland theorized, it would become possible to measure the effectiveness of an individual in specific job functions. This is because the activities, decisions, and output of each individual would be influenced by those three specific needs.

What Are the Three Needs of the Acquired Needs Theory of Motivation?

Sometimes McClelland’s theory is referred to as the Learned-Needs Theory or the Three Needs Theory because the classification of needs is central to the core ideas offered. Here are the three classifications that McClelland offers for consideration.

1. Achievement.
When an individual has a high need for achievement, then their desire to excel will cause them to avoid situations that are either high-risk or low-risk in nature. Low-risk situations would not provide an opportunity to move forward, while high-risk situations are often seen as an outcome of chance instead of skill. People with this need constantly evaluate risk and will make choices when there is a greater than 50% chance for success to be had.

2. Affiliation.
When an individual has a high need for affiliation, then they begin looking for relationships that provide their lives with balance and harmony. There is a direct desire to be accepted by other people and groups. Individuals with this need will typically conform to the social norms of the groups they prefer and want significant levels of social interaction.

3. Power.
There are two types of power which an individual may try to seek out: institutional or personal. Some may feel a need for one or the other, while others may seek out both forms of power. When an individual has a high need for power, then they want the ability to direct others. Institutional power needs also indicate a desire for organization, which makes them more effective as a supervisor because the goals are directed toward the needs of the company instead of their personal needs.

In order to identify what the personal needs of each individual happen to be, McClelland developed the Thematic Apperception Test. This tool helps to measure how a person’s individual needs at the moment of assessment fit into the three classifications that are offered by this theory. Individuals are presented with a series of pictures and asked to write a short story for each one.

The assumption is that each individual will project their own personal needs into each story that is written. This would allow for the stories to be examined to determine what that person’s needs happen to be.

What the Acquired Needs Theory of Motivation Means for Management

People who have different needs are going to require different forms of motivation. If someone has a need for affiliation, for example, then their greatest output will come from an environment where they can work with others as a team. If you were to place an individual with a high need for affiliation into a position that required a lot of alone time and individualized work, then they would be de-motivated and their output would suffer.

If someone were to have a high need for achievement, then assigning this person tasks that were challenging, be reachable, would allow them to have this need met. Motivation would occur through frequent feedback, which for this type of person, often involves extra money, benefits, or other “perks” of the job.

And if someone were to have a high need for power, they would be a potential candidate for a supervisory position. Power seekers should be evaluated to determine if the reasons behind their need are related to organizational desires or personal desires to make sure the best possible results can be achieved.

Can a Person’s Needs Change Over Time?

People change as they grow older. This is because they have new experiences from which they can draw upon. It’s been said that you “can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but that may be because there is no effort to meet the changing needs of the individual.

Sometimes people decide that they no longer seek out power and would rather have affiliation. Or achievement becomes less critical to the ability to have some level of power. By instituted proper training programs and using a tool like McClellands’s Acquired Needs Theory of Motivation, each person’s needs at the moment can be met more effectively and that will help to improve output levels.


By definition, “adroit” means to be skillful, smart, or clever in the use of one’s hands or mind. To have an adroit theory explained, therefore, one would need to be hands-on with their approach in taking measurements.

This approach is one that is often taken when training individuals to complete a specific task. There are also components of adroit theory in quantum physics and other theory postulation efforts as part of the effort to prove an idea. For the average person, however, adroit theory comes down to a world that is either macro-realism or micro-realism.

What Is Macro-Realism and Why Does It Matter?

Macro-realism is a method of training or scientific observation where there is an attempt to create a generalized feeling for what “might” happen. If you were training to respond to a life threatening situation, macro-realism training would have sights, sounds, and experiences that were similar to what the real thing would be like.

The goal is to replicate the conditions that resemble what could be encountered should the scenario become real.

When using macro-realism as a part of an attempt to prove a scientific theory, it becomes necessary to put real items into a simulation to see how they would react in that environment. If you were trying to see how the universe initially expanded from the generally accepted idea of the “Big Bang,” you would take the information you know and then add in the parts of the theory you are attempting to prove.

Macro-realism matters because instead of trying to get everything right, it attempts to predict what an outcome will be instead. By going hands-on with the approach, there is the possibility to see how a person (or a theory) will react when it is placed under pressure. This way, you can begin to see what potential outcomes there will be so that you can plan accordingly now for those potential outcomes.

What Is Micro-Realism and Why Does It Matter?

Micro-realism is the complete opposite of macro-realism. In a micro-realism environment, the scenarios must be absolutely specific to the expected environment that is expected. If a university were teaching medical students how to work in a hospital emergency room, micro-realism would demand that the students be taken to a duplicate ER with the same equipment that would be available to them.

Then these students would be asked to evaluate patients based on what the average emergency room would see over time. The idea here is that by showing a student what life is like, their vocational skills will improve because they are forced to use the logical centers of the mind.

Micro-realism is also an approach that can be used to work with various theories. This is the predictive aspect of what a theory can provide, which offers some level of credibility to it. If my theory predicts that there will be a lake found underneath the ice of Antarctica, then physical research and experimentation can prove or disprove the idea.

So here’s the difference: micro-realism is something that has predictive capabilities and an opportunity to be proven. Macro-realism is a general overview of the environment that offers credibility to that a specific idea can even exist.

Why Is the Adroit Theory Such an Important Part of Philosophy and Science?

In order for science, philosophy, or human thought in general to be taken seriously, there must be a critical approach that is maintained. We must continue to question our own objectivity, the macro-realism of the environments we create, and the micro-realism of the facts that we believe to exist. If this questioning process ever stops, it will create doubt within the ideas, theories, or concepts that we are attempting to prove.

This is one reason why there is so much doubt for the Creationism view of the Young Earth Model. Under Young Earth theory, the planet we live on is only 5,000-10,000 years old instead of millions or even billions of years. In order to create the macro-realism environment for this theory to exist, there is a requirement that the Book of Genesis be taken literally. In other words, God took six actual days, in a 24-hour period, to create the planet.

Then, on the micro-realism level, Young Earth theory generally rejects the idea of common ancestry. This means the facts which offer predictive capabilities of the theory include a literal Adam and Eve, an actual Garden of Eden, and an active supernatural being.

In comparison to the idea of creation, we could take a Darwinian approach. On the macro-level, the environment becomes a primordial soup. We have a place where the survival of the fittest will dictate how a species develops. If a mutation occurs that helps to make a species stronger and more adept, then it will duplicate itself. Over a long period of time, we come to our modern planet that is older than we know. It is a theory of common ancestry.

On the micro-realism level, we receive the process of how such an environment could be created. Cells are able to divide or life is formed through the creation of protein structures. It creates a predictive model that may or may not be able to prove the theory, but puts forth an opportunity where the theory could potentially be proven with more information.

In looking at both ideas through the idea of adroit theory, which offers the most opportunities to be hands-on with its study?

In Young Earth theory, the Bible becomes the primary source of idea development, which is a book that has been translated into 80,000 different versions – each one a little different. In Darwinism, there are scientific concepts which are offered that could be directly studied independently of any book.

Assumption Is What Destroys the Adroit Theory

Now there are many who will say, “Evolution can’t possibly be true,” and others will say, “Young Earth theory can’t possibly be true.” Why do individuals say these things? Because of their own personal experiences and observations.

If someone sees something miraculous happen by their own definition, then it lends credibility to the idea that their approach is correct. This is because they took a hands-on approach to their macro-realism environment and used it to observe direct micro-realism facts.

This is why being just as strict with adroit theory applications to philosophy or religion as we are in science is incredibly important. Taking a Darwinian approach to the world view, whether it is right or wrong, puts everyone onto the same common starting ground. It allows each person to go hands-on with their own observations to predict what an outcome will be.

There may be different outcomes or ideas, just as one medical student reacts differently in an emergency room situation as the other, but the general purpose of the macro-environment remains the same: to increase knowledge.

When we look at what are often considered to be facts in religion or philosophy, what we’re really looking at is an assumption of fact being treated as something that has already been proven. In Young Earth theory, the entire concept relies on how the Hebrew word yom is interpreted. Yom literally means “day.”

And there are places in the Bible where a single yom is compared to long periods of time. Even in the Book of Genesis, “day” is used as a definition for the entire period of creation. This means it is up to an individual’s personal interpretation of this single word to determine what their ideas regarding the creation of the planet and the universe happen to be.

Why Adroit Theory Must Be Applied Before Anything Else

People will interpret facts based on the conclusions that they have drawn for themselves, even if those conclusions can be proven wrong. Ask a Young Earth theorist and a Darwinian theorist to look at the same geological record and you’ll likely get two very different answers. Even though the micro-realism is very real and verifiable to both individuals (after all, there are rocks right in front of both people in this example), the final meaning will be very different based on the concepts that were formed from their thoughts regarding micro-realism.

This is why the adroit theory explained in this way offers one simple solution: investigate matters on a personal level. Maybe the macro-environments are not as real as they seem to be. Maybe the micro-realism concepts that are being offered are not observable or predictable in some way.

By questioning everything, we can develop our logic centers in such a way where our personal assumptions can be set aside.

If there is an emergency situation, you don’t want someone getting scared, shutting down, or refusing to do their job. You want them acting on their instincts that have been developed through hands-on training. When we can apply this to the worlds of science, philosophy, and religion, we may not have much common ground between individuals due to our different personal experiences.

What we will have is common ground in order to explore each idea with a hands-on approach.


Did you know that there could be a crazy secret truth behind many of the cartoons that you or your children enjoy on a regular basis? One of those cartoons that may have such a secret is The Fairly Oddparents.

The story first premiered in September 1998 as an Oh Yeah cartoon. It introduced us to the characters of Timmy Turner, Cosmo, Wanda, Timmy’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Turner, and Vicky. From 1998-2001, there were ten cartoon shorts of 7.5 minutes each that aired until it was picked up as a regular television series in 2001.

At the beginning of the show, during the first episode, Timmy Turner is in his room. There is no fish bowl and no fairies. It’s just him and his life. Then Timmy’s dad comes into the room and says, “It’s time for your morning beating.” The scene fades to black as Timmy is screaming in the background.

Then the next scene comes to light and Timmy has multiple injuries, including his arm being bent in the wrong way. Vicky, the babysitter, is told to finish the job because the parents were too tired to do anything else about Timmy. So Vicky slams the door, pulls out a sledgehammer, and decks Timmy with it.

In the next transition, we then see Timmy waking up in his room. He is no longer injured and there are two floating fairies in there with him. They introduce themselves, Cosmo and Wanda of course, and they tell Timmy that they are his fairly godparents. If humans come into Timmy’s room, they’ll just turn into goldfish and stay in their fishbowl. This allows Timmy to wish for whatever he wants.

How the Fairly Oddparents Theory Explains Timmy

Timmy first wishes for friends, which introduces us to Chester and AJ. Then, after a moment, Timmy also wishes to know why his parents hate him so much. Wanda doesn’t want to grant the wish, but Cosmo immediately does so. We see Timmy’s parents shopping for dresses and pink stuff everywhere. They had wanted a girl, but had a boy, and didn’t want to replace the girl things with the boy things.

So the parents wind up treating Timmy as a girl. Except this causes the parents to believe that Timmy isn’t a “real boy” in terms of orientation, which causes his parents to believe they failed in some way. When Mr. Crocker is revealed to be a child molester, this just reinforces the idea that Timmy “isn’t right” because it must be his fault for some reason.

Then Timmy hears his parents begin to call his name. Wanda and Cosmo disappear and Timmy wakes up in his room. There’s no fishbowl in there at all. We see the time on the clock and are reminded of what is about to happen to Timmy once again. He asks where his new friends he wished for happen to be.

His mother tells Timmy that she doesn’t know what he is talking about. “You just got out of the hospital last week,” she tells him.

What This Means for the Entire TV Series

This means that the entire series are just the dreams that Timmy has while he is unconscious while being treated for his injuries. Although the thought is a bit gruesome, it is also a direct examination of how some parents treat their children today. Personal bias and bigotry, especially toward children who identify as being LGBTQIA+, has caused a tremendous amount of suffering that often passes without discussion.

Even the perception of being not being “normal” is enough for some parents to become violent or abusive in other ways. When this occurs, what happens to the child? In The Fairly Oddparents, we see that Timmy creates a dream world for himself where he can feel safe. Each future episode that occurs within this dream world is just another examination of the way Timmy wishes his life could be in some way.

In other words, each child facing an abusive situation may create for themselves a fantasy reality to cope with their actual reality.

Now here’s the problem with this theory: It’s fan fiction. The opening scene has Timmy’s parents leaving him with Vicky as the babysitter. Vicky makes him do all the chores and then she eats all the pizza. Timmy asks his Magic 8 ball when his parents will be back, is disappointed by the answer, and throws it against the wall.

And that’s how we really get introduced to Wanda and Cosmo.


John S. Adams developed the idea of equity theory in 1963. In its basic form, the equity theory of motivation implies that each individual is motivated by the concept of “fairness.” If there are unequal levels of input or output, either internally or within an observed group, then adjustments are made to create more fairness and equity to that situation.

This means an individual who feels that their environment is fair will be motivated to be productive. For individuals who feel that their environment is unfair, then they will be de-motivated to be productive.

One of the classic equity theory of motivation examples to look at is how employees are compensated for the same job duties. In the United States, women average about 80 cents on the dollar in salary for every $1 that men make will performing the exact same job tasks. Now in some jobs, the rate of pay is equitable, while in others, women may only make 58 cents for the same $1 a man earns.

Women can rightfully say that, on average, they earn less than men when it comes to their employment as a gender. This might cause some women to say, “A man gets paid much more than I do, but doesn’t get the same amount of work done,” or something like, “I get paid less than a man, but without me, this place would be nothing.”

These statements are a reflection of the internal values of fairness that are being experienced. This reflection then acts as a de-motivation process.

Equity Theory and How It Applies to Referent Groups

What is a referent group? In equity theory, it is a selection of people to whom an individual relates. They will use this group of people that they know to compare themselves to the rest of a general population. If you have a credit examiner who compares themselves to other credit examiners in their office, then the referent group would be the rest of the staff.

Using the equity theory of motivation as a guide, there are four basic groups that people will use for this identification process.

  • Inside Self. This group uses an individual’s own experiences within a current organizational group.
  • Outside Self. This group uses personal experiences that come from a similar situation that occurred to the individual in the past.
  • Inside Others. This group involves other people who have similar ideas, thoughts, interests, or actions within the same organization as the individual.
  • Outside Others. This group involves other people who have similar ideas, thoughts, interests, or actions, but occurs outside of the organization where an individual identifies themselves.

When we look at equity theory of motivation examples, money tends to be the most popular comparison point. Money, however, is just one way to measure the ratios of input and output.

Imagine that the credit processor earns the same amount of pay per hour as everyone else in the office. On any given day, they might be able to average the processing of 100 different applications. The person next to them might be able to average 50 applications. The office as a whole might be able to process an average of 75 applications per person.

Using the equity theory of motivation, those employees who process 76 or more applications each day are going to feel like they aren’t getting paid enough compared to those who process 74 applications or less. The person who does the most work will feel that it is unfair that they earn the same amount of money as the person who does the least amount of work.

The highly productive worker will then become de-motivated to continue at their high output levels. On the other hand, the least productive worker will be highly motivated to keep coming to work because they don’t have to work as hard to earn their paycheck. By using the comparative process, the highly productive workers will reduce their output to balance out what their input is telling them to do.

Why Recognizing Equity Theory Is So Important

Equity theory of motivation examples occur in our lives every day. Couples use it to balance out how much house work each person does. Co-workers use it to measure their total value and to determine what levels of output they should achieve. Whenever we identify ourselves with a specific group of people, we compare ourselves to other groups or other individuals within our group because we are seeking balance.

In other words, we’re not trying to keep up with the Jones’. We’re trying to stay equal with them.


In 1963, Erving Goffman published Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. It is an examination of how an individual protects their personal identify if they depart from an approved standard of conduct, behavior, or appearance. It is essentially a way for people to manage an impression of themselves.

For most people, the primary method used to avoid stigma is concealment.

This is because the perception of a stigma will often result in shame. There is a personal disappointment in an inability to meet the standards that other people or society in general has set for them. There is also a fear of being discredited, which causes an individual to conceal whatever shortcomings they feel that they have.

Think of a person with a criminal record. They might withhold this information when meeting someone new to prevent being judged off of the record instead of who they are as a person.

This is expanded upon in an essay by Goffman called “Face Work,” which was published in Interaction Ritual and originally written in 1955. When combined, Goffman notes that there are three types of symbolic imagery which influence how individuals may think, act, or react. These are stigma symbols, prestige symbols, and what Goffman calls “disidentifiers.”

How Face and Stigma Theory Is Applied

Goffman offers the idea that the interactions people have with one another on a daily basis are like a theatrical performance. This is especially true when two strangers encounter one another. Each person has the goal of controlling the first impression that the other individual has of them. They will guide this impression by withholding information, altering their own setting, or even changing their appearance and mannerisms to create the desired result.

The performance is likened to what happens on a theatrical stage because there are two elements: what is provided to the audience and what occurs backstage. This creates a dual role for each person.

  • For the onstage performance, an individual becomes the person they feel an individual wants them to be or what society demands of them. It is what occurs through social interactions and results in positive self-concepts when the desired first impression is offered and then successfully received.
  • For the backstage performance, there doesn’t actually need to be a performance. It is a place that is hidden and private, allowing individuals the opportunity to drop the role or identity that they offer to the world. There is no longer a need to follow the demands that society offers here.

At the same time this face-to-face “performance” is happening, the individual attempting to garner an accurate first impression of the individual is working to obtain more information from them.

Goffman notes that he believes this practice is performed because it offers both people an opportunity to avoid embarrassment. This is because society is a living, breathing entity. Every person feels the need to act differently in changing situations.

Where Does an Individual Prefer to Find Action?

The vehicle which drives face-to-face interactions and stigma avoidance in the face and stigma theory is action. People are drawn to social spaces where an action they prefer takes place. It is, in a sense, the way they “worship” what the world has to offer.

Worship is often associated with religion, but an individual can worship sports, gambling, or taking physical risks just as much as they can worship a deity. This is the action which will ultimately define the performance that an individual offers to others.

Someone trying to gain acceptance at church might withhold the fact that they cheated on their spouse. An individual wanting acceptance through gambling might risk more money, buy drinks for others, or become extroverted when they’re really an introvert.

The goal is to earn respect through the acceptance of the performance. The “true” self is set aside so that the face-to-face encounters can create a different reality. In return, individuals are able to control the fine details and the major events of their life without being exposed to an overt amount of shame in the process.

Avoiding stigmas is a natural process that we all take on in some way. It often occurs in our face-to-face encounters, but we also see it occur on social media, in our correspondence, and other interactive aspects of life. We do this because we want people to think a certain away about who we are and what we do. When these actions are taken, we are implementing Erving Goffman’s face and stigma theory.


How do adults stay happy as they get older? According to the activity theory of aging, older adults who remain active and are able to maintain their social interactions find the highest degrees of happiness in their lives.

First developed by Robert Havighurst in 1961, the theory proposes that older adults maintain an optimal aging rate when they are able to continue pursuing activities and relationships which interest them. It assumes that there is a positive relationship between one’s overall satisfaction and their ability to participate in activities.

How Does the Activity Theory of Aging Work?

When an individual is able to engage in a full day of activities, then they are able to perceive a personal level of productivity. This, in turn, allows this person to age in a successful way.

To put it another way: the more you’re able to do as you get older, then the better your body will be aging.

We can see this theory in practical ways almost every day. Most people who continue to be active and engaged in their community in some way are typically happier and healthier than those who are not. This is because there is a connection between the person and the world around them.

And although this theory applies to older adults, it really is applicable to anyone of any age. With engagement comes happiness.

Who Was Robert Havighurst?

Robert Havighurst was born in Wisconsin in 1900. He would earn his PhD in Chemistry from Ohio State in 1924 and became a Fulbright Scholar in 1953-1954. Over his career, he would publish numerous papers regarding his studies on the structure of the atom. He would even become a post-doctorate fellow at Harvard to study atomic structure.

At the age of 28, he decided to make a career change and began to work in the field of experimental education. In just 12 years, he would become a professor at the University of Chicago in their education department and would sit on the Committee of Human Development. His focus tended to be in the field of aging.

Havighurst would identify six major stages of human life, with “later maturity” occurring at the age of 60 and older. With the stages of life identified, he was able to create developmental tasks that would help to further the satisfaction of age at each stage. Tasks that came from maturation, personal values, and alleviate the pressures of society were all deemed to be beneficial.

It is from this that the activity theory of aging originated. It is reflected in this quote from him: “The two basic principle processes of education are knowing and valuing.”

This is why there is some criticism of Havighurst’s theory. He recognized that education became valuable through knowledge and value of that knowledge, yet created a theory for aging that was essentially based on only choosing to perform an activity.

When the educational processes and the activity theory of aging are combined, the theory of aging that Havighurst presents becomes much more meaningful.

What Are the Critiques of the Active Theory of Aging?

The primary critique of Havighurst’s theory is that it overlooks inequality. Not every aging adult has the same health status. There may be economic factors which inhibit an individual’s ability to pursue relationships or engage in preferred activities. Some older adults may also derive satisfaction from their ability to no longer pursue a new challenge.

The theory also states that “being busy” can be just as helpful as pursuing something that you are passionate about. If you can hop onto a stationary bike and ride 10 miles, that’s about as good as playing a round of golf. There needs to be something fulfilling about the activities which are being performed instead of simply performing an activity.

There is also the issue to considered when it comes to life maintenance. Imagine being a prolific writer for more than 40 years for an employer. When you retire, you no longer have the means to publish on your own. Taking up another activity, like photography, will not be as satisfying, especially if there was a great love for writing. This means that the active theory of aging could be more accurate if it looked at the whole of a person’s life instead of only during the elder years.

The activity theory of aging is just one way to look at how we can age successfully. By continuing habits, relationships, and taking advantage of lifestyle opportunities, it may be possible to age gracefully in the best possible way.


When discussing the theory of evolution, it is Charles Darwin who often comes to mind first. Darwinism is often promoted as the primary evolutionary theory, but it isn’t the only theory of evolution that exists.

Charles Lyell also offered a theory of evolution, some of which was based on his friend Darwin’s observations. What made Lyell’s theory unique was the fact that he is recognized as one of the first to believe that Earth could be more than 300 million years old. He made this decision based on geological anomalies that he observed.

How Lyell Became Introduced to the Theory of Evolution

In 1827, Lyell receive a copy of a publication from Jean Baptiste Lamarck, an early proposer of evolutionary theory. Although he agreed with Lamarck that the planet was probably older than anyone had previously thought, he disagreed with the idea that mutations were one of the main causes of evolutionism.

These thoughts led Lyell to write Principles. In it, he proposed that there were new species that had been created on our planet through natural methods.

When Darwin embarked on his famous Beagle survey expedition, one of the items that he took along was Lyell’s publication. Some of Lyell’s ideas about the geological composition of the planet and how that related to its actual age were supported by Darwin’s findings. This drew the two men together, especially since there was a desire to square up their religious beliefs with their religious findings.

For Lyell in particular, the idea that natural selection was the primary evolutionary force at work was a difficult idea to accept. Nevertheless, he became instrumental in arranging for the publication of the theory of natural selection. For Darwin’s theory, he relied on Lyell’s observations regarding stratigraphy so that the concept of “geologic time” was supported.

Lyell and His Equivocal Acceptance of Natural Selection

It is the tenth edition of Principles that is often looked at when examining Lyell’s theory of evolution. In this edition, entitled “The Antiquity of Man,” Lyell suggested that Darwin’s theories were a modification of Larmarck’s ideas about evolution. He also suggested that the “gulf” between men and animals remained a “profound mystery.”

Darwin disagreed with the observations, yet the impact on the field of science through Lyell’s observations could not be discounted.

Through his geological surveys, Lyell helped to form the concepts of how a society could identify natural resources. His work to understand earthquakes went beyond their destructive power to look at the actual cause of them and the evidence of fissures of faults.

Lyell also focused on volcanoes and theorized that there was an up-building process at work instead of a general upheaval action, which at the time was supported by most geologists.

It was his work in the field of stratigraphy that would help him influence evolution, however, as he looked at how fossils and shells were placed within the rock layers, or strata, in the ground. Lyell concluded that by categorizing the number of marine shells within a specific layer of rock, a picture of the planet at the time of formation could be created.

Lyell was the first to suggest that the Tertiary period should be divided into three parts instead of being taken as a whole. He also renamed the periods, which we now call eras, to the names that are generally accepted today in all of science: Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic.

Glaciers and Their Impact on the Theory of Evolution

Lyell proposed the idea that an iceberg could be the cause of transporting “erratics.” An erratic is a rock that differs in shape and size from other surrounding rocks. In times of global warming, Lyell theorized, ice would come from the poles and float across submerged lands, carrying debris with it.

Then, as the waters recede and lands emerge, the erratics would provide evidence of drift.

Although some of Lyell’s theories have been disproven, especially in terms of glacier movement, the framework that he was able to create is still in use today. Many of his observational methods are still used as foundational principles in the field of geology.

And as for his theory of evolution, it is Lyell’s work that is included with Darwin’s theories that has more influence today rather than his own theories. For many years, Lyell refused to consider evolution as it was being proposed as a valid theory. He eventually offered what could be considered a “compromise” between religion and science, which was reflective more of his internal conflicts than his actual scientific observations.