Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Cognitive Motivation
From Curiosity to Identity, Purpose and Meaning

$131.00 (C)

  • Date Published: September 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107177666
Average user rating
(1 review)

$ 131.00 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Motivation and cognition were treated as separate concepts throughout most of twentieth-century psychology. However, in recent years researchers have begun viewing the two as inextricably intertwined: not only does what we want affect how we think, but how we think affects what we want. In this innovative study, Beswick presents a new general theory of cognitive motivation, synthesizing decades of existing research in social, cognitive and personality psychology. New basic concepts are applied to a wide range of purposive behaviour. Part I of the volume reviews different forms of cognitive motivation, such as curiosity, cognitive dissonance, achievement motivation, and the search for purpose and meaning, while Part II examines the basic processes that underlie it, such as working memory, attention and emotion. The central concept is the incomplete gestalt, in which motivation is generated by a universal striving to integrate information and make sense at all levels of cognitive organization.

    • Presents a new general theory of cognitive motivation, combining cognitive and affective processes
    • Challenges the work of several major theorists and offers an original alternative in each case
    • Provides a broad perspective which covers central themes of cognitive neuroscience, personality and social psychology, philosophy and literature
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘This is the definitive book on the history of scientific research on curiosity. Dr Beswick offers a gift to readers, synthesizing research across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to offer new insights on human motivation.' Todd B. Kashdan, George Mason University, Virginia and author of The Upside of your Dark Side and Curious?

    ‘Human beings not only think but want to think, and in particular ways. Beswick's book on cognitive motivation breaks new ground in exploring the fascinating interplay between psychology's two most fundamental concepts, namely cognition and motivation. This is an impressive, thoughtful, erudite treatment of the topic, including dazzling integration of what psychology's best thinkers have had to say about it.' Roy F. Baumeister, author of The Cultural Animal: Human Nature, Meaning, and Social Life

    'David Beswick shows how the concept of an incomplete gestalt is relevant to different forms of cognitive motivation and how it relates to basic processes of memory, consciousness and emotion, as well as to goals, identity, meaning and purpose. This is a major work, scholarly and well-argued, providing a background to the many fascinating ideas that are presented. Highly recommended.' Norman Feather, Flinders University, Adelaide

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    30th Dec 2018 by DrLindsayCarey

    This well researched and beautifully presented text book written by Prof. David Beswick is a treasure chest of numerous indepth theoretical fundamentals compactly summarised and structurally well presented for anyone interested in motivation, curiosity, cognitive dissonance, identity, purpose, meaning and/or belief systems. The text is laced with insightful psychological ‘Beswickian’ insights: ‘…cognitive dissonance theory is deficient … It is one thing to be driven out of a condition of discomfort it is another to know where to go. The way cognitive elements come together must not only relieve discomfort but make sense in a whole figure, or have meaning, or move towards a meaningful pattern, in order to both energize and direct purposive behaviour’ (p. 88). I highly recommend this text as essential reading for professionals such as academics and clinicians, particularly psychologists, rehabilitation counsellors, health care chaplains and others interested in the theoretical and applicable processes to assist their clients with cognitive organization and cognitive motivation. Dr. Lindsay Carey, MAppSc, PhD. (School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University)

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107177666
    • length: 396 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.67kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the incomplete gestalt
    Part I. Forms of Cognitive Motivation:
    1. Towards a general theory of cognitive motivation
    2. Curiosity
    3. Intrinsic motivation
    4. Cognitive dissonance
    5. Achievement motivation
    6. Agency, efficacy and attribution
    Part II. Basic Processes and Applications:
    7. Working memory, consciousness, and attention
    8. The function of emotion in cognitive motivation
    9. Goals
    10. Intentions
    11. Identity
    12. Purpose and meaning.

  • Resources for

    Cognitive Motivation

    David Beswick

    General Resources

    Find resources associated with this title

    Type Name Unlocked * Format Size

    Showing of

    Back to top

    *This title has one or more locked files and access is given only to instructors adopting the textbook for their class. We need to enforce this strictly so that solutions are not made available to students. To gain access to locked resources you either need first to sign in or register for an account.

    These resources are provided free of charge by Cambridge University Press with permission of the author of the corresponding work, but are subject to copyright. You are permitted to view, print and download these resources for your own personal use only, provided any copyright lines on the resources are not removed or altered in any way. Any other use, including but not limited to distribution of the resources in modified form, or via electronic or other media, is strictly prohibited unless you have permission from the author of the corresponding work and provided you give appropriate acknowledgement of the source.

    If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

  • Author

    David Beswick, University of Melbourne
    David Beswick is Professor Emeritus and Principal Fellow at the Centre for Positive Psychology, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. He is a Life Member of the Australian Psychological Society, a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators and a minister in the Uniting Church in Australia. He was formerly director of the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education, before which he researched and taught in psychology and educational research at the Australian National University. He held visiting appointments at Berkeley, London and Uppsala University, Sweden, and has published more than one hundred articles and monographs.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.