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People use the term motivation in everyday life to refer to many things: a personality characteristic, an external reward or an explanation of behaviour (‘we lost because we weren't motivated’). The multidimensional meaning of the term creates problems for psychologists who have sought therefore to define motivation more precisely and develop theories of motivation (motivation, theories of).

At its simplest, motivation can be defined as the direction and intensity of one's effort. In addition to highlighting direction (i.e. the situations, practices, etc. to which an athlete is attracted) and intensity (i.e. how much effort an athlete makes, how hard they try) some psychologists argue that the definition of motivation should also contain a temporal dimension (i.e. how sustained or lasting is that effort). While heuristically it ...

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