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The ability of humans and animals to survive in a constantly changing environment is a testament to the power of biological processes. At any given instant in our lives, we are faced with an enormous number of sensory stimuli, and we can typically generate an equally large number of behaviors. How do we learn to ignore irrelevant information and suppress inappropriate behavior so that we may function in a complex environment? In this chapter we discuss motivation, the internal force that produces actions reflecting the interactions between our needs and the demands of our environment. We will first discuss what psychologists mean when they refer to motivation, and then review neural network theories that can expbin how motivation arises within biological nervous systems.
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