Cognitive behavior represents another approach to understanding the effects of learning on the instigation of behavior. In the process of learning that particular behaviors can lead to particular goals, expectations about the goals are established and the goals acquire values. One cognitive approach to motivation, called expectancy‐value theory, stresses that the probability of occurrence of behavior depends upon individuals' perception of the value of a goal as well as their expectation of reaching it. Variations of the theory have been used to study such motives as the need for achievement (Henry Murray) and the need for success (John Atkinson).
Other cognitive motivational theories focus on individual characteristics and how those characteristics relate to motivation. Carl Rogers, for example, proposed that an individual strives to become self‐actualized, a process important in the development of a mature personality.