From emotion to motivation: the role of social support for researchers

Ana Tur-Porcar, Andrés Salas-Vallina, Joaquín M. Azagra-Caro
Motivation is essential to meet targets. With this in mind, appropriate emotion management is likely to help problem-coping and personal implication in task fulfilment—and thus motivation. This challenge is of great importance for researchers, whose profession relies to a great extent on intrinsic, prosocial motivation rather than the extrinsic kind. However, the complex chain of mechanisms leading from emotion management to motivation remains unexplored, so here we analyse the complex underlying process using survey answers from over 7,000 Spanish researchers. Self-emotion appraisal, one dimension of emotional intelligence, actually improves motivation, but perceived social support is necessary to trigger this link. In other words, for self-emotion appraisal to be effective, researchers need to feel others’ support in confronting a problem. We also reveal that self-deceptive enhancement fosters the effect of self-emotional appraisal on social support, i.e. the need to adapt one’s self-image to others’ expectations activates the pursuit of social support. The implications of self-emotional appraisal and social support in motivation are then discussed, as well as the role that self-deception plays in social support perceived by a person in science.