Consider the following case example. An individual
This example shows us that these individuals have not permanently lost their relevant adaptive functions, and under certain circumstances, are able to function at a relatively normal level.
We have previously utilized the term motivation to explain the individuals’ changes in functioning and observable behavior. It appears that there is a driving force that energizes all of the systems relevant to adaptation to the demand characteristics of the situation. The following systems have been engaged and energized: attentional, memory, executive functions, cognitive processing, linguistic fluency, and problem-solving. These functions are all integrated seamlessly into the specific activity.
What happens when the individual returns to his room and to his favorite corner? The extrinsic incentive or stimuli have been removed, and the various systems (neurocognitive, linguistic, behavioral, affective) have been damped down. It is as though the individual is now in a conservation of energy mode.
We have learned from this that when the individuals are exposed to appropriate incentives/stimuli, they become engaged, and all of the relevant systems become mobilized. Our approach is to form a therapeutic relationship with the therapist/staff/ACT worker, discover meaningful goals and aspirations of the individual, and guide that person along the pathway to recovery.
Addendum: Incentives and stimuli (also called extrinsic motivation) show the importance of the context in evaluating an individual’s behavior. For example,