What Motivates Us?

Motivation is an area that many researchers study: psychologists, marketers, economists, sociologists, anthropologists, and just about any other field within the social sciences. Anything can motivate us – food, sex, sleep, rewards, pain – but what motivates us to perform better at work or in anything we do? This is the question addressed in the following video clip. This is one of the best introductions to motivation (especially as it applies to a business setting) that I’ve seen.

Prevalence of Psychologists in Argentina

A 2008 study found that Argentina has 145 psychologists per 100,000 citizens. That is the highest rate in the world. The Wall Street Journal reports the following numbers (from 2005 – the number of psychologists in Argentina has increased since that time):

“Per Capita: Argentina topped a world ranking of psychologists per capita compiled by the World Health Organization in 2005:

Psychologists per 100,000 inhabitants

Argentina: 121.2
Denmark: 85
Finland: 79
Switzerland: 76
Norway: 68
Germany: 51.5
Canada: 35
Brazil: 31.8
USA: 31.1
Ecuador: 29.1

Also: In 2008, Argentina had 145 psychologists per 100,000 inhabitants; the capital, Buenos Aires, 789, according to a report by Modesto Alonso and Paula Gago. A 2009 national survey conducted by TNS Argentina found that 32% of respondents had at some time made a psychological consultation. That was an increase from 2006, when 26% said they had.”

Does anyone know why Argentina has much higher rates of psychologists than other countries? Buenos Aires particularly has a very high concentration of psychologists. What is further interesting is that many of the psychologists – at least inferred from the article – have a psychodynamic background.

So why does Argentina have a high concentration of psychologists? When looking at the list of countries with rates higher than the United States there are a number of possible explanations. One is that psychology is valued more in those countries than it is in the United States. Maybe the people are more trusting of psychologists and open to psychotherapy. Another possible explanation is that people in those countries are more depressed or anxious or have other psychopathology. They also could have fewer other resources to which they can turn for support (e.g., family or clergy or friends). Another possible answer is that there is something about the countries that make psychologists more prevalent. It could be political (maybe more turmoil or less stable governments), criminal (higher rates of crime), or some other psychosocial factor. It’s possible that higher rates of psychologists is related to prevalence of socialistic philosophy. Maybe psychologists in those countries are paid better than they are in countries with lower numbers per capita of psychologists. There could be any number of reasons why there is a higher prevalence of psychologists in Argentina (and other countries for that matter). Any additional thoughts?