Date of Award

Summer 6-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology


Behavioral Sciences


College of Arts & Humanities

Committee Chair

Dr. Rodney Roosevelt

Second Committee Member

Dr. David Ward

Third Committee Member

Dr. Newton Hilliard

Program Director

Dr. Rodney Roosevelt

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Richard Schoephoerster


The present study investigates the presence of a molecular genetic basis of the quality of aspiration and motivation for behavior described by Ryan and Deci’s self-determination theory and Gray’s biopsychological theory of personality respectively. In this study, investigation was carried out to determine the impact of DRD4 receptor gene polymorphism on intrinsic and extrinsic aspiration as well as approach motivation using the Aspiration Index scales and Behavioral Inhibition and Activation (BIS/BAS) scales as our psychometric instrument of evaluation. In a pilot study consisting of 9 healthy subjects, the 7R allele of DRD4 receptor gene was associated with higher mean score of extrinsic motivation. Furthermore, the 7R allele of the DRD4 gene had a higher mean value for the relative centrality of extrinsic motivation in the aspiration index of participants. The findings of this study suggest that the presence of certain allelic expressions of DRD4 receptor gene may predict aspirational quality. However, a full study comprising a large sample of participants is required to establish the accuracy our hypothesis.