Difference Wiki

Intention vs. Motive: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 23, 2023
Intention refers to a planned action or goal; motive is the underlying reason for that action.

Key Differences

Intention and motive are two words often used interchangeably, but they describe different aspects of human behavior. Intention pertains to a person's specific plan or goal – what they set out to do. It is a conscious decision to act in a particular way or to achieve a certain outcome. Conversely, motive dives deeper into the psyche, revealing the underlying reason or driving force behind an action.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023
In the realm of law and ethics, both intention and motive are essential. A person may have the intention to donate to charity – a planned action. Yet, their motive could be multifaceted: it might be out of genuine compassion, a desire for positive publicity, or a tax benefit. Understanding both aspects can provide a fuller picture of a person's choices and behavior.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023
From a psychological perspective, intention and motive offer insights into human cognition and emotion. Intentions can be shaped by motives, but they can also be influenced by external factors or social norms. For instance, one might have the intention to exercise daily driven by the motive of health, but might also be influenced by societal standards of beauty.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023
In daily life, understanding one's own intentions and motives can be crucial for personal growth. One might have the intention to apologize after an argument. This intention is a conscious plan to mend a relationship. However, delving into the motive might reveal a desire for peace, a fear of loneliness, or even a tactical move to gain the upper hand in a longer-term dispute.
Janet White
Oct 23, 2023
In essence, while intentions set the stage for planned actions or outcomes, motives illuminate the deeper reasons, emotions, and drives behind those actions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Comparison Chart

Definition

A planned action or goal.
The underlying reason for an action.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Focus

What one plans to do.
Why one wants to do it.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Driven by

Conscious decision and planning.
Deep-seated emotions or reasons.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Contextual Meaning

A purpose or design behind an action.
An impulse or desire that prompts action.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Temporal Aspect

Can be temporary or changing.
Often more stable or long-lasting.
Harlon Moss
Oct 23, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Intention and Motive Definitions

Intention

A determined plan to act in a certain way.
Her intention was to finish the project by the end of the month.
Huma Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Motive

An emotion, desire, or need prompting to action.
Greed was the primary motive behind the crime.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Intention

The design or plan behind an action.
The sculpture was broken, but there was no malicious intention.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 23, 2023

Motive

An incentive or inducement.
The promise of a bonus was the motive for their hard work.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Intention

An aim or purpose.
The intention behind the law was to protect consumers.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Motive

The goal or objective of one's actions.
The detective questioned the suspect's motive.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Intention

A concept formed by the mind.
He had the intention of joining the seminar next week.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Motive

The reason behind an action or behavior.
His motive for lying was to protect his friend.
Huma Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Intention

The resolve or determination with which a person acts.
She approached the task with clear intention.
Harlon Moss
Oct 23, 2023

Motive

A recurrent idea or theme.
The artist's work displayed a motive of nature's beauty.
Janet White
Oct 23, 2023

Intention

The action or fact of intending
Are computers capable of intention?.
Sumera Saeed
Jul 15, 2020

Motive

An emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action.
Sumera Saeed
Jul 15, 2020

FAQs

Can a person have a good intention but a negative motive?

Yes, for example, someone might help others (good intention) for selfish recognition (negative motive).
Huma Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Can someone have multiple motives for a single intention?

Absolutely, an intention can be driven by multiple underlying motives.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 23, 2023

Is motive always conscious?

No, motives can be unconscious or not immediately apparent to the individual.
Sara Rehman
Oct 23, 2023

Is understanding one's motives essential for personal growth?

Often yes, understanding motives can provide insight into behaviors and drive positive change.
Harlon Moss
Oct 23, 2023

Can motives be inherited or learned?

Motives can be influenced by both genetic factors and life experiences.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

How do intention and motive differ in a legal context?

In law, intention often pertains to one's planned action, while motive delves into the reason behind the action.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Are motives always emotional?

Not always, motives can be rational, emotional, or a mix of both.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Why might understanding someone's intention be important in communication?

Understanding intention can prevent misinterpretations and foster clear communication.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 23, 2023

Can motives be hidden or disguised?

Yes, individuals might not always reveal or be aware of their true motives.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 23, 2023

In storytelling, how do intention and motive play a role?

Characters' intentions drive the plot, while their motives provide depth and understanding of their actions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Are intention and motive synonymous?

While related, they are not synonymous; intention is about planned actions, while motive is about underlying reasons.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Can one's environment influence motives?

Yes, external factors like culture, upbringing, and social interactions can shape motives.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

How are motives explored in psychology?

Psychologists might use therapies, introspection, or observation to understand an individual's motives.
Janet White
Oct 23, 2023

How do intention and motive relate to free will?

Intentions reflect a person's exercise of free will, while motives might influence the direction of that will.
Sara Rehman
Oct 23, 2023

Can actions exist without clear intentions or motives?

Actions can be reflexive or habitual, sometimes occurring without conscious intention or clear motive.
Janet White
Oct 23, 2023

Can a person's intentions change over time?

Yes, intentions can evolve based on new information or changing circumstances.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Which is more crucial for ethics, intention or motive?

Both are important; ethical judgments can consider the action's intention and the underlying motive.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 23, 2023

Do intentions always translate to actions?

Not necessarily, one can have intentions without acting on them.
Janet White
Oct 23, 2023

Can two people have the same intention but different motives?

Absolutely, for instance, two people might donate to charity (same intention) for different reasons (different motives).
Sara Rehman
Oct 23, 2023

Are intentions always explicit?

No, sometimes intentions might be implied or not overtly stated.
Janet White
Oct 23, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons