A Glossary of Descriptive Psychology Concepts

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  1. A behavior is instrumental when there is a goal of some kind external to the behavior itself for the sake of which the behavior is engaged in.
  2. A synonym for "ulteriorly motivated".
  3. The opposite of "intrinsic" or "done for its own sake".

Assuming all behavior is instrumental (is ulteriorly motivated, done to get something, etc.) causes an infinite regress, which is the sign of a false premise; therefore, only some behavior is instrumental. The remaining behaviors are either intrinsic or simultaneously intrinsic and instrumental (as demonstrated by the ladder of significance).