AP Psychology 3rd Quarter Project

Option 2- Bryan Culler

Korra- The Legend of Korra

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Background on general information about the show will probably be helpful for understanding. I have put that information into my written explanation so please look there first unless you already have a basic prior understanding of this show. Also I'm not sure if you would ever watch this but if you would I apologize in advance because I had to use several spoilers in order for me to better explain my examples.

Instinct Theory: Bending

I'm the Avatar
Even as a child, because she is the avatar, Korra is able to instinctively bend three of the four elements. It would be impossible for her to learn earthbending or firebending by watching someone else by this age because she is secluded in the southern water tribe. Also as a side note- she does in fact breath, eat, and sleep, all of which are instincts as well.

Arousal Theory: Bending

Avatar Legend Of Korra Clips - Korra's Firebending Training
Korra adores bending the elements. At one time she said "bending is the coolest thing in the world." She does it all of the time. According to the arousal theory, Korra does this so often because it gives her a heightened state of arousal that she enjoys. The stimulus of bending gives Korra her own optimal state of arousal.

Incentive Theory: Republic City

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In the very first episode Korra leaves her home in the Southern Water Tribe to go to Republic City. Why would she leave her home where she has lived happily for so long? She also wasn't supposed to go, but she left anyway regardless of her elders' disapproval. According to the incentive theory, Korra left because she wanted to learn airbending from Tenzin, who at the moment needed to be in Republic City. Airbending was the last element for her to learn and so naturally she desired to learn it. With airbending as the positive incentive, she chose to leave her home behind and go to Republic City.

Maslow's hierarchy of Needs: Does not want to face Amon

Amon is the first antagonist in The Legend of Korra. He is a very mysterious character. He claims- and proves- that he has the power to take someone's bending away permanently. Being the avatar is what defines Korra's very being, she loves bending more than anything else in the world. It is possible that having her bending taken away would be considered by her a fate worse than death. When she is initially asked to help with an investigation of the equalists- Amon and his followers- she declines and pretends she needs to focus on her airbending. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs this is because Korra is putting both her Safety Needs and her Belonging Needs before her Esteem Needs and her Self-Actualization Needs. She values protection from physical harm and her belonging as the avatar- again basically her entire thing/life- over her recognition, respect for others, and her want to contribute to the situation. She is a very headstrong, fearless individual, so this response shocked many other characters.

Drive-Reduction: Initiating a challenge for Amon

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After a while Korra must face the press regarding her decision to not fight back directly against the Equalists/Amon. The issue is that several people take her refusal to fight as cowardice and many tell her that she is obviously backing down from a fight. Being a headstrong, reckless, and fearless individual, Korra in response initiates an ultimatum. She tells Amon publicly to meet up for a showdown if he is brave enough and gives a specific time and place. But she had just not wanted to fight Amon, why the sudden change of heart? The drive-reduction theory explains that she probably did it to avoid her embarrassment. She was embarrassed that she was being considered a coward. Her need was to be accepted by the public. Her acceptance from the public was fulfilled because her embarrassment acted as her drive. The behavior was her challenge to Amon. The order from need to drive to behavior in this situation would be public acceptance to embarrassment to challenging Amon.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Inability to recover from poison

There is a point in the show where Korra must carry a metallic poison inside herself due to a previous assassination attempt by one of the antagonists (right image.) After she is rescued, a character bends the poison out of her, but she is still somewhat weaker and cannot go into the avatar state- powerful state that is necessary for her to be able to get into (left image.) She eventually finds out that she still has some leftover poison inside her and that it could be the cause of her continued weakness. She finds another character and tries to get her to bend the rest of the metallic poison of her (middle image,) but her body resists it. Whenever she tries to bend it out, her body resists it because she remembers the pain of the initial conflict associated with the poison. She puts her psychological needs for protection from physical harm and unpredictable events (Safety Needs) before living up to her full potential (Self-Actualization) without the poison.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Being Alone for 3 Years

After the poison incident (while she is still not fully recovered) Korra goes into a sort of depression. She is a very active person and being limited by her recovery upsets her. She believes she is no longer as useful as she once was so she leaves everyone she knows and lives on her own for three years. In this time she only writes to one of her friends, otherwise leaving her family and the rest of her friends in the dark about the situation. She does not want to return until she has fully recovered. This is because she is embarrassed. According the the hierarchy of needs, she is putting her safety from embarrassment (Safety Needs) before avoiding loneliness and separation (Belongingness and Love Needs) from her peers. In order to not end on a sad note, she does get her spunk back eventually.

Works Cited

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