Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Basic Human Desires


Steven Reiss, an American psychologist who studied what makes humans tick, came up with 16 basic human desires based on a large-scale, cross-cultural surveys. I wondered how many of the things we said we were thankful for at the Thanksgiving dinner table were distributed among these categories.

16 Basic Human Desires (and their motives) according to Reiss:

  1. Power (desire to influence, including leadership, related to mastery)
  2. Curiosity (knowledge)
  3. Independence (autonomy)
  4. Status (includes attention)
  5. Social contact
  6. Vengeance (to get even, including competing to win)
  7. Honor (obey traditional moral code)
  8. Idealism (to improve society, justice, altruism)
  9. Physical exercise
  10. Romance (sex, including courting)
  11. Family (to raise own children)
  12. Order (including ritual)
  13. Eating
  14. Acceptance (approval)
  15. Tranquility (avoid anxiety, fear)
  16. Saving (collect, value of frugality)

It’s a good place to start when we are trying to figure out how we can motivate ourselves and our colleagues.




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This entry was posted on November 28, 2015 by in Culture, Identity, Management, Psychology and tagged , , .
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