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16 basic desires theory of motivation

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The 16 basic desires theory is a personality theory of motivation.

Starting from studies involving more than 6,000 people, Professor Steven Reiss has proposed a theory that find 16 basic desires that guide nearly all human behavior.[1][2][3] The desires are:

In this model, people differ in these basic desires. These basic desires represent intrinsic desires that directly motivate a person's behavior, and not aimed at indirectly satisfying other desires. People may also be motivated by non-basic desires, but in this case this does not relate to deep motivation, or only as a means to achieve other basic desires.

See alsoEdit


  1. Reiss, Steven (2000), Who am I: The 16 basic desires that motivate our actions and define our personalities, New York: Tarcher/Putnam, p. 288, ISBN 1-58542-045-X, 
  2. Reiss, Steven (2004), "Multifaceted nature of intrinsic motivation: The theory of 16 basic desires", Review of General Psychology 8 (3): 179–193, doi:10.1037/1089-2680.8.3.179, 
  3. Intrinsic motivation doesn't exist, researcher says": An article summarizing the view of Steven Reiss
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