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Navigating motivation: a semantic and subjective atlas of 7 motives

Chierchia, G., Przyrembel, M., Lesemann, F. P., Bosworth, S. ORCID:, Snower, D. and Singer, T. (2021) Navigating motivation: a semantic and subjective atlas of 7 motives. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. 568064. ISSN 1664-1078

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.568064


Research from psychology, neurobiology and behavioral economics indicates that a binary view of motivation, based on approachand avoidance, may be too reductive. Instead, a literature review suggests that at least seven distinct motives are likely to affecthuman decisions: "consumption/resource seeking", "care", "affiliation", "achievement", "status-power", "threat approach" (or anger),and "threat avoidance" (or fear). To explore the conceptual distinctness and relatedness of these motives, we conducted a semanticcategorization task. Here, participants were to assign provided words to one of the motives. By applying principal componentanalysis to the categorization assignments we represent the semantic inter-relations of these motives on a two-dimensionalspace, a “semantic atlas”. This atlas suggests that, while care and affiliation are conceptually close, affiliation is closer to threatavoidance (or fear); opposite to these motives we find achievement, consumption and power, with the latter lying closer to threatapproach (or anger). In a second study, we asked participants to rate how well the motive-specific words obtained in the firststudy described their currently experienced feelings. We find that semantically close motives are also more likely to beexperienced together, that is, we replicate most of the semantic relations in the “subjective atlas”. We discuss our findings incomparison to other multi-dimensional models of motivation, which show clear similarities. In addition to these motivationalatlases, we provide a database of motive-specific words, together with the valence and arousal scores. These can be used forfuture research on the influence of motives on decision making.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Economics
ID Code:95188
Publisher:Frontiers Media


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