What is satisfying about satisfying events? Testing 10 candidate psychological needs

Kennon M. Sheldon, Andrew J. Elliot, Youngmee Kim, Tim Kasser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

813 Scopus citations

Abstract

Three studies compared 10 candidate psychological needs in an attempt to determine which are truly most fundamental for humans. Participants described "most satisfying events" within their lives and then rated the salience of each of the 10 candidate needs within these events. Supporting self-determination theory postulates (Ryan & Deci. 2000) - autonomy, competence, and relatedness, were consistently among the top 4 needs, in terms of both their salience and their association with event-related affect. Self-esteem was also important, whereas self-actualization or meaning, physical thriving, popularity or influence, and money-luxury were less important. This basic pattern emerged within three different time frames and within both U.S. and South Korean samples and also within a final study that asked, "What's unsatisfying about unsatisfying events?" Implications for hierarchical theories of needs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-339
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume80
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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