Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 441
Psychological needs/psychological universals/psychological theories/Deci/Ryan: Psychologists have long agreed that human beings have basic physiological needs such as hunger, thirst and sex. These needs have played a role in general theories of behaviour (e.g., Hull 1943)(1) as well as in more specific theories related to behavioural domains more directly linked to the needs.
There has been far less agreement, however, about whether people also have basic psychological needs – that is, needs of the psyche that are essential for psychological wellbeing and thriving.
VsPsychological needs/VsPsychological Universals: Most motivational psychologists do not acknowledge psychological needs as a fundamental aspect of human motivation, instead arguing that the cognitive concept of goals is more useful in explaining motivated behavior.
VsUniversals: those who do use the concept of psychological needs have tended to treat them as individual differences in the degree to which people desire such things as achievement (e.g., McClellan 1985)(2) or cognition (Cacioppo and Petty 1982)(3).
Pro psychological needs/pro psychological universals: White (1959)(4) argued for the concept of effectance as a basic need; De Charms (1968)(5) proposed that the experience of personal causation is a psychological need; Baumeister and Leary (1995)(6) suggested that belongingness is a need fundamental to all humans.
Deci and Ryan (1985(7), 2000)(8): have postulated that human beings have three basic and universal psychological needs: the needs for

competence,
autonomy and
relatedness.



1. Hull, C. L. 1943. Principles of behaviour: an Introduction to behaviour theory. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts
2. McClelland, D. C. 1985. Human motivation. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman
3. Cacioppo, J. R. and Petty, R. E. 1982. The need for cognition, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 42: 116–31 Chirkov, V. Ryan, R. M., Kim, Y. and Kaplan, U. 2003.
4. White, R. W. 1959. Motivation reconsidered: the concept of competence, Psychological Review 66: 297–333
5. De Charms, R. 1968. Personal causation: the internal affective determinants of behaviour. New York: Academic Press
6. Baumeister, R. and Leary, M. R. 1995. The Need to belong: desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation, Psychological Bulletin 117: 497–529
7. Deci, E. L. and Ryan, R. M. 1985. Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behaviour. New York: Plenum
8. Deci, E. L. and Ryan, R. M. 2000. The ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of goal pursuits: human needs and the self-determination of behaviour, Psychological Inquiry 11: 227–68



Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, „Self-determination theory: a consideration of human motivational universals“, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Psychological Theories
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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