Evolution and human motivation: A fundamental motives framework

Mark Schaller, Douglas Kenrick, Rebecca Neel, Steven Neuberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


An evolutionary perspective on human motivation provides a means of identifying conceptually distinct motivational systems (including motives pertaining to self-protection, disease avoidance, affiliation, status, mate acquisition, mate retention, and parental care), each of which has unique implications for affect, cognition, and behavior. We provide an illustrative summary of some of these empirically documented implications—including those pertaining to individual differences in chronic motivational tendencies, as well as additional implications that follow from temporary activation of these motivational systems. We also summarize a variety of broader implications—both conceptual and practical—that follow from this framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12319
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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