There have been few attempts to bring evolutionary theory to the study of human motivation. From this perspective motives can be considered psychological mechanisms to produce behavior that solves evolutionarily important tasks in the human niche. From the dimensions of the human niche we deduce eight human needs: optimize the number and survival of gene copies; maintain bodily integrity; avoid external threats; optimize sexual, environmental, and social capital; and acquire reproductive and survival skills. These needs then serve as the foundation for a necessary and sufficient list of 15 human motives, which we label: lust, hunger, comfort, fear, disgust, attract, love, nurture, create, hoard, affiliate, status, justice, curiosity, and play. We show that these motives are consistent with evidence from the current literature. This approach provides us with a precise vocabulary for talking about motivation, the lack of which has hampered progress in behavioral science. Developing testable theories about the structure and function of motives is essential to the project of understanding the organization of animal cognition and learning, as well as for the applied behavioral sciences.I am interested primarily because of their definition of motivation, or rather, their distinctions among motivations. As I have written about elsewhere, I think there is a useful KESVBCM (Knowledge, Experience, Skills, Values, Behaviors, Capabilities, Motivation) model that are the predicates to success. Motivation has always been an ill-defined element of that framework. Aunger and Curtis identify the constituent components of motivation as:
LustThat looks usefully comprehensive. I'll have to investigate. I wonder if there are any robust measurement mechanisms to assess the relative strength of these.