Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 October 2022
This chapter offers a pluralistic analysis of human motivation as an alternative to utility maximization. Its unifying theme is that choices are underpinned by means-end chains where the underlying “end” can be usefully viewed as the desire to be able to predict and control what is going on in one’s life (as argued in personal construct psychology where people are viewed as if they are like scientists). This includes meeting a hierarchy of needs, as Maslow argued: life is out of control if people can’t meet basic survival needs, are finding everything chaotic, can’t find a view of themselves (their identity) on which to build their lives in society (in relation to fashion and status) and cannot explore what they can achieve or engage in activities that fascinate them. This means that consumption can be for creative and/or defensive reasons. Given how sensory systems work, people also need to have novel things to explore. After examining these views of motivation, the chapter describes research tools from personal construct psychology that can be used for uncovering how people see their options and why they are interested in, or wish to avoid, particular aspects of them.
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