Primary Social Motives

From research conducted at Harvard by Professors David McClelland, John Atkinson and others, we know that our motives are what we think about most of the time. Their research shows quite clearly that a person’s pattern of thought determines the overall trends of action we can observe in their life. Simply stated, if you never or rarely think about something, you are very unlikely to do it. However, if you think about something quite often, your thoughts will lead you to take action.

McClelland defined motives as:

Thought Patterns with Feelings and Values which Predict Behaviour”

The research discovered that there are three broad patterns of thought that govern up to 80% of our social behaviour. These are called the three ‘Primary Social Motives’ (PSM).