Quantifying self-motives: Functional links between dispositional desires


Aiden P. Gregg, Center for Research on Self and Identity, School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, England, UK.

E-mail: aiden@soton.ac.uk


Previous research has sought to establish the existence, or gauge the relative strength, of key self-evaluation motives (i.e., self-enhancement, self-verification, self-assessment, self-improvement). Here, we attempted, across five samples, to quantify individual differences in self-motive strength and explore their empirical ramifications. We devised brief self-report indices for each self-motive and checked their factor structure, reliability, and validity. We found that self-enhancement covaried mainly with self-verification, and that self-assessment covaried mainly with self-improvement, thus validating key hypotheses regarding their functional links. Moreover, self-enhancement and self-verification covaried with positive personality traits, as well as with preferences for receiving positive feedback and perceptions of its accuracy. In sum, self-reported variations in dispositional self-motive strength form theoretically meaningful patterns. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.