15-Sep-2020

The RMP is The Science of Motivation® (Part 5)

This is the fifth in a series of articles summarizing the research that established the Reiss Motivation Profile® as “The Science of Motivation®.”  


Professor Kenneth R. Olson of Fort Hays State University together with graduate student Dale A. Weber conducted a correlational study between traits and motives – specifically, between Big Five personality traits, as measured by the NEO-PI-R, and 16 fundamental motives, as assessed by the RMP.  

The Big Five factors are:
  • Openness to Experience (inventive/curious versus consistent/cautious)
  • Conscientiousness (efficient/organized versus extravagant/careless)
  • Extraversion (outgoing/energetic versus solitary/reserved)
  • Agreeableness (friendly/compassionate versus challenging/callous)
  • Neuroticism (sensitive/nervous versus resilient/confident)
 
The RMP’s 16 fundamental motives are:
  • Acceptance, the desire for positive self-regard
  • Curiosity, the desire for understanding
  • Eating, the desire to consume food
  • Family, the desire to raise children and spend time with siblings
  • Honor, the desire for upright character
  • Idealism, the desire for social justice
  • Independence, the desire for self-reliance
  • Order, the desire for structure and stability
  • Physical Activity, the desire for muscle exercise
  • Power, the desire for influence of will
  • Romance, the desire for sex
  • Saving, the desire to collect things
  • Social Contact, the desire for companionship with peers
  • Status, the desire for respect based on social standing
  • Tranquility, the desire to avoid experiencing pain and anxiety
  • Vengeance, the desire to confront those who frustrate or offend us.
 
At the time this study was conducted, the Big Five factors were considered to be a generally valid representation of major personality dimensions. In assessing the correlations between Big Five traits and RMP motives, the researchers were testing the concurrent validity of the newly-developed RMP.

Subjects
The subjects were 138 university students (93 women and 45 men).

Procedure
The subjects completed the NEO-PI-R, Form S and the Reiss Motivation Profile®.

Results
All of the results reported below were significant to at least the .01 level, which means the probability of the results being true is at least 99 percent.

The RMP Acceptance scale was positively correlated with Big Five Neuroticism. In other words, subjects who scored high on Acceptance also tended to score high on Neuroticism. On the RMP, individuals with a strong need for Acceptance are described as insecure, self-doubting, and pessimistic. On the Big Five, people with a high level of Neuroticism are described as experiencing worry, frustration, and depressed mood. Given the similarity in these descriptors, the findings provided evidence for the concurrent validity of the RMP Acceptance scale.

The RMP Curiosity scale was positively correlated with Big Five Openness to Experience. That is, subjects who scored high on Curiosity also tended to score high on Openness to Experience. As defined by the RMP, individuals with a strong need for Curiosity are intellectual, inquisitive, and reflective. The Big Five offers a similar definition of people with a high level of Openness to Experience as imaginative, curious, and open-minded. These findings demonstrated support for the concurrent validity of the RMP Curiosity scale.

The RMP Honor scale was positively correlated with Big Five Conscientiousness. In other words, subjects who scored high on Honor also tended to score high on Conscientiousness. The RMP describes individuals with a strong need for Honor as dependable, trustworthy, and dutiful. Similarly, the Big Five describes people with a high level of Conscientiousness as responsible, dependable, and self-disciplined. These findings provided evidence for the concurrent validity of the RMP Honor scale.

The RMP Idealism scale was positively correlated with Big Five Agreeableness. That is, subjects who scored high on Idealism also tended to score high on Agreeableness. On the RMP, the adjectives associated with people with a strong need for Idealism are altruistic, compassionate, and philanthropic. On the Big Five, similar adjectives such as altruistic, helpful, and generous are characteristic of individuals with a high level of Agreeableness. These findings demonstrated support for the concurrent validity of the RMP Idealism scale. 

The RMP Power scale was positively correlated with Big Five Extraversion. In other words, subjects who scored high on Power also tended to score high on Extraversion. The RMP describes people with a strong need for Power as hardworking, assertive, and directive. The Big Five uses similar terms – assertive and energetic – to describe individuals with a high level of Extraversion. These findings provided evidence for the concurrent validity of the RMP Power scale.

The RMP Saving scale was positively correlated with Big Five Neuroticism. That is, subjects who scored high on Saving also tended to score high on Neuroticism. On the RMP, individuals with a strong need for Saving can be misers or hoarders. On the Big Five, people with a high level of Neuroticism are viewed as emotionally unstable, a tendency which is characteristic of those who are afraid to spend money on necessities or who refuse to discard even the most useless of objects. These findings demonstrated support for the concurrent validity of the RMP Saving scale.

The RMP Social Contact scale was positively correlated with Big Five Extraversion. In other words, subjects who scored high on Social Contact also tended to score high on Extraversion. The traits ascribed to people with a strong need for Social Contact – outgoing, sociable, gregarious – are similar to those attributed to individuals with a high level of Extraversion – sociable, talkative, energetic. These findings provided evidence for the concurrent validity of the RMP Social Contact scale.

The RMP Tranquility scale was positively correlated with Big Five Neuroticism. That is, subjects who scored high on Tranquility also tended to score high on Neuroticism. On the RMP, individuals with a strong need for Tranquility are described as fearful, anxious, and cautious. Similarly, the Big Five describes people with a high level of Neuroticism as experiencing worry, frustration, and depressed mood. These findings demonstrated support for the concurrent validity of the RMP Tranquility scale.

The RMP Vengeance scale was positively correlated with Big Five Neuroticism. In other words, subjects who scored high on Vengeance also tended to score high on Neuroticism. On the RMP, people with a strong need for Vengeance are quick to become angry over perceived slights. On the Big Five, individuals with a high level of Neuroticism experience considerable anger because they are likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening and to view minor frustrations as major obstacles. Given the similarity in these descriptions, these findings provided evidence for the concurrent validity of the RMP Vengeance scale.

Conclusions
  • The study was conducted by independent researchers with no relationship to Professor Steven Reiss, who developed the RMP. Therefore, Olson and Weber’s findings represent an impartial validation of the Reiss Motivation Profile®.
  • The research passed peer review for publication in an established journal, thus indicating that the study’s methodology met rigorous scientific standards. 
  • Based on a 99 percent level of certainty, the results provided evidence for the concurrent validity of nine RMP scales: Acceptance, Curiosity, Honor, Idealism, Power, Saving, Social Contact, Tranquility, and Vengeance.  
 
 
To read the complete article, click here
 
Olson, K.R., & Weber, D.A. (2004). Relations between Big Five traits and fundamental motives. Psychological Reports95, 795-802. 

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