The Reiss Motivation Profile®

There are 16 motives that determine our lives. They are the stuff we are made of, which gives deep sense and meaning to our existence. And the intensity and character of these motives vary from person to person.



Influence, Success, Performance, Leadership


People with a strong need for power in the Reiss Motivation Profile®, may like to assert their will and influence things. They like to be a leader, take responsibility and have an impact on their environment. People with a strong need for power might be willful and determined.

People with a weak need for power in the Reiss Motivation Profile®, may have a little desire to influence, lead, or advise others. They might dislike leadership roles.






Freedom, Autonomy


People with a strong need for independence may value their independence and personal freedom more than most people do. They may have a desire for self-reliance and the need to feel free.

People with a weak need for independence may have a strong need for interdependent relationships. Many interdependent people are comforted knowing they can rely on others when they need help.



Wisdom, Truth


People with a strong need for curiosity may place an unusually high value on understanding things. A strong need for curiosity motivates intellectual behavior.

People with a weak need for curiosity may be practical. They believe that "actions speak louder than words" and take a practical approach to accomplishing their goals.



social acceptance, belonging, positive self-worth


People with a strong need for acceptance may be more sensitive to failure and criticism than the average person is. They are tuned in and sensitive to what other people think and say about them.

People with a weak need for acceptance may be less sensitive to the possibility of failure and criticism than is the average person.



Stability, Clarity, Structure


People with a strong need for order on the Reiss Motivation Profile®, may be fine tuned to how organized things are. They like to organize things, make plans, make up a schedule, write down a list and set rules.

People with a weak need for order on the Reiss Motivation Profile®, may feel uncomfortable when their environment is highly organized or scheduled. Some dislike having to conform their behavior to detailed rules, schedules, and plans.



Collect, Property



People with a strong need for saving may like to collect things. Sometimes this can involve saving things of value, such as saving money or collecting things one likes. Other times it may involve holding on to things that have no practical value.

People with a weak need for saving on the Reiss Motivation Profile®, may not feel the need to save or hold on to things. Many are generous people.




Loyalty, moral Integrity


People with a strong need for honor may be tuned into the moral aspects of life. They value personal character and accept responsibility for their actions.

People with a weak need for honor may be strongly motivated by their own personal code of conduct. When an important opportunity presents itself, they are willing to do whatever it takes to exploit it.



social justice, Fairness


People with a strong need for idealism may be strongly motivated by social justice and may be tuned in to the welfare of the needy.

People with a weak need for idealism may believe that injustice and unfairness are part of life.

Social Contact

Social Contact

Friendship, Happiness, Humor


People with a strong need for social contact like socializing with friends and peers. They seek an active social life.

People with a weak need for social contact may place less value on social life than does the average person. They like to spend time away from the crowd to rejuvenate themselves.



Parentship, Education of own children


People with a strong need for family may be family oriented. They put their family first and arrange their schedules so they can spend significant time at home.

People with a weak need for family may not be a family oriented person. They care about family members, but they may not feel the need to spend significant amounts of time with them.



Prestige, Reputation, public attention


People with a strong need for status may be impressed with prestige. They are impressed with fame and popularity.

People with a weak need for status may be relatively unimpressed with the prestige value of the things they own. They might be humble and down-to-earth.



retribution, competition


People with a strong need for vengeance may have a fighting spirit. They revenge themselves when others have insulted them.

People with a weak need for vengeance may try to avoid conflict and may look for common ground and compromise.



Beauty, Sex


People with a strong need for romance may be more romantic and attracted by eroticism than is the average person.

For people with a weak need for romance, romantic and erotic situations might be less important than for the average person.



Food, cooking, pleasure


People with a strong need for eating may have a strong appetite for food and a tendency to eat a lot.

People with a weak need for eating may have a weak appetite for food and a tendency to eat little.

Physical Activity

Physical Activity

Sports, Fitness


People with a strong need for physical activity may enjoy muscle exercise, physical exertion, or motion.

People with a weak need for physical activity may dislike vigorous muscle exercise, physical exertion, or motion.



emotional comfort, relaxation


People with a strong need for tranquility may have a high sensitivity for danger, risk, or pain. They might experience a fair amount of anxiety or stress.

People with a weak need for tranquility may have a low sensitivity for anxiety, fear, and pain. They are slow to frighten.


Because: People are completely individual. They often live in contradiction and move from one extreme to another throughout their lives: Customize or be yourself. To give you a short explanation with an example: Even in kindergarten children learn that being different is not always advantageous. As cruel as that may be, it doesn't necessarily change in adulthood. If we live our identity, we run the risk of being set on fire and risk being marginalised, despised or, in the worst case, bullied. And all because we are not understood.

This doesn't just happen to us at work - it happens to us among friends, with our children and partners and actually whenever we meet other people. Rarely is a person automatically appreciated by others because he or she is different. Individuality can separate people - like a wall. Whenever two people assign a value to very different priorities, they can hardly understand why others think, feel and act differently. But the more one is caught up in such perspectives, the greater the risk of projecting restrictive motives - "What is good for me is good for others" - onto partners, friends or colleagues. This leads to many misunderstandings and conflicts.

Anyone who knows and understands their own motives and those of fellow human beings that neither one nor the other is "better" or "worse" than the other can provide an enormous amount of positive impulses for living together, working together and being together. Above all, this knowledge teaches us to acknowledge and embrace others as they are and value their differences rather than condemn them.



"The 7 principles of motivational psychology"

PRINCIPLE OF UNIVERSAL GOALS. Certain goals are common to all people and deeply rooted in human nature. Motivation through these generally valid goals is called "intrinsic motivation" or "basic need". Examples of such goals are the need for insight, status or an orderly environment. The scientific studies on the 16 motives of life represent the first scientifically derived and validated classification of universally valid goals.

PRINCIPLE OF INTRINSIC MOTIVATION. Intrinsic motives (basic needs) have two distinguishing features: On the one hand, what drives us in principle is the universal dimension in human motivation. On the other hand, we differ individually when it comes to how much we want. And that is the special thing about human motivation. We all want the same things - such as recognition, knowledge, progeny, justice, competence, respect, etc. - but not to the same extent.

PRINCIPLE OF RELATIONSHIP COMPATIBILITY. People want to live out their basic needs, also in relationships. Couples with similar motive profiles usually share an understanding of their shared values and how they live them. Couples with unequal motive profiles have different values and therefore often have discussions or arguments.

PRINCIPLE OF STRONG BASIC DESIRES. People strive to satisfy their strong motives in different situations and in different ways. People with a hearty appetite love different kinds of food and preparation; people with a thirst for knowledge are interested in many topics and areas of knowledge, while romantic people are intensively devoted to finding a partner.

PRINCIPLES OF COUNSELING /COACHING. A person will develop best when his or her relationships, work and family and basic needs are satisfied.

PRINCIPLE OF "SELF-HUGGING". We usually assume that our values are not only best for ourselves, but for all people. Therefore, by means of "daily tyranny" we try to change the people in our environment, believing that it is the best for them. We are an intolerant species.

PRINCIPLE OF A GREATER MOTIVE. Personality change is difficult and can only take place if the motives that favor change are stronger than those to remain in the present.

Source: Reiss, Steven: The Reiss Motivation Profile®. What motivates you? Columbus: IDS Publishing, 2013.


Personality test with scientific background


Unlike "conventional" personality tests, which mainly describe how a person behaves, the Reiss Motivation Profile® goes one step further and allows a look below the surface of human behavior patterns. The Reiss Motivation Profile® investigates what motives in our lives drive our actions - the driving force behind our behavior, so to speak.

The Oracle of Delphi says, "Be who you are." But do we always know that? Even in difficult situations? Often we understand topics that we carry around with us in the replica and we think: "If I had known then what I know about myself today..." But if we know what really drives us, we can shape our lives accordingly and sum it up at some point: I did it my way.


What's behind it all?

Scientifically founded by means of factor analysis (meanwhile tens of thousands of profiles from many countries around the world have been evaluated) 16 different motives for life can be distinguished using the Reiss Motivation Profile®: Acceptance, romance, curiosity, eating, family, honor, idealism, independence, order, physical activity, power, saving, social contact, status, tranquillity, vengeance.

The 16 motives for life differ from the many lists of basic motives and intentions in psychology because they are based on a broad empirical basis and the investigation of thousands of people. Many other approaches are based almost without exception on pure introspection as with Plato, observations of animal behavior - as with James and McDougall - or theoretical in-depth psychological approaches - as with Murray.

The 16 Basic Desires

  • were determined strictly empirically,
  • are based on factor-analytical evaluations,
  • and have been confirmed in numerous follow-up studies across cultures.

Steven Reiss assumes that at least 14 of the identified motives have a genetic determination. Our motives thus have an evolutionary origin, but are shaped by culture, our beliefs and our individual experiences. What we wish for is largely determined by our genes, but how we fulfill our desires is mainly determined by our culture and our experiences.

These 16 life motives are independent dimensions ("factors"), which have a high explanatory value in relation to human behavior and also have a high predictability of behavior. Every human being has a motivational fingerprint - just like everyone else has his or her genetic fingerprint. The different motivators are combined and more or less pronounced in each person in their own way. Thus, the individuality of man is taken into account and not attempted to classify people in typologies.

  • The motives determine our behavior per se: to live them out is their purpose.
  • The motive profile of a person is basically stable.
  • We find a distinction between feel good-happiness and value-based happiness. By well-being happiness, Steven Reiss understands a person's efforts to create a good feeling as quickly as possible and to find meaning in it. In contrast to this there is value-oriented happiness, which means to have found the meaning of one's own actions and to orientate one's life towards one's own values and motives.

Last but not least, we understand the Reiss Motivation Profile® as a plea for tolerance: Steven Reiss advocates understanding and accepting the motives of other people. Because we tend to consider our own values as desirable and to underestimate those of others.

On request, we will be happy to provide you with the quality criteria for the individual motives of life.

Renormalization process 2017

What are standards/norms?
In order to be able to say something about the test values of a single person, the values of this person are compared and related to a norm sample that is as large and representative as possible. This makes it possible to interpret individual test results.

Reiss Motivation Profile® standards
In the original sample from 2001,1,749 test participants were recorded. In 2007, the Reiss Motivation Profile® was standardized based on a sample of approx. 7,800 test participants. In 2012, 45,000 test persons have already been registered in a renormalization process. Since September 2017, the new standards have been in place, covering a period from 2007 to 2017. The standard sample of the Reiss Motivation Profile® now comprises 79,888 test persons from 23 countries and 3 continents (America, Asia, Europe). This process was conducted by William Aflleje of Reesh LLC in collaboration with Mike Reiss and Maggi Reiss of IDS Publishing.

The Reiss Motivation Profile®

What Motivates You?

What determines your life? What is really important to you?
What makes you successful? What makes you happy?

As US psychologist Steven Reiss found out after many years of research with thousands of test subjects, not only one or two basic desires determine our existence, but 16 vital needs and values - our basic desires. Thereby, every person has – like an individual fingerprint – a distinctive “basic desire profile”.

His Reiss Motivation Profile®

Steven Reiss


Have you ever asked yourself the question: "Who am I? Google responds with approximately 44,700,000 results and thus takes into account the fact that countless people have been searching for an answer to this question to this day.

Steven Reiss also asked himself this question and did not leave it at the question. He wanted the answer. The American psychologist is still one of the three most cited psychologists in the world. In many studies and investigations with more than 6000 men and women in the USA, Canada and Japan, he found something ground-breaking, unprecedented and relevant to this day: all human behaviour is based on 16 motives.

From this knowledge he developed the Reiss Motivation Profile®, a diagnostic method for personality analysis.

Steven Reiss died on 28.10.2016 from the concomitant illnesses of a long-term chronic illness.