The role of self-categorization in shaping human needs

Vaughan, Gareth (2014). The role of self-categorization in shaping human needs Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Vaughan, Gareth
Thesis Title The role of self-categorization in shaping human needs
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-10-08
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Alex Haslam
Total pages 86
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Understanding human needs and their impact on motivation has been a focus of psychological research for over 70 years. Throughout this time, despite the development of a broad literature on needs, theories have not fared well in the face of empirical testing across contexts. As a result, researchers and practitioners have continued to draw upon a select few well known, yet limited, theories to guide their decision making on issues surrounding needs (e.g., Maslow’s hierarchical needs theory). To address the limitations of past theories, and further our understanding of human needs, this thesis seeks to examine needs through the lens of self-categorization theory (SCT): a perspective that sees needs as tied to a person's sense of self in a given context. To test this theory, a series of experiments are reported which explore how manipulations of individuals’ self-categorization impact on their perceptions of their individual and group needs. Results suggest that although individual needs are generally considered to be of primary importance, when a participant’s social identity is made salient this effect is attenuated. Specifically, participants in the social identity salient condition reported perceiving group needs to be equally important as individual needs. Offering partial support for our hypotheses, the studies’ findings suggest two important things. Firstly, that any reliable theory of needs must recognise the role that a variable sense of self plays in informing the influence of different needs across different social contexts. Secondly, that this role is likely a result of the process of depersonalization, as predicted by SCT. Possible future research is discussed that would build on the findings of this study and validate the current interpretation of results.
Keyword Human needs
Self categorization theory

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Created: Thu, 11 Jun 2015, 14:34:37 EST by Louise Grainger on behalf of School of Psychology