Fundamental motives

How evolutionary needs influence consumer behavior

Vladas Griskevicius, Douglas Kenrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

102 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Can we better understand modern consumer behavior by examining its links to our ancestral past? We consider the underlying motives for consumption and choice from an evolutionary perspective. We review evidence that deep-seated evolutionary motives continue to influence much modern behavior, albeit not always in obvious or conscious ways. These fundamental motives include: (1) evading physical harm, (2) avoiding disease, (3) making friends, (4) attaining status, (5) acquiring a mate, (6) keeping a mate, and (7) caring for family. We discuss how, why, and when these motives influence behavior, highlighting that many consumer choices ultimately function to help fulfill one or more of these evolutionary needs. An important implication of this framework is that a person's preferences, behaviors, and decision processes change in predictable ways depending on which fundamental motive is currently active. We discuss how consideration of evolutionary motives provides fertile ground for future consumer research, while also helping build bridges between consumer behavior, evolutionary biology, and other social sciences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-386
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013

Fingerprint

Social Sciences
Research
Consumer Behavior
Consumer behaviour
Evolutionary
Choice function
Consumer choice
Evolutionary biology
Process change
Decision process
Consumer research
Social sciences

Keywords

  • Consumer behavior
  • Decision making
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing

Cite this

Fundamental motives : How evolutionary needs influence consumer behavior. / Griskevicius, Vladas; Kenrick, Douglas.

In: Journal of Consumer Psychology, Vol. 23, No. 3, 07.2013, p. 372-386.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{d235ffd8bd5248d48f3357d23f14c353,
title = "Fundamental motives: How evolutionary needs influence consumer behavior",
abstract = "Can we better understand modern consumer behavior by examining its links to our ancestral past? We consider the underlying motives for consumption and choice from an evolutionary perspective. We review evidence that deep-seated evolutionary motives continue to influence much modern behavior, albeit not always in obvious or conscious ways. These fundamental motives include: (1) evading physical harm, (2) avoiding disease, (3) making friends, (4) attaining status, (5) acquiring a mate, (6) keeping a mate, and (7) caring for family. We discuss how, why, and when these motives influence behavior, highlighting that many consumer choices ultimately function to help fulfill one or more of these evolutionary needs. An important implication of this framework is that a person's preferences, behaviors, and decision processes change in predictable ways depending on which fundamental motive is currently active. We discuss how consideration of evolutionary motives provides fertile ground for future consumer research, while also helping build bridges between consumer behavior, evolutionary biology, and other social sciences.",
keywords = "Consumer behavior, Decision making, Evolutionary psychology, Motivation",
author = "Vladas Griskevicius and Douglas Kenrick",
year = "2013",
month = "7",
doi = "10.1016/j.jcps.2013.03.003",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "23",
pages = "372--386",
journal = "Journal of Consumer Psychology",
issn = "1057-7408",
publisher = "Elsevier Inc.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Fundamental motives

T2 - How evolutionary needs influence consumer behavior

AU - Griskevicius, Vladas

AU - Kenrick, Douglas

PY - 2013/7

Y1 - 2013/7

N2 - Can we better understand modern consumer behavior by examining its links to our ancestral past? We consider the underlying motives for consumption and choice from an evolutionary perspective. We review evidence that deep-seated evolutionary motives continue to influence much modern behavior, albeit not always in obvious or conscious ways. These fundamental motives include: (1) evading physical harm, (2) avoiding disease, (3) making friends, (4) attaining status, (5) acquiring a mate, (6) keeping a mate, and (7) caring for family. We discuss how, why, and when these motives influence behavior, highlighting that many consumer choices ultimately function to help fulfill one or more of these evolutionary needs. An important implication of this framework is that a person's preferences, behaviors, and decision processes change in predictable ways depending on which fundamental motive is currently active. We discuss how consideration of evolutionary motives provides fertile ground for future consumer research, while also helping build bridges between consumer behavior, evolutionary biology, and other social sciences.

AB - Can we better understand modern consumer behavior by examining its links to our ancestral past? We consider the underlying motives for consumption and choice from an evolutionary perspective. We review evidence that deep-seated evolutionary motives continue to influence much modern behavior, albeit not always in obvious or conscious ways. These fundamental motives include: (1) evading physical harm, (2) avoiding disease, (3) making friends, (4) attaining status, (5) acquiring a mate, (6) keeping a mate, and (7) caring for family. We discuss how, why, and when these motives influence behavior, highlighting that many consumer choices ultimately function to help fulfill one or more of these evolutionary needs. An important implication of this framework is that a person's preferences, behaviors, and decision processes change in predictable ways depending on which fundamental motive is currently active. We discuss how consideration of evolutionary motives provides fertile ground for future consumer research, while also helping build bridges between consumer behavior, evolutionary biology, and other social sciences.

KW - Consumer behavior

KW - Decision making

KW - Evolutionary psychology

KW - Motivation

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84878929659&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84878929659&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.jcps.2013.03.003

DO - 10.1016/j.jcps.2013.03.003

M3 - Article

VL - 23

SP - 372

EP - 386

JO - Journal of Consumer Psychology

JF - Journal of Consumer Psychology

SN - 1057-7408

IS - 3

ER -