A few years ago, Kristin Rose and I derived 4 motivational variables
from the 4 contingencies of learning in operant conditioning. Acquire was
derived from positive reinforcement, Cure from negative reinforcement,
Prevent from positive punishment, and Keep from negative punishment. PACK
is formed by arranging the first letter of each motive. The motives can
be organized into a 2 by 2 table that reveals some interesting properties
that are contained in our Journal of Personality article listed below.
These variables have been applied to the personal project obtained in
interviews with individuals in different age groups. One study showed that
Acquire is the leading motive for being engaged in a project irrespective
of age. That result is modified by the fact that there is a clear step-wise
decline in Acquire purposes from young adulthood, through middle adulthood,
and into older age. In one study, Cure (getting rid of an existing negative
condition) rose in the middle-aged group, but that pattern was not replicated
in a follow-up study. Both studies confirmed that Keep (avoiding the loss
of an existing positive condition) rises in later life. I consider that
result to be our prize finding so far. Finally, Prevent is the least used
category of motives across all age groups: a finding that leads me to suspect
that Acquire, Cure, and Keep may frequently operate in the service of a
more implicit purpose to Prevent a negative outcome.
At present, the PACK taxonomy has only been used to score purpose statements
that accompany personal project descriptions. I believe that there are
other areas of application (e.g., organizational development, individuals
differences, product advertisements, political rhetoric) to which the system
can be applied with potentially revealing results.
Papers pertaining to this work are:
Ogilvie, D.M., & Rose, K.M. (1995). Self-with-other representations
and a taxonomy of motives:
Two approaches to studying persons. Journal of Personality, 63, 643-679.
Ogilvie, D.M., Rose, K.M, Heppen, J.B. (2001). A comparison of personal
project motives in
three age groups. Journal of Basic and Applied Psychology, 63, 207-215