The Reiss Motivation Profile® –
Self Discovery Version


Self-discovery is a process of learning who you are and how you are similar to, and different from, other people. Psychologists have developed three methods for self-discovery called psychodynamic, personality type theory, and human needs theory.

  • Psychodynamic self-discovery purports to teach people about their unconscious thoughts and desires, and how such hidden mental processes might relate to past childhood experiences. It was based on the study of mental illness.
  • Personality type theory, as stated by Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs, purports to teach people about innate tendencies for processing information and how such tendencies might determine their personality traits. It was based on the mysticism of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.
  • Human needs theory, as stated by Steven Reiss, purports to teach people how their personality traits arise from intrinsic motives and values. It is based on the study of conscious purposes as revealed by large, scientifically-valid surveys of diverse groups of people.

The Reiss Motivation Profile® (RMP) is a standardized, comprehensive assessment of a person's needs, interests, motives, and life goals.

Ages: The RMP can be used with individuals ages 12 and older.

Length: This is a self-report questionnaire consisting of 128 items.

Administration: After a client completes the questionnaire online from any computer that is connected to the Internet, you are able to download and print the report within seconds. You then decide how best to share the findings with the client. Administration time is about 15 minutes.

Results: You receive a 20-page, plain-language report that discusses how the individual prioritizes and combines the following 16 needs and what this means in terms of the individual's values, personality traits, behavior, and likely interpersonal conflicts.

The 16 needs 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


Norms: A re-norming of the RMP in 2017 was based on more than 80,000 people from 23 countries across three continents: North America, Europe, and Asia.

Validation: Steven Reiss, Ph.D., conducted scientific surveys and then used factor analytic methods to delineate 16 human needs. He and independent researchers, notably Ken Olson, Ph.D., then validated each of the 16 needs against personality measures (e.g., Big 5 scales, other motivation scales, Anxiety Sensitivity Index, romance scales) and as an indicator of behavior (e.g., interest in college major, club memberships, television viewing habits, participation in sports, participation in humanitarian causes). Reiss reported his work in 17 scientific journal articles -- three published in prestigious APA journals -- and four books. Since then, others have published books on the RMP. Interest in the RMP is growing globally. Practitioners usually can "see" the validity of the tool. In other words, the validity is apparent and is not limited to statistics.