July 13, 2016

Is need for novelty the fourth basic psychological need?

We may need to keep on experiencing new things in order to keep on functioning well and feeling well. 

Self-determination theory has identified three basic, innate psychological needs - the need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness - which need to be fulfilled for optimal functioning. In a paper by González-Cutre et al. (2016) preliminary evidence is provided that need for novelty is also a basic psychological need contributing to optimal functioning. In two studies, participants completed a new measure to assess novelty need satisfaction, the Novelty Need Satisfaction Scale (NNSS), measures of psychological needs and regulation styles and psychological well-being.


The NNSS consists of the following 6 items: 

  1. I feel I do novel things
  2. I frequently feel there are novelties for me
  3. I feel new sensations
  4. I think that new situations come up for me
  5. I have the opportunity to innovate
  6. I think I discover new things frequently 

Both the psychometric properties and the discriminant validity with other psychological needs of the NNSS scale were found to be adequate in both studies. Furthermore, novelty need satisfaction predicted life satisfaction (Study 1) and intrinsic motivation (Study 2) independent of the other three psychological needs.

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