From Catalog to Classification: Murray's Needs and the Five-Factor Model

Paul T. Costa, Robert R. McCrae

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472 Scopus citations


The alphabetical list of needs described by Murray (1938) has formed the basis for a number of inventories, including the Personality Research Form (PRF; Jackson, 1984). In an attempt to provide a more meaningful classification of the Murray needs, the scales of Form E of the PRF were examined in relation to the NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI; Costa & McCrae, 1985), which measures the five major dimensions of normal personality. Data from 296 adult men and women showed hypothesized correlations on the level of individual scales, and suggested that the Desirability scale of the PRF measures substantive traits when used in a volunteer sample. Although the NEO-PI and PRF have different conceptual origins and measure somewhat different aspects of personality, a joint factor analysis showed that the needs measured by the PRF can be meaningfully organized within the framework of the five-factor model. Use of this taxonomy can facilitate communication between motivational and trait psychologists, and supplement the dynamic interpretation of motives with a second level of interpretation that points to related affective, interpersonal, and experiential styles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-265
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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