Novelty–variety as a candidate basic psychological need: New evidence across three studies

  • Leyla Bagheri
  • Marina MilyavskayaEmail author
Original Paper


This paper investigates the plausibility of novelty–variety as a potential basic psychological need in a series of three studies. Using criteria proposed by Baumeister and Leary (Psychol Bull 117:497–529, 1995) and Ryan and Deci (in Self-determination theory: basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. Guilford Publishing, New York, 2017) to establish a motive as a basic human need, we focus on those criteria where evidence is lacking. Specifically, we examine whether novelty–variety is distinct from other needs in Basic Psychological Need Theory (BPNT) proposed by Self-Determination Theory (SDT), whether its absence results in adverse effects and its satisfaction uniquely predicts well-being outcomes, and whether the effects are different across age and personality. In Study 1, participants (N = 202) rated novelty–variety and needs from BPNT (competence, autonomy, relatedness) in three domains to assess its independence from these needs and the extent to which novelty–variety uniquely relates to domain-specific well-being. In Study 2 (N = 414), the fulfillment of novelty–variety and two BPNT needs (autonomy and relatedness) was experimentally manipulated in work-related vignettes, further showing that unsatisfied novelty–variety is related to lower well-being. Finally, the third study (N = 599) accounts for some of the limitations in Study 2 and examines the criteria of universality. Based on the examined criteria, all three studies provide support for further considering novelty–variety as a potential basic psychological need.


Psychological needs Novelty Variety Well-being 



This research was supported by funding from the Social and Humanities Research Council of Canada to M. Milyavskaya.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

L. Bagheri declares that she has no conflict of interest. M. Milyavskaya declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were approved by the institutional research ethics board, and were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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