Novelty–variety as a candidate basic psychological need: New evidence across three studies
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.
KeywordsPsychological 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.
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 was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Bench, S. W. (2014). The role of boredom in the pursuit of negative experience. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/152674.
- Berlyne, D. E. (1974). Verbal and exploratory responses to visual patterns varying in uncertainty and in redundancy. In D. E. Berlyne (Ed.), Studies in the new experimental aesthetics (pp. 121–156). Washington, DC: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
- Brickman, P., Coates, D., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1978). Lottery winners and accident victims: Is happiness relative? The Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 917–927.Google Scholar
- Cahill-Solis, T. L., & Witryol, S. L. (1994). Children’s exploratory play preferences for four levels of novelty in toy constructions. Genetic Social and General Psychology Monographs, 120, 393–408.Google Scholar
- CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). 2015. Measuring financial well-being: A guide to using the CFPB Financial Well-Being Scale. Washington, DC: CFPB. http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201512_cfpb_financial-well-being-user-guide-scale.pdf.
- Cohen, J. D., McClure, S. M., & Yu, A. J. (2007). Should I stay or should I go? How the human brain manages the trade-off between exploitation and exploration. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 362, 933–942.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2002). Self-determination research: reflections and future directions. In E. L. Deci & R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of self-determination research (pp. 431–441). Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.Google Scholar
- Eliot, L. (1999). What’s going on in there: How the brain and mind develop in the first five years of life. New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
- Evans, J. D. (1996). Straightforward statistics for the behavioral sciences. Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole Publishing Co.Google Scholar
- Görlitz, D. (1987). Exploration in everyday context: Situational components and processes in children and adults. In D. Görlitz & J. F. Wohwill (Eds.), Curiosity, imagination, and play (pp. 106–150). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Mackinnon, A., Jorm, A. F., Christensen, H., Korten, A. E., Jacomb, P. A., & Rodgers, B. (1999). A short form of the positive and negative affect schedule: Evaluation of factorial validity and invariance across demographic variables in a community sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 27(3), 405–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2012). Mplus User’s Guide (7th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
- Nunnally, J. C., & Lemond, L. C. (1973). Exploratory behavior and human development. In H. W. Reese (Ed.), Advances in child development and behavior (Vol. 8, pp. 59–109). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Parmelee, P. A., & Lawton, M. P. (1990). The design of special environments for the aged. In Handbook of the psychology of aging (3rd ed., pp. 464–488).Google Scholar
- Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2017). Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. New York: Guilford Publishing.Google Scholar
- Sheldon, K. M., Boehm, J., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2012). Variety is the spice of happiness: The hedonic adaptation prevention model. The oxford handbook of happiness (pp. 901–914). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Sylvester, B. D., Lubans, D. R., Eather, N., Standage, M., Wolf, S. A., McEwan, D., et al. (2016a). Effects of variety support on exercise-related well-being. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-being, 8(2), 213–231.Google Scholar
- Sylvester, B. D., Standage, M., Dowd, A. J., Martin, L. J., Sweet, S. N., & Beauchamp, M. R. (2014). Perceived variety, psychological needs satisfaction and exercise-related well-being. Psychology & Health, 29(9), 1.Google Scholar
- Wentworth, N., & Witryol, S. L. (2003). Curiosity, exploration and noveltyseeking. In M. H. Bornstein, L. Davidson, C. L. M. Keyes, & K. A. Moore (Eds.), Well-being: Positive development across the life course (pp. 281–294). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.Google Scholar