Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

pp 1-4

Date: Latest Version


  • Amir GhoniemAffiliated withSocial Cognition Center Cologne, University of Cologne Email author 
  • , Wilhelm HofmannAffiliated withSocial Cognition Center Cologne, University of Cologne


Cravings; Drives; Impulses; Needs; Urges; Wants


Desires are motivations that “propel us to approach certain stimuli in our environment and engage in activities with them that provide us with a relative gain in immediate pleasure (including relief from discomfort)” (Hofmann et al. 2015, p. 62).


In our everyday lives, people frequently experience desires that spur human behaviors (Hofmann et al. 2012c). Desires can be broadly conceptualized as all wishes, wants, or aspirations one holds. A reasonably narrow definition of desire conceptualizes desire as appetitive desires which refer to motivations that drive us to approach certain stimuli in the environment or to engage in certain activities which promise pleasure or relief from displeasure or discomfort (Hofmann et al. 2015). Hence, in contrast to general motives (such as self-actualization motives or implicit motives), desires are more specific and refer to certain objects, people, or activities (Hofmann et ...

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