Reiss defines motives as, “reasons people hold for initiating and performing voluntary behavior. They indicate the meaning of human behavior, and they may reveal a person’s values.” When applying Reiss’ definition of motives to his Theory of 16 Basic Desires, particularly “Saving”, a person’s values deem most pertinent.
Reiss identifies saving as the 16th motive and a basic motive of human behavior: the desire to collect. Outside of the context of Reiss’ study, saving applies to other things such as health of the body and soul. In conclusion, Reiss’ , “basic or fundamental motives have three features: (a) end purposes, (b) universal motivators, and (c) psychological importance.” In the following analysis I will take a look at intrinsic and extrinsic pleasures as well as end goals when considering the “saving” motive.
Intrinsic motivation or pleasure can be described as one’s motivation to participate in things that are internally self-satisfying or build one’s self-concept. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs puts self-actualization at the top of the pyramid. In terms of Reiss’ motives and Maslow’s theory, saving means that accomplishing a certain wealth in terms of money, health, and mental well-being is a top priority after basic physical motives such as hunger. Intrinsic motivation can be looked at as actions people partake in for no other reason than the interest and enjoyment that goes with it. Curiosity and challenge are driving factors behind intrinsic motivations. For example, a person reading a book for pleasure feeds a curiosity factor and the simple reason of finishing a book and enjoying the read. However, Reiss mentions that, “pleasure can be a consequence of behavior rather than a motivating cause.”
Extrinsic motives differ because the pleasures are external to the behavior or activity. Thus, a behavior is rewarded with external factors such as money, trophies, or grades. For example, a child studies more to make better grades. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations can be closely related to end goals. Reiss explores the end goals looking at the nature of the motive behind them.
When talking about the saving motive, extrinsic and intrinsic motivations may be applied. A person may satisfy an intrinsic drive by making money as the completion of a self set challenge, competition, or curiosity of an idea. On the other hand, a person may satisfy the intrinsic drive as well as the extrinsic. When such a person makes money, they are also able to provide for themselves and/or their family, buy material things that represent them, invest in real estate, and maintain and certain lifestyle that the money allows them. The saving motivation’s end purpose is first and foremost survival, then providing for others, then the finer things. Saving’s universal motivators may be mirroring other’s behavior. Like “Most everyone has a job so you should too” or trying to climb the social ladder. Saving’s psychological importance is a peace of mind or a sense of control that a person is able to support themselves giving their lives a sense of balance.
Reiss’ 16 motives guide the design of a space. Spaces do not necessarily consume all the motives at once, but are typically a product of at least one. We will take a closer look at what spaces are driven by the motive of saving. In the application of Reiss’ saving motive to spaces, Augustin mentions homes and other real estate investments as a means to stock away money for the future. Customizing such an investment reveals personal values, a statement of ownership, and the material things one values as well.
Taking into account Augustin’s interpretation of Reiss’ saving motive, I chose two houses featured in Interior Design Magazine. Both, homes or galleries, for that matter, are an end result of saving money as well as collecting belongings. First, Kitty Hawks and her spouses’ large New York apartment ranges in all styles putting importance on the experience of collecting versus the pieces themselves. The space seems to succinctly house their many furnishings collected over the decades. It represents their love for a smart, but eclectic style, as well as a homey feeling full of memories and travels. In contrast, I chose an apartment designed by Hariri and Hariri, where they combined two New York co-ops for art collectors. The space is truly designed around the art. The pieces speak for themselves, and the furnishings are mere decorations. At one end of the spectrum the Hawks’ residence shows their personal values of family, memories and experiences. At the other end, the art co-op displays a love of art as well as a respect for each work with rooms designed around specific pieces. However, both examples display ownership and accomplishment of saving. [On a side note]In contrast, I wanted to show an example of saving, or the desire to collect things, in excess. A form of OCD known as hoarding, which I respectfully understand is a serious condition, is where people are afraid to let go of things that they believe have intense meaning in their lives and a fear of letting those things go.
Before reading The Theory of 16 Basic Desires, my initial reaction to the motive of saving was money, physical health, and soul. Using the three fundamental features of a motive outline by Reiss, I wanted to look a bit further into other spaces that use saving as a motivation in a different sense. Other than a monetary context, saving is defined as tending or serving to save; rescuing; preserving. Therefore, I chose a hospital and a church (or any religious establishment) in addition to the home and their collected belongings within.
A hospital refers to saving one’s physical health. Good physical health is an end goal or purpose of satisfaction of the basic human drives such as hunger: what we need to be able to live. A universal motivator of health is pure survival. One may even go far enough that good health is a universal drive or motivator that is satisfied to the point of reproduction where one is passing on their genes, surviving their family tree. The psychological importance of saving one’s physical health could refer to the healthy body healthy mind theory. One must be physical apt to be able to obtain monetary wealth to satisfy the saving motivation. This in turn allows them to satisfy the saving motivation in terms of homes and real estate investments.
Last, the church may be seen as a saving motivated space. Religion may save the soul. Reiss explores religiosity as a factor associated with honor and vengeance. I believe it can also be applied to saving. This space focuses primarily on the desire for psychological support putting importance on psychological health. “Saving” ones soul may give them a sense of purpose (or “end purpose”). Also, religion may be seen as a universal motivator. Reiss’ results, “implied that people embrace images of supportive and attentive deities not because they fear death, but primarily because images of these gods moderate feelings of autonomy (existence as an independent being), which many people experience as aversive when feelings are too strong.” The church displays a saving motivation in the aspect of valuing the life one is given and honoring whom they believe gave it to them.
In summation, my exploration of Reiss’ motivation for saving is not solely limited to material belongings, money, and real estate investments. Although, they may represent us and show ownership and accomplishment, I believe Reiss’ motivations cross over many spaces and each motivation is also applicable to many genres of spaces. Our homes can individually represent our saving motivation, and places such as churches and hospitals can communally represent what we value. Whatever the motivation behind the action, these spaces speak volumes about what drives our society intrinsically and extrinsically as well as human behaviors in general.