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Scientific approach

The first question was: „Who am I?“

It was a situation in his personal life which led the psychology professor Steven Reiss to start studying motivation empirically – and so pursue a new line of thinking.

Professor Dr. Steven Reiss – Founder of the Reiss Profile®

Steven Reiss was the “scientific father” of the Reiss Profile®. He studied at the renowned US universities Dartmouth College, Yale University and Harvard Medical School. Up to his retirement in 2009 he was Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Ohio State University and director of the Nisonger Center for Mental Retardation. 

His research on psychological needs, motivation and susceptibility to fear has been highly influential in the scientific world and has been recognised with five US awards. He has published 80 articles and three reference works which have been translated into many languages. According to the Social Science Citation Index he was one of the most frequently quoted psychologists in the US during his period of research and apprenticeship. 

A modern approach to research on motivation

At home in the world of clinical psychology it was a personal experience which led Steven Reiss to take a scientific approach to motivation. After recovering from a life-threatening illness he asked the question “Who am I?” and: “What really motivates me?”

Following in the tradition of Maslow, Allport and Murray, Reiss saw basic desires as the key to understanding behaviour. But he wanted in particular to lay an empirical foundation for motivational research. Working with a team of researchers he carried out a whole series of studies involving more than 2,500 testees from a variety of age and ethnic groups, and employment backgrounds. Using these results as his basis he developed the Reiss Profile® method, which delivers excellent levels of validity and is used world-wide.

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