Buch: Brunello Gianella, Daniele Gianella, Maximilian Koch, Irene Krötlinger and Benjamin Schulz


What Motivates You?

What determines your life? What is really important to you?
What makes you successful? What makes you happy?

As US psychologist Steven Reiss found out after many years of research with thousands of test subjects, not only one or two basic desires determine our existence, but 16 vital needs and values - our basic desires. Thereby, every person has – like an individual fingerprint – a distinctive “basic desire profile”.

Reiss Motivation Profile® is the first empirically developed test that gives a complete picture of a person’s motivation and basic desire structure. It shows which motives and values guide our actions in our private and professional lives, how we can develop our full performance potential, what goals contribute to us feeling satisfied with our life, and how we can “manage” our relations with other people.

The RMP is the centerpiece of a new strategy for coaching people at work. This new method is both quick and accurate, often leading to inexpensive, practical solutions.

“When we learn our values, we think we have learned something important about human nature, when in truth we have learned about ourselves.“

Steven Reiss


Brunello Gianella, Daniele Gianella, Maximilian Koch, Irene Krötlinger and Benjamin Schulz

Steven Reiss is a retired tenured Professor of Psychology living in Columbus, Ohio. He was educated at Dartmouth College (A.B.) and Yale University (Ph.D.) and completed a clinical psychology internship at Harvard Medical School. He is a Senior Fellow of Dartmouth College and a Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the American Association on Intellectual Disabilities. He taught at The Ohio State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In a series of scientific studies, Steven Reiss identified 16 basic desires of human nature. This research was reported in numerous newspapers of record worldwide in addition to scientific journals of the highest quality. He is the author of the Reiss Motivation Profile ®(RMP), a widely used standardized psychological assessment of what motivates someone. His methods are taught through a worldwide network of training institutes. The RMP has many applications including self-discovery; motivating workforce; human resources; leadership training; conflict resolution; motivating students; world-class athletics (Olympic teams); counseling; coaching; relationships; marketing; faith-based counseling; and wellness. The instrument has been translated into most European languages as well as an increasing number of Asian languages.

In 1985 Steven Reiss proposed (with Richard McNally) the concept of anxiety sensitivity, which has been validated in more than 1,600 peer-reviewed studies. He is the author of the Anxiety Sensitivity Index, which is a standardized psychological assessment widely used throughout the world to study and diagnose Panic Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In the 1980s and 1990s Steven Reiss conducted extensive research on the mental health aspects of intellectual disabilities, or the co-occurrence of psychiatric disorders and developmental disabilities. This work was recognized with five national awards and was cited to help justify hundreds of new psychiatric and psychological clinics in North America and Europe. In 1988 he authored the Reiss Screen for Maladaptive Behavior, a standardized assessment tool that has been used extensively to screen for the need for psychiatric services. He gave an invited presentation before the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice in addition to three invited presentations at the National Institutes of Health. In 1987 Steven Reiss organized the first-ever international research conference on the mental health aspects of intellectual disabilities. The Director of the National Institute of Mental Health convened an ad hoc review panel specifically to fast track the funding for this conference. Steven Reiss received three awards for volunteer efforts serving people with disabilities.

In 1995 Steven Reiss was diagnosed with a life-threatening autoimmune disease, and in 2002 he received a liver transplant at The Ohio State University Medical Center. With Linda Jones he started a national program to improve access to organ transplantation for people with intellectual disabilities. This work has been reported in hundreds of newspapers and was cited in a number of recent nationally publicized cases. Since 1995 Steven Reiss has worked with recurrent, life-threatening illnesses.

In 2008 Steven Reiss founded the World Society of Motivation Scientists and Professionals, a nonprofit organization.

Steven Reiss’s theory of religion builds on and extends William James’s observation that different types of people respond to different aspects of religion. The publication of this theory in academic journals, notably Zygon, was reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education and in the Washington Post. Steven Reiss believes that religious experiences are about the meaning of life and cannot be reduced to just one or two themes – such as morality, community, or fear of death – as some previous scholars asserted.

According to the Social Science Citation Index, other psychologists and scholars have cited Reiss’s research frequently.

In 1971 Steven Reiss married Maggi Musico. Maggi, a graduate of Smith College (A.B.) and the University of Illinois at Chicago (M.A.) is a school psychologist and president of IDS Publishing Corporation, which was founded in 1987. They have two adult children: Michael, who is a statistician, and Benjamin, who is a physician. In 2012 Michael married Kristen Lambert, an architect.