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University of Connecticut Social Psychology Intergroup Relations

The Ecology of Power


Power Basis Theory :: Description :: Researching Power :: Findings :: Teaching Resources :: Collaborators :: Bibliography

Psychological-Behavioral-Ecological Model

Power Basis Theory says that people are motivated by needs to take action to fulfill those needs.

People generally need to belong to a community, to be able to be cared for by others, to eat, to be well, to know how to interact competently with their environments, and so forth.

Sometimes such needs become acute.

If the person-ecology system is working correctly, people are sensitive to the correct need, which motivates them to fulfill the need by taking action.

Such actions likely reduce the acute needs, but also change the ecological conditions for that person and others.

If the person's ecology does not afford meeting needs, then the person may try to migrate or otherwise change her local ecology. If this is not possible, or if the ecology changes for the worse, needs can go unmet. In the most dire circumstances of unmet needs, they die.

Certain psychological problems can cause people's sensitivity systems and motivational systems to misfunction.