values_theory

THE THEORY OF

HUMAN VALUES

  1. Human values are conceptions of basic categories of desired. (Definition).
  2. - By their nature they are cognitive representations of human motives,
  3. - they are the result of evolution (of individual and of species); they are learned
  4. in the process of social learning,
  5. - personality structures, responsible for development of values are the self and
  6. the super ego.
  7. Human values are absolutely good, desired; there are no bad values or only partially good values. Also the principle of universality is important - something could not be a value for somebody and not for the other one. The "all or nothing" principle holds true.
  8. Human values are conceptions of basic categories of desired for: an individual, a society group or the whole society and in general - for all living creatures who can only be motivated.
  9. Conceptions of basic categories of desired for an individual are personal values. There are as many personal values as there are basic human motives (biological and social).
  10. Human values are the most general motivational goals. Above them no higher measures ("supervalues") exist which could be used for judgment of values importance or desiredness. The principle of human values pluralism holds true.
  11. The most important functions of human values are: As idealized, the most general goals they motivate, they serve people as standards to judge social situations and themselves, they serve as general decision making and conflicts resolving plans and they are also conceptual tools for maintaining the positive image of self.
  12. There is no human values hierarchy in an absolute sense (see item 5!), but individuals can make personal priorities of their values. For people also the developmental consequence of values can be stated. The hierarchical model of human values does not imply higher (more important) or lower (less important) values but shows only the structure of relations among human values. Broader clusters are named with terms that are themselves not values any more.
  13. The measurement of human values can not be absolute (see item 2!). But there exist great differences in personal values priorities.
  14. Human values, personal and social are quite stable. Changes in society bring new priorities, not new human values.
  15. Correlations among human values are weak; each basic human value contributes important information about motivation.
  16. The human values space is structured by two bipolar values macrodimensions. The first continuum is dionisical - apolinical, the second one existential - self fulfillmental (see the picture, generated by the multidimensional scaling method!). Less than 10 human values clusters on the first level show motivational characteristics of a middle range, such as: traditional family values, values of potency, fulfillmental-spiritual values, existential-sensual values, activity values, values of self-concept and autonomy, partnership values, social values etc.

The first macrodimension: DIONISICAL - APOLINICAL is a great dividing line between personal benefit and pleasure on one side and altruism, common benefits and morality on the other side.

The second macrodimension: EXISTENTIAL - SELF FULFILLMENTAL reflects the Maslow's hierarchical principle of basic human needs.

  1. The human values universum is only weakly related to personality traits, measured for instance by The Cattell 16 Personality Factors Questionnaire and The Big Five Questionnaire. They are also weakly related to response styles such as social desirability (measured by lie-scales). But human values are characteristically related to sex differences, to age and to the education level.