How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The CIA Needs Model
This is an interconnected model of needs that is unique to the Changing Minds site. What makes it really useful is the simple focus it gives to three key needs. This lets us use it for persuasion by giving a map of the needs hot-buttons that drive people forward.
Note: The CIA Model is an update of the earlier CIN Model. Novelty has been now replaced with arousal as this is a deeper and more encompassing need.
CIA stands for Control, Identity and Arousal, which is the general priority order in which we experience them.
Control and Identity are hidden in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, with lower needs for health and safety appearing in the need for a sense of control, and higher needs for belonging, esteem and actualization being related to the deep need for a sense of identity.
Note the we do not always need control and identity--what is important in most cases is that we believe that we have them. Hence the need is for a sense of them.
A common desire is to be 'rich and famous', which betrays the commonality of control and identity needs. Yet what do the rich and famous seek? Stereotypically, they want 'sex, drugs and rock-and-roll' -- in other words, to be aroused.
Evolutionary needs are fundamental and drive satisfaction of the three key needs. These include:
There are a number of other needs which lead to the three key needs.
For a sense of control, we seek:
For a sense of identity, we seek:
For a sense of arousal, we are driven when:
Another way of exploring CIA is to consider the different inner and outer aspects of it. The table below gives indication of this, although it is not definitive.
There have been similar 3-level systems of needs proposed by others. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, there are some close parallels. The CIA model has proven particularly useful in situations of practical persuasion where understanding in these terms can help shape persuasive actions.
Apparently even Linus Torvalds, the orginator of the Linux operating system has described a parallel set of needs as survival, sociability, and entertainment, which is surprisingly close to the CIA needs.
So build tension by impacting their needs, possibly through the systems they have already built to satisfy those needs. Create closure by offering solutions that meet needs.
Give control through such as choice or involvement. Boost identity through such as inclusion or admiration. Offer arousal through such as novelty or challenge.
Our need for arousal and control can conflict. Control is about stability. Arousal may lead to change. As control is the deeper need, it often displaces arousal. So if a competitor is seeking arousal, you could shake their sense of control.
Alderfer, C. (1972). Existence, relatedness, & growth. New York: Free Press
James, W. (1892/1962). Psychology: Briefer course. New York: Collier
Mathes, E. (1981). Maslow's hierarchy of needs as a guide for living. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 21, 69-72
Deci, E. and Ryan, R. (1991). A motivational approach to self: Integration in personality. In R. Dienstbier (Ed.), Perspectives on motivation. Nebraska Symposium on Motivation. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press