What are Emotional Drivers

The Eight Emotional Drivers (Foundation of the EDMA Psychometric Test for Management)

There are eight fundamental Emotional drivers and motivators. Each of these is based on a human psycho-emotional need developed through environmental factors such as family, culture and stage in life. While each of these drivers is present in each individual, they do not have equal importance. They are also achieved in different ways by different individuals in different environments. Every individual has a different order of importance for these eight drivers. We are constantly filling these as emotional gratifications; sometimes in positive ways, sometimes in neutral ways, and sometimes in negative ways. But we are constantly filling them.

The ranking of these drivers can change with time, based on our environment, our experiences, and especially our traumas or strong relationships. They are also affected by loss. These drivers can also be cultivated either positively or negatively by our environment, our culture, our parents, our teachers, and our peers.

The Eight Emotional Drivers


Connection from being with others, or connection with self


Greater ability to maintain security in our lives


Having variety,


Acknowledgments of our virtues and achievements, being noticed


The need to make progress in our plans and finish things – Completion


Learning and growing


Self satisfaction and pride in the things we do

Responsibility and Contribution

The need to Contribute to others

By understanding an individual’s primary emotional drivers, we know their ultimate motivations. When you ask someone if they want more money, while they may say yes, it is not the money they want but what they believe money can buy, whether it be security, significance, or achievement, revealing foundational drivers can help you identify how to fulfill and motivate yourself and others at deeper levels with available resources. A series of “WHY” questions would reveal the real reasons for buying, saving, investing, traveling, etc….

Here are some questions you can ask to determine your partner’s primary emotional gratifications (top 3 drivers)

  • If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it? Follow up would include “why” questions to gain more clarity
  • If you could go anywhere on a trip where would you go? Follow up would include what kind of place you stay at, who would you
  • go with (if any one), what kind of things would you do. These questions can be summarized into “describe your ideal vacation”
  • What would be your ideal project to work on? And why? What has to happen for it to stay ideal?

Emotions of Interaction

When we work with others, whether it is in our job or in our family, we are dealing with people that are driven by emotional drivers that may be different than ours. We are also often dealing with people who have different colored brains. This diversity, while powerful when harnessed, can easily cause frustration, misdirection and lack of productivity.

Understanding how people with specific drivers act and react in a group, enables the ability to influence or lead that group. We should also be aware that different people with different rankings of drivers will affect us differently. Each person satisfies his or her drivers in both positive and negative ways.

The color of each person’s brain also enters into the equation, because it influences an individual’s perception of the task at hand, but emotional drive and colored brain are not directly related. There is no correlation between colored brain, and what a person’s emotional drives are.

Each individual has specific ways to satisfy each of his or her own drivers. The top ranked drivers or “primary drivers” determine to a large extent how a person acts or reacts in a particular situation with another person. Actions and reactions to your surroundings differ with different primary drivers.

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The EDMA is a certified Directive Communication
Psychology Performance tool and is validated by the American Institute of Business Psychology