Social psychologists will argue about which precise needs should be categorized as fundamental human motives. We stay away from these kinds of debates, and instead investigate the origins and operation of these kinds of needs—existential needs like needs for control, predictability, and justice, as well as more social needs like the needs for belongingness and self-esteem.
*Not much current research in the lab focuses on this topic*
Laurin, K., Kay, A. C., & Landau, M. J. (in press). ML2 Commentary: Structure and goal pursuit: Individual and cultural differences. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science.
Laurin, K., & Kay, A. C. (2017). The motivational underpinnings of belief in God. In J. M. Olson (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 56, pp. 201-257). London: Academic Press.
Laurin, K. (2015). From fundamental motives to religious dimensions: Minding the gap. Religion, Brain & Behavior, 5, 240-247.
Kay, A. C., Laurin, K., Fitzsimons, G. M, & Landau, M. J. (2014). A functional basis for structure-seeking: Exposure to structure promotes willingness to engage in motivated action. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143, 486-491.
Laurin, K., Schumann, K., & Holmes, J. G. (2104). A relationship With God? Connecting with the divine to assuage fears of interpersonal rejection. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5, 777-785.
Laurin, K., Kay, A. C., & Shepherd, S. (2011). Self-stereotyping as a route to system justification. Social Cognition, 29, 360-375.
Laurin, K., Shepherd, S., & Kay, A. C. (2010). System inescapability and defense of the status quo: System-justifying consequences of restricted exit opportunities. Psychological Science, 21, 1075-1082.
Kay, A. C., Moscovitch, D. M., & Laurin, K. (2010). Randomness, Attributions of Arousal, and Belief in God. Psychological Science, 21, 216-218.
Laurin, K., Kay, A. C., & Moscovitch, D. M. (2008). On the belief in God: Towards an understanding of the emotional substrates of compensatory control. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1559-1562.
Kay, A. C., Gaucher, D., Napier, J. L., Callan, M. J., & Laurin, K. (2008). God and the Government: Testing a compensatory control mechanism for the support of external systems. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 18-35.