Keith Hayes' Experience-Producing Drives: An appreciation and extension

Thomas J. Bouchard, Wendy Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We discuss the idea of experience-producing drives (EPDs) as introduced by Keith J. Hayes and elaborate on the intellectual context in which he developed it, namely behavior genetics, learning theory, motivation, intelligence and evolutionary theory. We then expand the range of application, from the construct of intelligence where it was developed, to the entire domain of individual differences: that is personality, vocational interests, values and attitudes. We argue, consistent with Hayes’ perspective, that EPDs can be understood as facets of an emergent evolved agent designed by evolution to transact actively with the world in a manner conducive to survival and successful reproduction. We stress that “EPD theory” is best conceptualized as a set of ideas that expands the perspective of individual difference psychologists, a meta- rather than formal theory. It is, however, consistent with numerous other perspectives developed over the years in both biology and psychology and we note how. Hayes did not consider whether EPDs might be biologically distinguishable categories and it may not be a relevant question. But we believe numerous useful dimensions can be characterized rigorously, at various developmental ‘stages’, and we provide an example in adulthood that reflects many of Hayes’ ideas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110082
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Early online date22 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 May 2020


  • EPD theory
  • agency
  • intelligence
  • personality
  • vocational interests
  • values
  • social attitudes
  • evolution


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