As long as there have been artists and scientists, there have been probes into both the art and the science underlying what people want. In the digital world (which almost approximates the "real" world, at this moment in time), John Batelle coined the concept of the "database of intentions," an aggregation of what people are thinking about and want as indicated by what they search for and post online.
In the similarly data-driven realm of behavioral finance, Meir Statman recently cataloged his list of investor desires into the book "What Investors Really Want: Discover What Drives Investor Behavior and Make Smarter Financial Decisions."
This is the last week of our exploration into the parallels between Statman’s list of investor desires and the desires of housing consumers (i.e., those who pay money for a place to live).
In the artistic world, Pablo Picasso went barely abstract when he painted his desires for his mistress over and over again (barely, inasmuch as his wife eventually figured out that the blonde in all those paintings wasn’t a symbol of world peace — she was the other woman); Christina Aguilera went all concrete with it in her teen-pop anthem "What a Girl Wants."