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Have a look at the TAT picture presented earlier, on page 357. Write a short story about what is happening in this picture. However, instead of writing off the top of your head, try to write a story that would score high on the need for achievement. What themes would you put in such a story? What actions and outcomes might be interpreted as indicating high nAch? What you consciously try to put into such a story are the themes and acts that psychologists look for in the stories of people writing naturally. Some put plenty of such themes and acts into their stories quite naturally and, so, seem to see achievement-related behaviors all around. Others reveal that their stories, and the characters therein, act in very nonstriving, nonachieving ways. And this comes perfectly naturally to them when they make up a story about an ambiguous situation.

Increasing the Need for Achievement

Research on the achievement motive typically takes the form of correlating TAT need for achievement (nAch) scores with other measures thought to be related to achievement. Demonstrating the relationship between nAch and success in entrepreneurial activities is one example of this type of research. Starting and managing a small business appears to of fer a high degree of satisfaction for the person with a strong need to achieve. It provides an opportunity to engage in a challenging pursuit, to assume responsibility for making decisions and taking action, and to obtain swift and objective feedback about the success of one' s performance. Studies in several countries have found that men with a high nAch are more attracted to business occupations than are their peers who have a low nAch (McClelland, 1965). A study of farmers (who are, in ef fect, small business operators) showed that those with a high need to achieve were more likely than low nAch farmers to adopt innovative farming practices and to show improved rates of production over time (Singh, 1978).

Research on entrepreneurial talent has not been limited to business activities. Some studies have examined the work habits of college students. Students with high nAch appear to be more deliberate in their pursuit of good grades: they are more likely to investigate course requirements before enrolling in a class, to speak with a professor prior to exams, and to contact the professor about the exam after it was given to obtain feedback about their performance (Andrews, 1967). In a very dif fer-ent subject sample, blue-collar workers with high nAch engaged in more problemsolving activities after being laid of f than did unemployed workers lower in nAch: they started looking for a new job sooner and used a greater number of job-seeking strategies (Koestner & McClelland, 1990).

More recent studies on entrepreneurial orientation examined achievement motives in a group of students of small business (a major considered to have high entrepreneurial potential) and compared them to a group of students of economics (considered to have much less entrepreneurial potential). Results showed that small business students were significantly higher on achievement motivation than the eco nomics students (Sagie & Elizur, 1999). A study by Langens (2001) also supports the notion that training for high need for achievement can promote success in business. It seems that persons with high achievement motives are drawn to careers that have more potential risk and uncertainty , where success is a matter of personal responsibility and where emer gency problem solving is routine.

There are also cultural differences in how the need for achievement is expressed. In the United States, most high achieving high school students strive for good grades for themselves. Many students, and their parents, go to great lengths to achieve. Cheating can be common, and some students do not view cheating as wrong. The psychologist Demerath (2001) even reports that some parents of high achieving students sought to have them classified as special-education students, which would entitle the to extra time on standardized tests. When he went to Papua New Guinea, Demerath found a very dif ferent norm among students. There school is seen as a noncompeti-tive place where it is important for all to do well. Doing well as an individual, especially if it is at the expense of others, is frowned upon. In fact, New Guineans call this "acting extra" and view it as a form of vanity . Given the cultural dif ferences between New Guinea and the United States, such dif ferences in how the need for achievement is expressed make sense. People in Papua, New Guinea, make their living at farming and fishing, and they need to know that if they get sick or somethin happens and they cannot work their fields or nets that others will pitch in and help In collectivist cultures, individual achievement is less valued than the person who helps his or her group achieve.

Determining Sex Differences

Much of the research on nAch, particularly that done in the 1950s and 1960s, was conducted on males only . Perhaps this was due to the fact that Harvard (where both Murray and McClelland did much of their research) was primarily a male institution at that time. Or it might have been due to the biased belief of that period that achievement was important only in the lives of men. Whatever the reason, little was known about achievement strivings in women until the 1970s and 1980s. Since then, some similarities and some differences have been found between men and women. Men and women high in nAch are similar in their preference for moderate challenge, personal responsibility for the outcome, and tasks with feedback. The major dif ferences between such men and women occurs in two areas: the life outcomes predicted by nAch and childhood experiences. Let's consider each of these in turn.

Research on men has focused primarily on achievement in business as a typical life outcome predicted by nAch. Research on women, however , has identified dif ferent "achievement trajectories," depending on whether the women value having a family or value having both family and work goals. Among women who value both work and family, nAch is related more to achieving better grades and to completing college, marrying, and starting a family later than it is among women low in nAch with career and family interests. Among women who are more exclusively focused on family, nAch is seen in the women' s investment in activities related to dating and courtship, such as placing greater emphasis on physical appearance and talking with friends about their boyfriends more frequently (Koestner & McClelland, 1990). Such findings underscore researchers need to know the subjects' goals before they can make predictions about success in particular areas.

The second major dif ference between men and women has been in the childhood experiences associated with nAch. Among women, nAch is associated with a stressful or difficult early family life. The mothers of girls high in nAch were found to be critical of their daughters and to be aggressive and competitive toward them (Kagan & Moss, 1962). The mothers of high-achieving schoolgirls were also less nur-turant and af fectionate toward their daughters than the mothers of less academically successful girls (Crandall et al., 1964). In contrast, the early lives of males high in nAch are characterized by parental support and care. An interesting related findin concerns the levels of nAch in children who come from families in which the parents have divorced or separated. A nationally representative study found that women whose parents had divorced or separated when they were children had higher nAch scores than women whose parents had stayed together . The opposite outcome was found for men (V eroff et al., 1960). Living with a single mom may provide an achieving role model for young girls, whereas for boys it may demonstrate that men are unnecessary to family life and perhaps even to be resented.

Several recent studies have examined gender differences in competitive achievement settings. In one study the researchers had 40 men and 40 women solve simple addition problems as quickly as they could, paying them 50 cents for each correct answer (Niederle & Vesterlund, 2005). In one condition the participants simply played against the clock, trying to solve as many problems as they could. In another condition the game was changed to a tournament, where subjects were divided into teams of two women or two men each, and they played against each other . The winning team received $2.00 for each problem they solved and the losing team received nothing. They found that men and women performed equally well in both conditions: the tournament setting and the individual setting. The experimenters then had a third round, where each person could choose whether they wanted to play individually or in a tournament setting. Interestingly , only 35 percent of the women chose the tournament setting, whereas 75 percent of the men chose the tournament setting. The authors concluded that, even in settings where women perform just as well as men, they are less likely to want to engage in direct competition with others. Women may be more selective in how they express their achievement strivings, especially when winning for oneself means that others lose.

Promoting Achievement Motivation in Children

Despite the sex dif ferences in childhood antecedents of achievement, McClelland believed that certain parental behaviors could promote high achievement motivation in children. One of these parenting practices is placing an emphasis on independence training. Parents can behave in ways that promote autonomy and independence in their children. For example, a young child who is taught to feed him- or herself becomes independent of the parents during feeding time; a child who is toilet trained early no longer relies on his or her parents for assistance with this task. One longitudinal study found that strict toilet training in early childhood is associated with high need for achievement 26 years later (McClelland & Pilon, 1983). Training a child to be independent in various tasks of life promotes a sense of mastery and confidenc in the child. This may be one way that parents can promote a need for achievement in their children.

A second parental practice associated with need for achievement is setting challenging standards for the child (Heckhausen, 1982). Parents need to let the child know what is expected of him or her. These expectations should not exceed the child's abilities, however, or else the child may give up. The idea is for parents to provide goals that challenge the child, support the child in working toward these goals, and reward

Condoleezza Rice was a straight-A student in grade school, began studying classical piano at age 10, and was a competitive ice skater, rising at 4:30 to practice for two hours before school each day. At age 38 she became provost at Stanford University, then became a National Security Advisor, and currently is the Secretary of State.

Condoleezza Rice was a straight-A student in grade school, began studying classical piano at age 10, and was a competitive ice skater, rising at 4:30 to practice for two hours before school each day. At age 38 she became provost at Stanford University, then became a National Security Advisor, and currently is the Secretary of State.

Table 11.2 Raising High Need for Achievement Children

• Set tough but realistic standards

• Applaud successes and celebrate accomplishments

• Acknowledge but don't dwell on failures. Stress that failures are part of learning

• Avoid instilling a fear of failure, and instead emphasize the motive to succeed

• Stress effort over ability: instead of saying "You can do it because you are smart" say "You can do it if you really try"

the child when the goal is attained. Positive and frequent success experiences appear to be part of the prescription for developing a heightened need for achievement. For example, learning the ABCs is a challenging task for a 4-year -old; parents might encourage a young child to undertake this task, enthusiastically sing the ABC song with the child, and reward the child with praise and hugs when he or she recites the alphabet independently for the first time

Finally, a recent study has shown that persons with a secure attachment style, as described in Chapter 10, typically develop a higher level of adult achievement motivation than persons with avoidant or ambivalent attachment styles (Elliot & Reis, 2003). These researchers hypothesized that children with secure attachments were more likely to explore their environments and to thereby learn new skills. Over time, learning to be ef fective leads to higher achievement motivation and to valuing one' s own competencies and seeing life' s difficulties as challenges to be overcome rathe than as opportunities to fail.

A recent developmental theory of achievement motivation has been proposed by the psychologist Carol Dweck (2005). This theory emphasizes the beliefs that people develop about their abilities and competencies. Briefl , the theory holds that the most adaptive belief system is that abilities are not fixed but that they are malleabl and can be developed through ef fort. Dweck (2002) ar gues that sometimes even "smart" people succumb to the belief that their abilities are fixed or given or geneti cally determined, that their current performance reflects their long-term potential, an that truly gifted persons do not need ef fort to achieve. She ar gues that this set of beliefs is "dumb" in the sense that people who hold such beliefs will consequently have a low need for achievement. It is more adaptive, Dweck holds, to believe that abilities are changeable, that one's performance is a temporary indicator of where one is, not where one will ultimately be, and that one' s true potential will only be realized through sustained ef fort. This new theory is having an impact on schools and other educational settings (Elliot & Dweck, 2005).

Need for Power

Another motive of interest to psychologists is based on the need for power—the desire to have an impact on others.

Impact on Others

Although McClelland was known primarily for his studies of the achievement motive, both he and several of his students went on to study other motives. One of his students—David Winter—focused a good deal of his research on the need for power (nPow). Winter (1973) defines the need for power as a readiness or preference fo having an impact on other people. As with the need to achieve, the need for power is assumed to energize and direct behavior when the person is in opportune situations for exerting power. The TAT has likewise been the predominant assessment tool for research on nPow. The subjects' stories are scored for the presence of images related to themes of power. These include descriptions of strong or vigorous actions, behaviors that bring about strong reactions in others, and statements that emphasize the importance of a character's status or reputation.

Research Findings

Many studies have examined the correlates of individual dif ferences in nPow . The need for power correlates positively with having ar guments with others, being elected to student of fice in college, taking la ger risks in gambling situations, behaving assertively and actively in a small-group setting, and acquiring more of what Winter calls "prestige possessions," such as sports cars, credit cards, and nameplates for dormitory doors (Winter, 1973).

It appears that an individual high in nPow is interested in control—control of situations and other people (Assor , 1989). Men high in nPow rate their "ideal wives" as those who are under the men' s control and dependent on them, perhaps because such relationships offer them a sense of superiority (Winter, 1973). Men high in nPow are also more likely to abuse their spouses (Mason & Blankenship, 1987). A person with a high need for power prefers as friends people who are not well known or popular, perhaps because such people do not pose a threat to the person' s prestige or status (Winter, 1973).

Sex Differences

Research on the power motive has found no sex dif ferences in average levels of nPow or in the kinds of situations that arouse the power motive. Men and women also do not differ in the life outcomes that are associated with nPow , such as having formal social power (e.g., holding of fice), having powe -related careers (e.g., being a manager), or gathering prestige possessions (e.g., sports cars).

The largest and most consistent sex dif ference is that high nPow men, but not women, perform a wide variety of impulsive and aggressive behaviors. Men high in nPow are more likely than men low in nPow to have dissatisfying dating relationships, arguments with others, and higher divorce rates. Men high in nPow are also more likely to engage in the sexual exploitation of women, have more frequent sex partners, and engage in sex at an earlier age than do their counterparts who are lower in nPow. Men with a strong need for power also abuse alcohol more than those with a low need for power (feelings of power often increase under the influence of alco hol). None of these correlates have been found for women.

"Profligate impulsive behaviors (drinking, aggression, and sexual exploitation) are less likely to occur if an individual has had responsibility training (Winter & Barenbaum, 1985). Taking care of younger siblings is an example of responsibility training. Having one' s own children provides another opportunity to learn to behave responsibly. Among people who have had such responsibility training, nPow is not related to profligate impulsive behavior ( inter, 1988). These findings have le Winter and others (e.g., Jenkins, 1994) to assert that socialization experiences, not biological sex per se, determine whether nPow will be expressed in these maladap-tive behaviors.

Health Status and the Need for Power

As you might imagine, people high in nPow do not deal well with frustration and conflict. When these people do not get their way , or when their power is challenged or blocked, they are likely to show strong stress responses. McClelland (1982) called such obstacles power stress and hypothesized that people high in nPow were vulnerable to various ailments and diseases because of the stresses associated with inhibited power . A study of college students found that, when power motives were inhibited or stressed, the subjects' immune function became less ef ficient and they reported more frequen illnesses, such as colds and the flu (see McClelland & Jemmott, 1980). A later study of male prisoners found similar results, with prisoners high in nPow showing the highest levels of illness and the lowest levels of immune antibodies (McClelland, Alexander, & Marks, 1982). Other studies have demonstrated that inhibiting the power motive among people high in nPow is linked with high blood pressure. This relationship was also found in a longitudinal study , which revealed that the inhibited power motive measured in men in their early thirties significantly predicted elevated blood pressur and signs of hypertension 20 years later (McClelland, 1979).

An interesting laboratory study induced power stress by having people lead a group discussion without knowing that the group' s members were coached ahead of time to disagree with the leader and to display a lot of conflict (Fodo , 1985). The group leader was assessed for muscle tension. Consistent with McClelland' s theory, the greatest tension responses were found for those leaders in the group conflict con dition who were high in nPow .

War and Peace and Power

In a fascinating line of research, Winter investigated nPow on a national level and related it to the broad areas of war and peace. Traditionally, nPow is measured by evaluating stories written in response to TAT pictures. However, nPow (as well as any motive) can be determined by assessing just about any written document, ranging from children's fairy tales to presidential speeches. Winter analyzed the content of 300 years of State of the Parliament speeches given by the prime ministers of England. Each of the speeches was rated for the presence of power images. He then used these image scores to predict warfare activity in these three centuries of British history . Winter found that wars were started when power imagery in the parliamentary speeches was high. Once under way , wars ended only after the levels of power imagery in the speeches ended. Similar analyses were done on the British-German communications during World War I, as well as on U.S.-Soviet communications during the Cuban missile crisis of the 1960s (W inter, 1993). In these cases, increases in power images preceded military actions, whereas decreases in power imagery preceded decreases in military threat.

Winter (2002) has recently conducted research on the motivational dimensions of effective leadership. He analyzes the motive profiles of various contempo rary political leaders (e.g., President Bush) to examine how their motives influenced their leadership style an success. Winter shows how different motives can have

George Bush President
Speeches delivered by national leaders can be analyzed for themes of power. The presence of power imagery may predict the onset of war (Winter, 2002).

both strengths and weaknesses, but ultimately he comes up with a motivational prescription for ef fective leadership: the key is balance between motives, with power motivation balanced by af filiation, and achievement balanced by power concerns Overall, the responsible leader should want to achieve much, be willing to exercise a good deal of power to attain those goals, yet want to maintain good relationships with all other important persons or governments.

In an extension of this research, Winter and his students examined how power images in communications may lead to escalation in conflict (Peterson, Winter, & Doty, 1994). Subjects were asked to write replies to letters taken from real conflic situations. The letters the subjects were responding to were altered to create two versions: one with high power imagery and the other with low power imagery . Otherwise, the content of the letters remained the same. The subjects' responses were then analyzed for themes of power . Subjects responded to power imagery with power images of their own. Assuming that the other side would similarly respond with more power images, it is easy to see how conflicts might escalate to violence. Misconcep tions about the other side' s motives, including the assumption that the motive guiding the opponents' behavior does not exert a comparable influence on one s own, can lead to unfortunate consequences, such as the perpetuation of prejudice between members of dif ferent groups (Miller & Prentice, 1994).

More recent studies of communications between governments involved in crises have revealed similar motive patterns (Langner & Winter, 2001). Analyzing official documents during four international crises, Langner and Winter found that making concessions was associated with af filiative motives expressed in the com munications, whereas power images were associated with making fewer concessions. In a laboratory study , they found that power or af filiative motives could b primed by having the subjects read dif ferent communications from their negotiation partner, and that these primed motives predicted the likelihood that they would make a concession during the negotiation. Such personality research may have wide implications for understanding how governments could respond to each other to avoid crises.

To summarize, the need for power is the desire to have an impact on others. It can be measured from the TAT and from other verbal documents, such as speeches and other forms of communication, by looking for evidence of themes related to status seeking, to concerns about reputation, or to attempts to make others do what one wants. For example, Winter (1988) provides an interesting analysis of Richard Nixon's speeches in terms of the needs for achievement, power , and intimacy. Winter (1998b) applies a similar analysis to the speeches of former president Bill Clinton, linking Clinton's motives to some of his problems as well as to his popularity .

Need for Intimacy

The last of the "Big Three" motives is based on the desire for warm and fulfillin relationships with others.


The third motive receiving a good deal of research attention is the need for intimacy (nInt). The researcher most closely associated with this motive is Dan McAdams, another student of McClelland. McAdams defines the need for intimacy as the "recurrent preference or readiness for warm, close, and communicative interaction with others" (McAdams, 1990, p. 198). People high in nInt want more intimacy and meaningful human contact in their day-to-day lives than do those who are low in nInt.

Research Findings

McAdams and others have conducted a number of studies of nInt over the years in an effort to determine how people high and low in nInt dif fer from each other . As with the other motives, the TAT is often used to measure the strength of the intimacy motive. People high in nInt (compared to those who are low) have been found to (1) spend more time during the day thinking about relationships; (2) report more pleasant emotions when they are around other people; (3) smile, laugh, and make more eye contact; and (4) start up conversations more frequently and write more letters. We might think that the people high in nInt are simply extraverts, but the finding do not support this interpretation. Rather than being the loud, outgoing, life-of-the-party extravert, the person high in nInt is more likely to be someone with a few very good friends, who prefers sincere and meaningful conversations over wild parties. When asked to describe a typical time with a friend, people high in nInt tend to report one-on-one interactions instead of group interactions. When they get together with friends, people high in nInt are likely to listen to their friends and to discuss intimate or personal topics with them, such as their feelings, hopes, beliefs, a nd desires. Perhaps this is why people who are high in nInt are rated by their peers as especially "sincere," "loving," "not dominant," and "not self-centered" (McAdams, 1990).

A few studies have examined the relationship between nInt and well-being. In a longitudinal study, nInt measured at age 30 in a sample of male Harvard graduates was significantly related to overall adjustment (e.g., having a satisfying job an family life, coping well with life's stress, being free from alcohol problems) 17 years later (McAdams & Vaillant, 1982). Other studies have shown that nInt is associated with certain benefits and positive life outcomes, for both men and women. Among women, nInt is associated with happiness and satisfaction with life. Among men, nInt is associated with less strain in life. Unlike the motives for power and achievement, for which no sex dif ferences have been found as far as level of need is concerned, there does exist a consistent sex dif ference in need for intimacy— women have, on average, a higher need than men (McAdams, 1990; McAdams & Bryant, 1987).

To summarize, the need for intimacy is the desire for warm and intimate relationships with others. Individuals with a strong nInt enjoy the company of others and are more expressive and communicative toward others, compared with people low in nInt. The intimacy motive is distinguished from extraversion in that persons high in nInt prefer having a few close friends to being a member of a rowdy group. In contrast to the need for achievement and power , for which men and women show comparable levels, women' s need for intimacy tends to be higher than men' s.

The motives we have covered so far—the needs for power , intimacy, and achievement—all fall within the tradition of academic personality psychology . There is, however, another motivational tradition, one that is rooted more in clinical psychology than in academic personality research. This tradition has come to inform the field of personality psycholog , and concepts from this tradition are present or implied in several areas of contemporary research. We turn now to the humanistic tradition within personality psychology.

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