Is the desire for status a fundamental human motive? A review of the empirical literature.

  title={Is the desire for status a fundamental human motive? A review of the empirical literature.},
  author={Cameron Anderson and John Angus D Hildreth and Laura Howland},
  journal={Psychological bulletin},
  volume={141 3},
The current review evaluates the status hypothesis, which states that that the desire for status is a fundamental motive. Status is defined as the respect, admiration, and voluntary deference individuals are afforded by others. It is distinct from related constructs such as power, financial success, and social belongingness. A review of diverse literatures lent support to the status hypothesis: People's subjective well-being, self-esteem, and mental and physical health appear to depend on the… 

Tables from this paper

Striving for superiority: The human desire for status
Status inequality and social stratification cause much social ill. So why do status hierarchies pervade societies and social groups? One possible explanation lies in the individual desire for status.
A Status-Seeking Account of Psychological Entitlement
We propose that people high in entitlement are characterized by motivation to attain status. Five studies (total N = 2,372) support that entitlement promotes motivation to seek status. This
Personality and Status Attainment: A Micropolitics Perspective
In the current chapter, we review research on personality and status attainment. We find that extraversion, trait dominance, neuroticism, and self-monitoring consistently predict status attainment
The Dark Side of Status at Work: Perceived Status Importance, Envy, and Interpersonal Deviance
Organizations differ in the extent to which they emphasize the importance of status, yet most extant research on the role of status at work has utilized a limited view of status as merely a matter of
Advances in Experimental Social Psychology
A large body of research has emerged to suggest that the self-conscious emotion of pride is a universal and evolved part of human nature, which functions to help individuals navigate their social
Third-Party Perceptions of Male and Female Status: Male Physical Strength and Female Physical Attractiveness Cue High Status
Status is a universal feature of human sociality. A lesser-studied adaptive problem surrounding status is assessing who has which levels of status in a given group (e.g., identifying which people
How Do People Respond to Threatened Social Status
Envy can motivate to strive for self-improvement, but can also lead to hostile behavior. These diverging outcomes of upward comparisons reflect two kinds of envy: benign envy, motivating to level
To Give or Not to Give? Interactive Effects of Status and Legitimacy on Generosity
The results demonstrate that the effects of status and legitimacy on generosity can be attributed to concerns about equity in status allocation, and hypothesize that status increases generosity when the status hierarchy is perceived as illegitimate, due to efforts to restore equity through one’s generosity.
The Role of Subjective and Objective Social Status in the Generation of Envy
It is consistently found that those who were the most respected in the eyes of others were envied more than the richest ones, indicating that envy is rather a subjective social status related emotion.


The Pursuit of Status: A Self-presentational Perspective on the Quest for Social Value
This chapter focuses on the ways in which people seek status in their interpersonal interactions and relationships. Our analysis conceptualizes status as the degree to which other people perceive
Status As a Valued Resource
The striving for status has long been recognized in sociology and economics. Extensive theoretical arguments and empirical evidence propose that people view status as a sign of competence and pursue
The origins of deference: when do people prefer lower status?
While individuals might universally desire high levels of respect, it is found that they vary widely in the extent to which they strive for high-status rank, with many individuals opting for middle- or low- status rank.
The need to belong: desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation.
Existing evidence supports the hypothesis that the need to belong is a powerful, fundamental, and extremely pervasive motivation, and people form social attachments readily under most conditions and resist the dissolution of existing bonds.
Sociometer theory and the pursuit of relational value: Getting to the root of self-esteem
Despite the amount of attention that researchers have devoted to the topic of self-esteem, many central questions remain unanswered. Sociometer theory addresses many such questions by suggesting that
The Local Ladder Effect: Social Status and Subjective
Dozens of studies in different nations reveal that socioeconomic status only weakly predicts an individual’s subjective well-being (SWB). These effects suggest that although the pursuit of social
Who attains social status? Effects of personality and physical attractiveness in social groups.
Three studies investigated personological determinants of status in social groups (fraternity, sorority, and dormitory), relating the Big Five personality traits and physical attractiveness to peer ratings of status.
The Emotional Underpinnings of Social Status
Emotions influence social status in a number of ways. Here, we adopt an evolutionary approach to examine the ways in which certain distinct emotions function to facilitate navigation of the status
Knowing your place: self-perceptions of status in face-to-face groups.
The authors argue that individuals' perceptions of their status are highly accurate--that is, they closely match the group's perception of theirstatus--because forming overly positive status self-perceptions can damage individuals' acceptance in a group.
School achievement, social status, and self-esteem
The primary focus of this study is upon variation in the effect of status upon self-esteem. Data were collected through interviews with the senior class of a Michigan high school. The findings