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

Integrating behavioral-motive and experiential-requirement perspectives on psychological needs: a two process model.

A 2-process model of psychological needs is outlined, viewing needs as evolved functional systems that provide both innate psychosocial motives that tend to impel adaptive behavior and innate experiential requirements that when met reinforce adaptivebehavior and promote mental health.

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

The relationship of shame, social anxiety and depression: the role of the evaluation of social rank

This study explores the associations between shame, depression and social anxiety from the perspective of social rank theory (Price and Sloman, 1987; Gilbert, 1989, 1992). Social rank theory argues