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J Pers Assess. 2005 Dec;85(3):280-94.

Assessing implicit motives in U.S. college students: effects of picture type and position, gender and ethnicity, and cross-cultural comparisons.

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Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, 525 East University Avenue, Ann Arbor, 48109-1109, USA.


We assessed implicit needs for power, achievement, and affiliation in 323 U.S. college students using a Picture Story Exercise (PSE; McClelland, Koestner, & Weinberger, 1989) consisting of 6 picture cues and Winter's (1994) content coding system. Picture cues differed markedly in the amount of motive imagery they elicited and picture motive profiles closely resembled those reported by Schultheiss and Brunstein (2001) for a German student sample. Picture position influenced the expression of power and affiliation motivation, with affiliation motivation being most strongly expressed at the beginning and power motivation being most strongly expressed in the middle of the PSE. Women had higher affiliation motive scores than men. Asian Americans had higher affiliation motive scores than Whites, and African Americans had higher levels of achievement motivation than Asian Americans or Whites. PSE motive measures showed little or no overlap with questionnaire measures of impulsivity and anxiety (Behavioral Inhibition System-Behavioral Activation System scales; Carver & White, 1994) or specific motivational orientations (Personality Research Form; Jackson, 1984). Comparisons with Schultheiss and Brunstein's (2001) German sample indicate that U.S. students have higher achievement motivation and lower power motivation and activity inhibition scores than German students.

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