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Is the desire to impress others a goal of everyone?

Does a person get a job, go to the gym, etc., to signal worthiness of another person's approval?

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In their classic work, Crowne and Marlowe (1964) conceived of a new psychological construct, the "need for approval". Approval motivation (as it is also called), while present or absent in varying degree in different individuals, is based on the common fundamental human need "to form and maintain strong, stable interpersonal relationships", the "need to belong" (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). Individuals with a high need for approval behave in a way that they perceive to be socially desirable, with the intention to be accepted into a group or culture and not rejected.

Approval motivation is measured with the Marlowe-Crowne scale that consists of 18 items that, Crowne remembers (1991), seemed so extreme to the two researchers, "that few people could agree to them. But if they did, we thought, their endorsement would have to reflect a potent motive to respond in a socially desirable manner." One sample item is: "No matter who I'm talking to, I'm always a good listener." Note the modifier "always".


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