Need for Achievement (nAch)

Achievement Motivation: Need to excel, master challenges, outperform others, reach high levels of excellence

Research by David McClleland (on right)

Method: Responses to the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT; a projective test)

For example, look at the picture below and tell me what is happening now, what happened earlier, and what will happen afterwards.

LOC Reproduction No. X-60334

Credit: Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library


The Elements of Emotional Experience

When you experience an "emotion" (joy, rage, pride, etc.) what happens to you?


 1. Cognitive: Subjective Feelings

  • Cognitive appraisal of situation: How people evaluate what is happening to themselves can evoke different emotions, e.g., being asked to make a report to your company's board of directors might make one person fearful and another person energized to make an impression.
 [Lie Detector]
("Lie Detector")

 2. Physiological

  • Arousal of the Autononomic NS
    • Sympathetic NS <-- aroused by many emotions ("fight or flight")
    • Parasympathetic NS <-- leads to relaxation & restoration
    • Galvanic skin response (GSR)
    • Polygraphs (Lie Detectors) 
  • Neural Circulits in the Brain
    • Limbic System, especially the amygdala
    • Fast vs. slow pathways
  [Paul Ekman @ APA Hawai'i 2004]
Paul Ekman @ APA
Hawai'i 2004
(Photo © 2004 V. Hevern)

 3. Behavioral Components: Nonverbal Expression

  • Facial Expression of Emotion
    • Research by Paul Ekman
    • Ease in identifying happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, and disgust
  • "Facial-Feedback Hypothesis"

Go to Notes on Emotions


This page was originally posted on 10/20/03 and last updated on 10/19/04

Photo of lie detector: Courtesy of the Special Collections Department, University of Iowa Libraries