This chapter is intended to tell how and why a thematic apperceptive measure of achievement motivation was developed and to explain the significance of the measure for current theory and research. Because space does not permit a systematic review of the hundreds of studies on this topic or an explication of the increasingly complex and technical theoretical developments, we have provided a list of major books dealing with achievement motivation at the end of this chapter.
DERIVATION OF A FANTASY MEASURE
The development of a measure of the need for achievement, labeled n Achievement or n Ach, using Murray's (1938) nomenclature, began with attempts to arouse achievement motivation by telling young men that performance tests they were taking would yield information about their general intelligence and leadership abilities, and then giving them feedback on how well or poorly they had done (McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, & Lowell, 1953). The unique effects of this type of arousal were examined in brief imaginative stories the men wrote afterward because previous research on hunger had demonstrated that such stories sensitively reflect varying degrees of motive arousal (Atkinson & McClelland, 1948).
To arrive at an empirically justified system of content analysis, a scoring system was developed based on the differences between stories written under achievement arousal versus neutral testing conditions.