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Why Do We Yearn for Fame?

September 8, 2013, 11:30 AM

What's the Latest Development?

Perhaps fame, more than any other wish, dominates our modern preoccupation. A 2012 study, for example, found that "a desire for fame solely for the sake of being famous was the most popular future goal among a group of 10-12 year olds." In the study, fame overshadowed hopes for financial success, achievement, and a sense of community. More recent research has focussed on why people want to be famous, narrowing the reasons down to three: The desire to be valued, the desire to live an elite lifestyle, and a desire to help others or make them proud. The first two reasons correlate with narcissism while the third, prosocial reason, was related with altruistic interests. 

What's the Big Idea?

Rather than being a purely frivolous pursuit, researchers argue that desiring fame fulfills the fundamental human need for having social relationships. They further distinguish between narcissistic and prosocial desires for fame as having the need to belong and the need to relate, respectively. Research shows that people with a high need for relatedness are not anxious about social exclusion and have a greater sense of security with their immediate social network. A link to creativity is also thought to exist, with process-oriented motivations corresponding to prosocial attitudes, and product-oriented motivations relating to narcissistic tendencies. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Scientific American


Why Do We Yearn for Fame?

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