Experiences of intimacy and power: Relationships between social motives and autobiographical memory

Dan P. McAdams*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Collected open-ended recollections of autobiographical memories from 142 undergraduates in 2 studies. The memory protocols were coded for themes of interpersonal intimacy (love and friendship, reciprocal communication or sharing, helping others and being helped, and tender interpersonal touching) and personal power (perceived strength, powerful inspiration, having impact, vigorous activity, and increased fame or recognition). Ss' intimacy and power motive scores were obtained by prior administration of the TAT. Ss scoring higher in intimacy motivation recalled specific peak experiences, great learning experiences, and (to a lesser extent) satisfying experiences that contained a preponderance of intimacy themes; Ss scoring lower on the intimacy motive did not. A similar relationship between power motivation and power themes in peak experiences and satisfying experiences was obtained. In addition, a positive correlation was found between the power motive and expressed feelings of anger in reports of unpleasant experiences. (49 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-302
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1982


  • intimacy &
  • power in autobiographic memory, college students
  • power motivation, themes of intimacy &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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