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In recent years, methodological and substantial progress has been made in the field of cross-cultural studies on implicit motives. By reporting results of recent empirical studies we propose that cross-cultural studies on implicit motives are indispensable to understand universal and culture-specific variations in individuals’ mental processes and behavior. It is assumed that implicit motives represent the first motivational system to be shaped in a human being’s ontogeny and that they have far reaching consequences for individuals’ development, their feelings and actions in everyday life across different cultural groups. Applying psychometrically sound measurements cross-culturally, researchers have revealed a number of universal relationships between implicit motives and psychological and behavioral correlates. Despite these promising advancements, fundamental work still needs to be done with respect to the developmental antecedents of motives and behavioral correlates, particularly focussing on affiliation and power, which have received much less scientific attention compared to the achievement motive. We conclude that if we are to do a better job at predicting behavior both within and across cultural groups, we need to supplement our typical reliance on explicit measures with implicit measures of motivation, beliefs, and values.

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