Humans have a fundamental need to feel a sense of personal significance, acquired when a person feels useful, valuable, and important. Such feelings arise when a person feels that they are meeting the expectations of others who make up their social network and that they are valued in the eyes of others. This need underlies much of human behavior, including ambitions to form strong social connections, to attain a sense of achievement, to help others who are in need, to form political organizations, and to aggress on behalf of one’s important social groups. The need for significance has been proposed as the motivating force that drives terrorists and suicide bombers to carry out their missions. This entry, the quest for significance theory outlines the ...

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