The level of claims. What is it in psychology, definition, what is it characterized by, Schwarzlander's method


  1. Definition of what it is
  2. Classification
  3. High and low
  4. Normal
  5. Overpriced
  6. Underestimated
  7. Motivated to succeed and avoid failure
  8. Benefit and harm
  9. How does it manifest
  10. Diagnostics
  11. How to bounce back
  12. Video about the level of claims

In modern psychology, the concept level of claim (abbreviated UE) personality is a striving for a specific goal of the level of complexity that the person considers acceptable for himself. This term was first introduced by Kurt Lewin back in the 1920s. He is a famous psychologist and creator of social psychology, which is still used today. He was the first to suggest that if a person has a realistic level of aspiration, then he is confident enough, persistent and easily achieves his goals.

It is believed that in this case it is much easier for people to work more productively compared to those who have inadequate or low aspirations. If there is a serious gap between claims and what a person is really capable of, then this leads to incorrect self-esteem, and, accordingly, behavior, psychological state.

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This can lead to emotional outbursts, the development of increased anxiety. Accordingly, we can conclude that the indicator of aspiration is very strongly intertwined with a person's self-esteem, ambition, and also motivation to achieve a certain success.

Definition of what it is

The level of aspirations is a concept in psychology that is often confused with self-esteem. Although these two personality characteristics are closely related and dependent on each other, they are different. In simple terms, the level of aspirations is the bar that a person adheres to in his behavior, work, relationships and any other types of activity. That is, this is the level that a person sets for himself.

The higher a person's self-esteem, the more, in his opinion, he is able to achieve. However, you need to understand that UP is a rather subjective concept that is far from always able to determine reality. The problem is that if a person has too high self-esteem, then although this raises the bar for future goals, it does not allow him to really achieve success. Such disappointment has serious consequences.

In his works, Levin very clearly analyzed the concepts, as well as the definitions of his theory, regarding the level of claim. He highlighted several main aspects.

Concept in the study of UP Description
Prior achievement Under this definition, it is customary to understand the experience that a person received from previous actions.
Choosing a goal and setting the level of aspiration This is an activity in the course of which an individual determines for himself what goal to set on the basis of a previous achievement.
Result The person compares his level of expectation (that is, the goal set) with the real result. As a result, his expectations may turn out to be significantly higher than the result that he received, do not reach him or completely do not coincide with him.
Reaction to the result If a person has failed, then in this case, his level of claims falls. When he achieves what he wants, then, on the contrary, the UP rises, and he is ready to overcome more difficult tasks.

The level of claims in psychology. What is it, the definition, what is it characterized byIt is worth clarifying that in practice there can be much more such reactions. For example, there are a lot of situations when a person with a clearly low self-esteem achieves any success, but he does not raise the bar for himself, but continues to move towards similar goals. The opposite also happens, when a person suffers a defeat, but continues to raise the bar, because he believes that in this case he will be able to "starve out" and, thanks to perseverance, will receive everything he wants.


The level of aspirations (this is a relatively new concept in psychology) is assessed in several categories. For example, it can be adequate or inadequate (in turn, it can be high or low).

High and low

  • An overestimated level of claims. It is formed if a person has a very high self-esteem, but at the same time it is observed that the self-concept was formed incorrectly. For example, a participant in a music show is confident that he will successfully pass the qualifying round and generally thinks that he has already won. However, in fact, he has absolutely no musical talents and only annoys the judges, and also amuses the audience.
  • An underestimated level of claims. It affects people with an inferiority complex, those who suffer from various fears, phobias and other problems. For example, a person plays the guitar well and is very often invited to perform in various clubs or bars. His relatives, friends and all the people who have ever heard him play claim that he is a real virtuoso and he needs to go to some kind of casting or competition to prove himself. But, ultimately, he never dares to try to break through and remains a poor guitarist.

When the level of claims or self-esteem is too high or too low, certain characteristic signs are observed.

In this case, people:

  • choose too complex or, conversely, simple goals;
  • prefer to avoid competition and any competition;
  • constantly arrive in anxiety and tension;
  • often make wrong forecasts for their life;
  • are not able to correctly analyze their result and the experience gained.


At normal level of UE, the goals must fully correspond to the skills and capabilities. Typically, after each success, he raises the bar and tries to overcome more difficult challenges. Such people are quite self-critical, but at the same time they are confident in themselves and are able to go towards their goal.

For an example of this level of ambition, consider again a musician who not only plays the guitar well, but also knows perfectly well that he has talent. This means that he is not afraid to take part in competitions, but does not believe that he has already won them. If he has an opportunity to move in this direction, then he will definitely use it.

The level of claims in psychology. What is it, the definition, what is it characterized by
Levels of claims in psychology.

For a better understanding of the different levels of aspiration of a person's personality, it is worth considering a few more examples of self-esteem, which is considered normal:

  • The person decides to change jobs in order to start making more money. He examines job advertisements, evaluates the requirements for the applicant and correlates them with all skills and knowledge. When he realizes that he will cope well with this kind of work, he schedules an interview and gets a position.
  • A simple guy, a middle-level employee wants to find himself the same simple girl. Although outwardly he likes women of model appearance, dressed in expensive clothes from fashion designers and driving sports cars, he really appreciates his capabilities and understands that he will not be able to financially provide such a companion and sooner or later he will become bored with her, since she can only offer a lifestyle, and not sincerity and understanding. Therefore, he prefers those girls who are at his level.
  • A freelancer tries to find orders, studies various offers on exchanges. Basically, he is familiar with all the concepts, he has already successfully coped with similar tasks, but he meets in one of the tasks a program with which he has not yet worked. A freelancer is well aware that it is enough for him to set aside a few hours of extra time to study it. Therefore, he submits an application and starts work, which is paid higher, thereby setting a new bar for himself.


It is more convenient to understand the UE if we consider examples.

There are several descriptions of high self-esteem:

  • A very young guy who barely finished the 9th grade of school, did not continue his studies, did not work and lived with his parents all the time at their expense, decides to get a job in a large organization. When he comes for an interview, he immediately announces that he plans to become a director of this firm. Of course, every time he is denied. However, this does not make him think that he needs to lower the bar of expectations or raise his level in order to meet the position that he plans to take. Instead, he begins to behave aggressively and may even begin to threaten in the interview. For example, a guy like that says that his father is a tough businessman, a millionaire, who will close this firm in a minute.
  • A beautiful, but not smart enough girl who behaves rudely and shows her ignorance, wants to find a wise, handsome and man with a good job. She is convinced that any millionaire will be happy to be with her and take her to social events or business events. She does not consider herself inferior to him in status and does not think that she needs to develop spiritually, and not only outwardly.
  • A guy at the age of 20 believes that he is not obliged to work "for a penny" and is sure that he should be paid at least 100,000 rubles a month. He has no experience, no work experience, he only has a completed school. He is undisciplined, unable to organize his working day, lazy and absolutely does not show any business qualities or skills that are necessary for higher wages. However, he continues to sit without work, because he believes that going to a lower position is a shame for him.


And for a visual comparison, a few examples of low self-esteem and UE:

  • The professor tells the students that those who were in all the classes can count on an automatic machine, that is, a "three". But if they plan to get a higher grade, then such students must take the exams on an equal basis with everyone else. In this situation, most of the students who usually get a GPA will immediately agree to these terms. But among them there is one excellent student who knows the subject perfectly. The fact is that he has an excessively low self-esteem, and he is afraid that he will not pass the exam, so he prefers to settle for the worst option. Although he could very well get an excellent mark.The level of claims in psychology. What is it, the definition, what is it characterized by
  • A man for 15 years holds one position and receives the same salary. Every year his boss adds duties to him, but does not increase his salary. All his entourage says that he should talk to management and ask for a promotion or just change jobs. Since he does an excellent job with his duties, he will be hired for the best position without any problems. However, he does not want to take risks, as he is afraid that such a conversation may lead to his dismissal and he will have to look for a new job, join the team. A man is afraid that he may not cope with duties in another company, but here everything is familiar to him. As a result, he remains in his old job.
  • An intelligent, beautiful, educated intelligent girl meets with men who clearly do not reach her level, which is obvious not only to her family, but also to everyone around her. She herself understands that she is not interested in her partners. At the same time, wealthy businessmen, well-read and educated men who would be proud to be next to such a woman are ready to meet her. However, she continues to live with an unemployed guy who humiliates her, does not provide and constantly complains about his life. She is afraid that if she tries to build a relationship with someone of a higher level, then nothing will work. As a result, she remains unhappy, but prefers to be content with what she has.

Motivated to succeed and avoid failure

That is, in fact, UE also determines how ambitious a person is.

American psychologists, in the course of studying the level of aspirations, divided the personality into 2 types: motivated to succeed and motivated to avoid failure. It may seem that these 2 concepts are one and the same, but this is not at all the case.

The level of claims is considered in psychology in a complex manner. This means that one characteristic cannot replace another. If we consider the types of motivation, then for convenience it is also worth giving an example based on the relationship between representatives of different genders.

If a man is motivated to succeed, then in this case he will live with a woman, since he gets some benefit from this. For example, he may dream of family and children. For others, only sexual satisfaction is important. Some consider the material goods and benefits of marriage.

If a man is motivated to avoid failure, then he lives with a woman only in order not to be left alone or not to be discussed by others. This is seen as a failure. Therefore, he is ready to build relationships without any specific purpose. He only needs them to avoid unpleasant situations or condemnation.

Benefit and harm

At the beginning of the 20th century, active research was carried out, during which it was possible to understand that when forming the level of claims, it is important that a person does not harm his self-esteem. That is, if he has a normal self-esteem, then this is only beneficial to him. He is capable of normal relationships with people both at work and in his personal life.The level of claims in psychology. What is it, the definition, what is it characterized by

In the case of an overestimated level of claims, people begin to show a sense of superiority over others, idealize their image, completely ignore failures, or try to pass off their minuses as pluses. This leads to the fact that gradually it becomes very difficult for others to communicate with them, since if the first time to such a person there may be respect, and then pity appeared, gradually such a person will continue to demonstrate manifestations of an overestimated self-esteem.

As a result, such a person begins to blame everyone around him for his failures. This makes his acquaintances dislike. As a result, such a person can remain completely alone.

Too low level of claims leads to anxiety, nervousness. The person behaves too shy and hesitant. If a psychologically stronger personality appears next to him, then she will be able to gain complete control over him. In addition, such people often suffer from envy, suspiciousness, and suspicion. Many call them boring. Accordingly, few people communicate with such people either.

People with adequate self-esteem and a level of ambition are always the soul of the company. They easily make new acquaintances, people want to communicate with them as much as possible.

The level of aspirations is, in psychology, a characteristic of a personality, which is associated with its other parameters. It should be borne in mind that if a person has high self-esteem, then he cannot have a low level of ambition. Accordingly, these 2 parameters are always at the same level. That is, in order to correct a person's behavior and his outlook on his own life, it is enough to work on his self-esteem.

Moreover, it is much easier to raise it than to lower it. This is due to the fact that a person with a low level of claims can easily agree that he has some problems and needs to work with it. If the UP is too high, then such a person will never admit his weakness and the need to adjust the perception of his capabilities and skills.

How does it manifest

The level of aspiration manifests itself in the level of complexity of the tasks ahead. Accordingly, the higher a person's ambitions, the more difficult he will choose to complete the task, even if it is obvious to everyone around him that he will not succeed.

Some believe that UP is characterized exclusively by human abilities, but this is not the case. Quite the opposite, people with increased PA tend to have lower abilities. But the personality at the same time assesses his minimal skills as something extraordinary, unique. A striking example of this is the situation when a person who absolutely does not want to study or work, while expecting that he should have a high salary.The level of claims in psychology. What is it, the definition, what is it characterized by

The manifestation of an overestimated UP can often be observed in children of celebrities and politicians. Such daughters and sons from early childhood receive absolutely everything in their lives. They are not ready to overcome obstacles, since they do not exist for them. But if at some point the parents of such a child go bankrupt, then he will be completely unprepared for this.


The level of aspirations (this is a concept in psychology that is becoming more and more relevant) can be determined by the Gorbachevsky questionnaire or using the Schwarzlander method. The latter technique is the most popular. It is quite simple and quick to pass the test, which is often used in higher educational institutions, schools, when interviewing potential employees.

The essence of the test is that the subject is asked to check how many pluses he can deliver in 10 seconds. After that, he is given a special form and the time is noted. After 10 sec. the process stops. After that, the teacher must compare the number of signs that the person planned to put and how many he managed to indicate.

This allows you to compile a PM report and assess the level of achievement. These checks are entered into the form. After that, the person is offered to pass the same test 3 more times. At the same time, each time he must say how many, in his opinion, advantages he will be able to indicate now. That is, in total, the subject passes the test 4 times. However, in this case, 1, 2, and also 4, the experiment lasts 10 seconds, and on 3 it stands out slightly less - 8 seconds. After that, according to a special formula, the total score of the claim is calculated.The level of claims in psychology. What is it, the definition, what is it characterized by

For work, the subject needs to be given a table 10x3 cm in size, in which each square will be no more than 1x1 cm. This is an important test condition. It is better not to prepare such forms yourself. Instead, they should be printed out on a printer.The level of claims in psychology. What is it, the definition, what is it characterized by

The interpretation of the results will be as follows:

  • from 5 to 5 points - exceeded UP;
  • from 3 to 4.9 - a high rate;
  • from 1 to 2.99 - adequate UP;
  • from 1.49 to 0.99 - low UP;
  • 1.5 or less - very low self-esteem.

How to bounce back

To improve PM, it is important to think about your self-esteem. To improve it, you can visit a psychologist and take individual trainings, but group lessons, seminars and other events will be much more effective, since it is important for a person to leave the zone comfort. Such meetings are held in all cities. An expert in applied psychology will be able to teach a person to self-increase self-esteem in 2-3 months by doing exercises at home or on the way to work.

If you don’t want to spend money on a psychologist or seminars or you don’t want to, you can turn to the literature. For example, effective exercises are described in Brian Tracy's book Self-Assessment. Also worth reading are tips from Sharon Venshida-Cruz and How Much Are You Worth? Women will benefit from the work of Helen Andelin. In her book "The Charm of Femininity" there are many useful recommendations for the fairer sex.

The level of aspirations is a concept that in psychology is closely related to ambition, self-esteem and other personal characteristics that motivate a person to set goals and move to them. It all depends on what kind of UP indicator the individual has. If he is normal, then there is nothing to worry about. An overestimated or underestimated level of claims requires adjustment.

Video about the level of claims

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