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Does power magnify the expression of dispositions?

Guinote, Ana and Weick, Mario and Cai, Alice (2012) 'Does power magnify the expression of dispositions?', Psychological science., 23 (5). pp. 475-482.


Conventional wisdom holds that power holders act more in line with their dispositions than do people who lack power. Drawing on principles of construct accessibility, we propose that this is the case only when no alternative constructs are activated. In three experiments, we assessed participants’ chronic dispositions and subsequently manipulated participants’ degree of power. Participants then either were or were not primed with alternative (i.e., inaccessible or counterdispositional) constructs. When no alternatives were activated, the responses of power holders—perceptions of other people (Experiment 1), preferences for charitable donations (Experiment 2), and strategies in an economic game (Experiment 3)—were more in line with their chronically accessible constructs than were the responses of low-power participants. However, when alternatives had been activated, power holders’ responses were no longer more congruent with their dispositions than were the responses of low-power participants. We propose a single mechanism according to which power increases reliance on accessible constructs—that is, constructs that easily come to mind—regardless of whether these constructs are chronically or temporarily accessible.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:Guinote, Ana Weick, Mario & Cai, Alice (2012). Does power magnify the expression of dispositions? Psychological Science 23(5): 475-482. Copyright © 2012 The Author(s). Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.
Date accepted:28 September 2011
Date deposited:19 September 2018
Date of first online publication:19 March 2012
Date first made open access:No date available

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