doi:

DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2017.00404

Acta Psychologica Sinica (心理学报) 2017/49:3 PP.404-415

The effects of power on human behavior: The perspective of regulatory focus


Abstract:
Research on power has been going on for decades and it has been found to have considerable effects on cognitive, emotional and behavior aspects. This article presents an integrative theory accounting of the effects of power on humans. In particular, high power means the ability to control others and to get rid of the control of others, powerful individuals have the ability to fill with one's will, as a consequence, triggers promotion-related goal and strategy. In contrast, low power is associated with no ability to control others and get rid of the control of others and thereby activates prevention-related goal and strategy. This framework allows us to integrate disparate literatures and to generate a significant number of novel hypotheses about the consequences of power.
In order to empirically verify the hypotheses mentioned, 4 studies are presented to explore the influence of power (high or low) on regulatory focus (promotion or prevention). Study 1 investigated the relationship between trait power and chronic regulatory focus. Results showed that the powerful, compared to the powerless participants, were more likely to promotion focus. Study 2-4 investigated the effects of priming power on situated regulatory focus. In Study 2, after role playing of manipulating power, the accessibility to ideals and duties to goal were measured. Results showed that powerful participants showed greater accessibility to their ideals while powerless participants showed greater accessibility to their duties. In Study 3, after recalling manipulating sense of personal power, the accessibility to eager and vigilant of strategy were measured. Results showed that powerful participants showed greater eager strategy while powerless participants showed greater vigilant strategy. In Study 4, we priming power with gesture implicitly, then measured participants' strategy in the same way with Study 3. Results showed that powerful participants showed greater eager strategy while powerless participants showed greater vigilant strategy. We also showed that this effect occurred as a consequence of the level of power rather than as an incidental result of a change in mood. In short, the results indicated that individuals with high power are more likely to promotion focus and individuals with low power tend to prevention focus.
The results of these four studies provided supports for our theorizing:(1) individuals with high power are more likely to promotion focus, whereas those in low power tend more to prevention focus. (2) The regulatory focus effect of power occurred as a consequence of the level of power rather than as an incidental result of a change in mood.
The importance of these results is discussed in line with recent theorizing within social psychology of power. We propose a new means to broaden the understanding of effect of power, which enriches the relevant research on power. In addition, the result is a beneficial supplement to Approach-Inhibition Theory of power.

Key words:power,regulatory focus,promotion focus,prevention focus

ReleaseDate:2017-04-10 17:47:51



Anderson, C., & Berdahl, J. L. (2002). The experience of power:Examining the effects of power on approach and inhibition tendencies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(6), 1362-1377.

Anderson, C., John, O. P., & Keltner, D. (2012). The personal sense of power. Journal of Personality, 80(2), 313-344.

Burke, P. A., Kraut, R. E., & Dworkin, R. H. (1984). Traits, consistency, and self-schemata:What do our methods measure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47(3), 568-579.

Carney, D. R., Cuddy, A. J. C., & Yap, A. J. (2010). Power posing:Brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance. Psychological Science, 21(10), 1363-1368.

Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (2012). Cybernetic control processes and the self-regulation of behavior. In R. M. Ryan (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of human motivation (pp. 28-42). New York, US:Oxford University Press.

Carver, C. S., & White, T. L. (1994). Behavioral inhibition, behavioral activation, and affective responses to impending reward and punishment:The BIS/BAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(2), 319-333.

Côté, S., Kraus, M. W., Cheng, B. H., Oveis, C., van der Löwe, I., Lian, H., & Keltner, D. (2011). Social power facilitates the effect of prosocial orientation on empathic accuracy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(2), 217-232.

Crowe, E., & Higgins, E. T. (1997). Regulatory focus and strategic inclinations:Promotion and prevention in decision-making. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 69(2), 117-132.

Duan, J. Y., & Huang, C. Y. (2013). The mechanism of employee's sense of power on speaking-up:A power cognition perspective. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 45(2), 217-230.

[段锦云, 黄彩云. (2013). 个人权力感对进谏行为的影响机制:权力认知的视角. 心理学报, 45(2), 217-230.]

Elliot, A. J. (2006). The hierarchical model of approach-avoidance motivation. Motivation and Emotion, 30(2), 111-116.

Fast, N. J., Sivanathan, N., Mayer, N. D., & Galinsky, A. D. (2012). Power and overconfident decision-making. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 117(2), 249-260.

Fiske, S. T. (1993). Controlling other people:The impact of power on stereotyping. American Psychologist, 48(6), 621-628.

Fiske, S. T. (2010). Interpersonal stratification:Status, power, and subordination. In S. T. Fiske, D. T. Gilbert, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (5th ed., vol. 2, pp. 941-982). Hoboken, NJ, US:John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Gable, S. L. (2006). Approach and avoidance social motives and goals. Journal of Personality, 74(1), 175-222.

Galinsky, A. D., Gruenfeld, D. H., & Magee, J. C. (2003). From power to action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(3), 453-466.

Galinsky, A. D., Leonardelli, G. J., Okhuysen, G. A., & Mussweiler, T. (2005). Regulatory focus at the bargaining table:Promoting distributive and integrative success. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31(8), 1087-1098.

Galinsky, A. D., Rucker, D. D., & Magee, J. C. (2015). Power:Past findings, present considerations, and future directions. In M. Mikulincer, P. R. Shaver, J. A. Simpson, & J. F. Dovidio (Eds.), APA handbook of personality and social psychology (vol. 3, pp. 421-460). Washington, DC:American Psychological Association.

Galinsky, A. D., Todd, A. R., Homan, A. C., Phillips, K. W., Apfelbaum, E. P., Sasaki, S. J., Richeson, J. A., Olayon, J. B., Maddux, W. W. (2015). Maximizing the gains and minimizing the pains of diversity:A policy perspective. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(6), 742-748.

Gervais, S. J., Guinote, A., Allen, J., & Slabu, L. (2013). Power increases situated creativity. Social Influence, 8(4), 294-311.

Gino, F., & Margolis, J. D. (2011). Bringing ethics into focus:How regulatory focus and risk preferences influence (un)ethical behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 115(2), 145-156.

Gosling, S. D., Rentfrow, P. J., & Swann, W. B., Jr. (2003). A very brief measure of the big-five personality domains. Journal of Research in Personality, 37(6), 504-528.

Gray, J. A. (Ed.). (1987). The psychology of fear and stress (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK:Cambridge University Press.

Gu, J., Bohns, V. K., & Leonardelli, G. J. (2013). Regulatory focus and interdependent economic decision-making. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(4), 692-698.

Guinote, A. (2007a). Power affects basic cognition:Increased attentional inhibition and flexibility. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43(5), 685-697.

Guinote, A. (2007b). Power and goal pursuit. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(8), 1076-1087.

Guinote, A. (2007c). Behaviour variability and the situated focus theory of power. European Review of Social Psychology, 18(1), 256-295.

Guinote, A. (2008). Power and affordances:When the situation has more power over powerful than powerless individuals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(2), 237-252.

Guinote, A. (2010).The situated focus theory of power. In A. Guinote & T. Vescio (Eds.), The social psychology of power (pp. 141-175). New York, US:Guilford Press.

Guinote, A., Weick, M., & Cai, A. (2012). Does power magnify the expression of dispositions? Psychological Science, 23(5), 475-482.

Guo, T., & Spina, R. (2015). Regulatory focus affects predictions of the future. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(2), 214-223.

Haslam, N., & Loughnan, S. (2014). Dehumanization and infrahumanization. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 399-423.

Heider, F. (Ed.). (1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations. Hillsdale, New Jersey:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Higgins, E. T. (1997). Beyond pleasure and pain. American Psychologist, 52(12), 1280-1300.

Higgins, E. T. (2005). Value from regulatory fit. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(4), 209-213.

Higgins, E. T. (2012a). Beyond pleasure and pain:How motivation works. Oxford:Oxford University Press.

Higgins, E. T. (2012b). Regulatory focus theory. In P. A. van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 483-504). London:Sage Publications.

Higgins, E. T., Friedman, R. S., Harlow, R. E., Idson, L. C., Ayduk, O. N., & Taylor, A. (2001). Achievement orientations from subjective histories of success:Promotion pride versus prevention pride. European Journal of Social Psychology, 31(1), 3-23.

Hogeveen, J., Inzlicht, M., & Obhi, S. S. (2014). Power changes how the brain responds to others. Journal of Experimental Psychology General, 143(2), 755-762.

Isen, A. M., & Daubman, K. A. (1984). The influence of affect on categorization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47(6), 1206-1217.

Johnson, R. E., Tolentino, A. L., Rodopman, O. B., & Cho, E. (2010). We (sometimes) know not how we feel:Predicting job performance with an implicit measure of trait affectivity. Personnel Psychology, 63(1), 197-219.

Keltner, D., Gruenfeld, D. H., & Anderson, C. (2003). Power, approach, and inhibition. Psychological Review, 110(2), 265-284.

Kraus, M. W., Chen, S., & Keltner, D. (2011). The power to be me:Power elevates self-concept consistency and authenticity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(5), 974-980.

Lammers, J., Gordijn, E. H., & Otten, S. (2008). Looking through the eyes of the powerful. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44(5), 1229-1238.

Lammers, J., Stoker, J. I., & Stapel, D. A. (2009). Differentiating social and personal power:Opposite effects on stereotyping, but parallel effects on behavioral approach tendencies. Psychological Science, 20(12), 1543-1549.

Magee, J. C, & Smith, P. K. (2013). The social distance theory of power. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 17(2), 158-186.

Malaviya, P., & Brendl, C. M. (2014). Do hedonic motives moderate regulatory focus motives? Evidence from the framing of persuasive messages. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(1), 1-19.

Ouschan, L., Boldero, J. M., Kashima, Y., Wakimoto, R., & Kashima, E. S. (2007). Regulatory focus strategies scale:A measure of individual differences in the endorsement of regulatory strategies. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 10(4), 243-257.

Overbeck, J. R., & Droutman, V. (2013). One for all:Social power increases self-anchoring of traits, attitudes, and emotions. Psychological Science, 24(8), 1466-1476.

Overbeck, J. R., & Park, B. (2001). When power does not corrupt:Superior individuation processes among powerful perceivers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(4), 549-565.

Park, E. S., Hinsz, V. B., & Nickell, G. S. (2015). Regulatory fit theory at work:Prevention focus' primacy in safe food production. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 45(7), 363-373.

Sassenberg, K., Ellemers, N., & Scheepers, D. (2012). The attraction of social power:The influence of construing power as opportunity versus responsibility. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(2), 550-555.

Scholl, A., & Sassenberg, K. (2014). "While you still think, I already type":Experienced social power reduces deliberation during e-mail communication. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(11), 692-696.

Semin, G. R., Higgins, T., De Montes, L. G., Estourget, Y., & Valencia, J. F. (2005). Linguistic signatures of regulatory focus:How abstraction fits promotion more than prevention. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89(1), 36-45.

Smith, P. K., & Bargh, J. A. (2008). Nonconscious effects of power on basic approach and avoidance tendencies. Social Cognition, 26(1), 1-24.

Smith, P. K., Jostmann, N. B., Galinsky, A. D., & van Dijk, W. W. (2008). Lacking power impairs executive functions. Psychological Science, 19(5), 441-447.

Smith, P. K., & Trope, Y. (2006). You focus on the forest when you're in charge of the trees:Power priming and abstract information processing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90(4), 578-596.

Smith, P. K., Wigboldus, D. H. J., & Dijksterhuis, A. (2008). Abstract thinking increases one's sense of power. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44(2), 378-385.

Tang, P. P., Ye, H. S., & Du, J. Z. (2015). The spatial size metaphor of power concepts:A perspective from embodied cognition. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 47(4), 514-521.

[唐佩佩, 叶浩生, 杜建政. (2015). 权力概念与空间大小:具身隐喻的视角. 心理学报, 47(4), 514-521.]

Thibaut, J. W., & Kelley, H. H. (1959). The social psychology of groups. Oxford, UK:John Wiley.

Thrash, T. M., & Elliot, A. J. (2003). Inspiration as a psychological construct. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 871-889.

Tost, L. P., Gino, F., & Larrick, R. P. (2012). Power, competitiveness, and advice taking:Why the powerful don't listen. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 117(1), 53-65.

Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect:The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(6), 1063-1070.

Weick, M., Guinote, A., & Wilkinson, D. (2011). Lack of power enhances visual perceptual discrimination. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65(3), 208-213.

Whitson, J. A., Liljenquist, K. A., Galinsky, A. D., Magee, J. C., Gruenfeld, D. H., & Cadena, B. (2013). The blind leading:Power reduces awareness of constraints. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(3), 579-582.

Willis, G. B. (2009). The effects of social power on regulatory focus (Unpublished doctorial dissertation). Universidad de Granada.

Wu, X. C., & Wang, E. G. (2014). Power shifts attention on a vertical dimension:An ERP study. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 46(12), 1871-1879.

[武向慈, 王恩国. (2014). 权力概念加工对视觉空间注意定向的影响:一个ERP证据. 心理学报, 46(12), 1871-1879.]

Yang, W. Q. (2015). The impact of power on motivation:The perspective of regulatory focus & approach-avoidance motivation (Unpublished doctorial dissertation). Beijing Normal University.

[杨文琪. (2015). 权力感对动机的影响-调节定向与趋避动机的视角(博士学位论文). 北京师范大学.]

Yang, W. Q., Jin, S. H., He, S., Fan, Q., & Zhu, Y. J. (2015). The impact of power on humanity:Self-dehumanization in powerlessness. PLoS One, 10(5), e0125721.

Yang, W. Q., Jin, S. H., He, S., Zhang, X. X., & Fan, Q. (2015). Dehumanization:Theoretical comparison and application. Advances in Psychological Science, 23(7), 1267-1279.

[杨文琪, 金盛华, 何苏日那, 张潇雪, 范谦. (2015). 非人化研究:理论比较及其应用. 心理科学进展, 23(7), 1267-1279.]

Yen, C. L., Chao, S. H., & Lin, C. Y. (2011). Field testing of regulatory focus theory. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41(6), 1565-1581.

Zaal, M. P., van Laar, C., Ståhl, T., Ellemers, N., & Derks, B. (2011). By any means necessary:The effects of regulatory focus and moral conviction on hostile and benevolent forms of collective action. British Journal of Social Psychology, 50(4), 670-689.

Zou, X., Scholer, A. A., & Higgins, E. T. (2014). In pursuit of progress:Promotion motivation and risk preference in the domain of gains. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(2), 183-201.