Affiliation-seeking among the powerless: Lacking power increases social affiliative motivation

Charleen R. Case*, Kyle E. Conlon, Jon K. Maner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Although it is well known that many people possess fundamental desires for both social affiliation and power, research has only begun to investigate the interplay between these two core social motives. The current research tested the hypothesis that an individual's level of power would influence that person's level of social affiliative motivation. We predicted that, compared with participants in a control condition, (1) individuals who possess power would exhibit less social affiliative motivation; and (2) individuals who lack power would display greater social affiliative motivation. Although we found little evidence to support the former prediction, we observed consistent evidence across two experiments that supported the latter. In Experiment 1, priming participants with low power (versus control) led them to display greater interest in joining a campus service aimed at fostering new friendships among students. In Experiment 2, placing participants in a position of low power (versus control) led them to seek greater proximity to a partner. Together, these results suggest that lacking power motivates people to seek social affiliation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-385
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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