Power and Categorization: Power Increases the Number and Abstractness of Categories

Pamela K. Smith*, Rachel Smallman, Derek D. Rucker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Across three experiments, participants formed a larger number of categories when in a state of high, compared to low, psychological power. Moreover, in contrast to prior categorization research, which suggests forming more categories is tantamount to reduced breadth of categorization, high-power participants also formed a larger number of superordinate (i.e., more abstract) categories than low-power participants. The present findings enhance the understanding of power in relation to categorization and simultaneously highlight the distinction between number and abstraction as fundamental aspects of categorization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-289
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • abstraction
  • breadth of categorization
  • power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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