Power and choice: Their dynamic interplay in quenching the thirst for personal control

M. Ena Inesi, Simona Botti, David Dubois, Derek D. Rucker, Adam D. Galinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Power and choice represent two fundamental forces that govern human behavior. Scholars have largely treated power as an interpersonal construct involving control over other individuals, whereas choice has largely been treated as an intrapersonal construct that concerns the ability to select a preferred course of action. Although these constructs have historically been studied separately, we propose that they share a common foundation-that both are rooted in an individual's sense of personal control. Because of this common underlying basis, we hypothesized that power and choice are substitutable; that is, we predicted that the absence of one would increase the desire for the other, which, when acquired, would serve to satisfy the broader need for control. We also predicted that choice and power would exhibit a threshold effect, such that once one source of control had been provided (e.g., power), the addition of the other (e.g., choice) would yield diminishing returns. Six experiments provide evidence supporting these predictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1042-1048
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • choice
  • control
  • power
  • substitutability
  • threshold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Power and choice: Their dynamic interplay in quenching the thirst for personal control'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this