Social power and the advent of action

Jon K. Maner, Michael P. Kaschak, John L. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Power - the ability to influence the outcomes of other people - is a key variable that regulates a wide range of human social interactions. Although previous research has demonstrated that power leads people to become approach-oriented, most studies have focused on how this orientation manifests itself in conscious, higher-order aspects of social behavior. The current study presents evidence that priming the concept of power has a direct influence on low level processes within the motor system. Participants performed a task in which they responded to auditory cues by moving their hand either toward the immediate environment (approach) or away from the environment (avoidance). Priming the concept of power facilitated the initiation of approach responses and, to a lesser degree, interfered with initiation of avoidance responses. This study supplements theories of power and approach, and fits with recent work suggesting fundamental links between cognitive processes and motor behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-132
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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