In the present research, the authors examined the effect of a message recipient's power on attitude change and introduced a new mechanism by which power can affect social judgment. In line with prior research that suggested a link between power and approach tendencies, the authors hypothesized that having power increases confidence relative to being powerless. After demonstrating this link in Experiment 1, in 4 additional studies, they examined the role of power in persuasion as a function of when power is infused into the persuasion process. On the basis of the idea that power validates whatever mental content is accessible, they hypothesized that power would have different effects on persuasion depending on when power was induced. Specifically, the authors predicted that making people feel powerful prior to a message would validate their existing views and thus reduce the perceived need to attend to subsequent information. However, it was hypothesized that inducing power after a message has been processed would validate one's recently generated thoughts and thus influence the extent to which people rely upon their thoughts in determining their attitudes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science