You focus on the forest when you’re in charge of the trees: Power priming and abstract information processing
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SourceJournal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 4, (2006), pp. 578-596
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI SCP
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being
Elevated power increases the psychological distance one feels from others, and this distance, according to construal level theory, should lead to more abstract information processing. Thus, high power should be associated with more abstract thinking-focusing on primary aspects of stimuli and detecting patterns and structure to extract the gist, as well as categorizing stimuli at a higher level-relative to low power. In 6 experiments involving both conceptual and perceptual tasks, priming high power led to more abstract processing than did priming low power, even when this led to worse performance. Experiment 7 revealed that in line with past neuropsychological research on abstract thinking, priming high power also led to greater relative right-hemispheric activation.
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