Does power magnify the expression of dispositions?

Guinote, Ana and Weick, Mario and Cai, Alice (2012) Does power magnify the expression of dispositions? Psychological Science, 23 (5). 475-482 . ISSN 0956-7976 . (doi: (Full text available)

PDF - Author's Accepted Manuscript
Download (290kB) Preview
Official URL


Conventional wisdom holds that power holders act more in line with their dispositions than do people who lack power. Drawing on principles of construct accessibility, we propose that this is the case only when no alternative constructs are activated. In three experiments, we assessed participants’ chronic dispositions and subsequently manipulated participants’ degree of power. Participants then either were or were not primed with alternative (i.e., inaccessible or counterdispositional) constructs. When no alternatives were activated, the responses of power holders—perceptions of other people (Experiment 1), preferences for charitable donations (Experiment 2), and strategies in an economic game (Experiment 3)—were more in line with their chronically accessible constructs than were the responses of low-power participants. However, when alternatives had been activated, power holders’ responses were no longer more congruent with their dispositions than were the responses of low-power participants. We propose a single mechanism according to which power increases reliance on accessible constructs—that is, constructs that easily come to mind—regardless of whether these constructs are chronically or temporarily accessible.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: power, construct accessibility, dispositions, priming, automaticity
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Mario Weick
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2012 10:39 UTC
Last Modified: 21 May 2014 13:35 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year