Article

Power and the pursuit of a partner's goals

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Abstract

We investigated how power dynamics in close relationships influence the tendency to devote resources to the pursuit of goals valued by relationship partners, hypothesizing that low (vs. high) power in relationships would lead individuals to center their individual goal pursuit around the goals of their partners. We study 2 related phenomena: partner goal prioritization, whereby individuals pursue goals on behalf of their partners, and partner goal contagion, whereby individuals identify and adopt as their own the goals that their partner pursues. We tested our ideas in 5 studies that employed diverse research methods, including lab experiments and dyadic studies of romantic partners, and multiple types of dependent measures, including experience sampling reports, self-reported goal commitment, and behavioral goal pursuit in a variety of goal domains. Despite this methodological diversity, the studies provided clear and consistent evidence that individuals with low power in their relationships are especially likely to engage in both partner goal prioritization and partner goal contagion. (PsycINFO Database Record

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... Such heightened dependence renders people particularly vulnerable if they possess low power (Kelley & Thibaut, 1978;. Actors low in power are relatively unable to control important outcomes, which can constrain their behavior, such as causing actors to inhibit their own feelings and desires (i.e., behavioral inhibition; e.g., Alonso-Ferres et al., 2021;Pietromonaco et al., 2021) and instead prioritize their partners' needs and goals (i.e., communal behavior; e.g., Laurin et al., 2016;Righetti, Luchies, et al., 2015;VanderDrift et al., 2013). The resulting difficulties in fulfilling their own needs, desires, and goals results in people who lack power experiencing poorer relationship and personal wellbeing (e.g., Kifer et al., 2013;see Agnew & Harmon, 2019). ...
... Such interdependence often means that actor and partner power are not inversely related. Indeed, the few studies that have reported the association between each dyad members' power indicate that actor and partner power are typically positively correlated, albeit only weakly (Columbus et al., 2021;Cross et al., 2019;Farrell et al., 2015;Langner & Keltner, 2008;Laurin et al., 2016). Such weak associations exemplify the reality of interdependence: Both actors and partners can possess influence (e.g., cooperative dyads that share decision-making) or lack influence (e.g., competitive dyads that resist each other's influence; see Figure 1). ...
... Results of experimental studies typically have been interpreted to show that low actor power causes actors to behave in communal ways, whereas high actor power causes actors to act in selfish ways. Actors assigned to low power roles or primed with low power are more likely to report communal goals to help and care for others (Copeland, 1994;Rucker et al., 2018), adopt and prioritize partners' goals (Laurin et al., 2016), feel and express more gratitude toward others (Anicich et al., 2021), allocate more resources to others (Rucker et al., 2011), and engage in greater impression management in order to be valued by conversation partners (Copeland, 1994). By contrast, actors assigned to high power roles or primed with high power report a greater focus on their own needs (Rucker et al., 2018), take more resources for themselves (De Cremer & Van Dijk, 2005), are less willing to help others (Lammers et al., 2012), are less grateful when they receive help (Anicich et al., 2021;Inesi et al., 2012), and exhibit lower perspective taking and empathic accuracy (Blader et al., 2016;Galinsky et al., 2006) unless they are high in prosocial or communal motivation (Côté et al., 2011;Gordon & Chen, 2013). ...
Article
Interpersonal power involves how much actors can influence partners (actor power) and how much partners can influence actors (partner power). Yet, most theories and investigations of power conflate the effects of actor and partner power, creating a fundamental ambiguity in the literature regarding how power shapes social behavior. We demonstrate that actor and partner power are distinct and have differential effects on social behavior. Six studies (total N = 1,787) tested whether actor and partner power independently predicted behavioral inhibition (expressive suppression) and communal behavior (prioritization of partners' needs) within close relationships, including during couples' daily life (Study 1), lab-based social interactions (Studies 1-5; 1,012 dyadic interactions), and general responses during conflict (Studies 5 and 6). Actor power was negatively associated with behavioral inhibition, indicating that actors' low power prompts self-focused inhibition to prevent negative outcomes that low power actors are unable to control. Partner power was positively associated with actors' communal behavior, indicating that high partner power prompts other-focused behavior that prioritizes partners' needs and goals. These differential effects of actor and partner power replicated in work-based relationships with bosses/managers (Study 6). Unexpectedly, partner power was negatively associated with actors' behavioral inhibition within close relationships, consistent with a desire to prevent negative outcomes for low power partners. We present a framework that integrates the approach-inhibition and agentic-communal theories of power to account for the differential effects of actor and partner power. We describe the implications of this framework for understanding the effects of power in both close and hierarchical relationships. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... C. Feeney, 2004;B. C. Feeney & Collins, 2015b;Laurin et al., 2016;Rafaeli & Gleason, 2009;. Research has shown that higher levels of partner support is linked to greater subjective well-being, lower rates of mortality, and greater mental and physical health (S. ...
... C. Feeney, 2004;B. C. Feeney & Collins, 2015b;Laurin et al., 2016;Rafaeli & Gleason, 2009;), there has not been a systematic synthesis of the literature. Research into partner support and goal outcomes has evolved into several different research strands with different theoretical traditions. ...
... C. Feeney, 2004;B. C. Feeney & Collins, 2015b;Laurin et al., 2016;Rafaeli & Gleason, 2009;. Even though theoretically speaking, social support should be beneficial for both goal progress and wellbeing, the research evidence for the benefits of social support on goal outcomes is mixed (Gleason et al., 2008). ...
Thesis
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Based on attachment theory, the theory of thriving through relationships describes the interpersonal process of relational catalyst (RC) support (i.e., emotional or practical support that is responsive to the recipient’s needs) for life’s opportunities in the absence of adversity. While existing literature is clear that partner support positively predicts goal outcomes overall, relatively little is known about by how much, for whom, in which kinds of relationships, and under what conditions partner support is beneficial for goal outcomes. I investigate these research questions in this six-paper thesis. I begin by evaluating the existing literature in a meta-analysis (Manuscript 1). I establish that partner support moderately and positively predicts goal outcomes. Responsive and practical support were equally effective providing support for the theory of thriving through relationships. In Manuscript 2, I use state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to identify the most important individual (attachment avoidance, well-being) and relational (relationship satisfaction, trust, commitment, empathy) predictors of partner support. Manuscript 3 focuses on the link between goal conflict and the RC support process (seeking, perceiving, and providing support as well as pursuing life’s opportunities). In three studies, I show that high goal conflict is a strong negative predictor of all parts of the RC support process. The final three manuscripts extend the thriving through relationships framework by showing that RC support can still be beneficial even in the presence of adversity (COVID-19). Manuscript 4 shows that RC support is effective for goal outcomes during the pandemic. I also show that goal conflict is negatively associated and successful negotiation of goal conflict positively associated with partner support (Manuscript 5) and goal outcomes (Manuscript 6). Together these studies provide robust evidence for the importance of partner support for goal outcomes and highlight several individual, relational, and contextual factors that predict the effectiveness of the support.
... There are also gender differences in the influence of the sense of power on the mate selection decision. In the mate selection decision, women's standards for partner personality are not affected by power, but as men's sense of power increases, their demand for women's character qualities will increase significantly (Zheng and Chi, 2013;Laurin et al., 2016). These findings suggest that the sense of power is likely to be a mediating variable between financial resources and mate selection. ...
... For example, do money and time resources have different effects on the outcome of mate choice decisions because of different influencing mechanisms? Previous studies found that money resources can affect individuals' extent of preference for partners' economic status and appearance (Vigil et al., 2006;Laurin et al., 2016;Li et al., 2016a), whereas time resources can more significantly affect individuals' thinking on the number of dimensions of partner characteristics (Liu et al., 2011;Li et al., 2016d). Therefore, are the effects of money and time resources on mate selection decisions reflected in the degree and dimension of preferences, respectively? ...
Article
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According to the research on the influence of resources on mate selection, the amount of financial resources affects an individual's choice of "luxuries" and "necessities" among mate selection cues, while the amount of time resources affects cue diversity. However, for a long time, researchers only paid attention to the impact of financial resources and ignored the role of time resources. Therefore, this paper draws lessons from the relevant research on the influence of time on decision-making and proposes to study mate selection from the perspective of decision-making. Additionally, current research concerning the influence of resources on the choice of a spouse focuses more on results and neglects to examine the process. Therefore, based on the relevant theories, this paper makes several theoretical assumptions regarding the influence mechanism of resource availability on mate choice decisions, gender differences, and the actor-partner effect.
... Thus, for patients to receive goal-concordant care, providers must understand both the palliative and curative care goals individual patients wish to pursue, and the value of these goals relative to each other (Fitzsimons, Finkel, & Vandellen, 2015). Because providers ultimately control care delivery, their perceptions or beliefs about patients' care goals and their role in executing them is critical (Laurin et al., 2016). ...
Article
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Objective: Goal-concordant care is an important feature of high quality medical treatment. Patients’ care goals may focus on curative and/or palliative outcomes. Patients rarely communicate their care goals, and providers’ predictions of patient goals are often inaccurate, corresponding most closely to their own treatment goals. This projection of own goals onto patients introduces the potential for bias, leading to goal-discordant care. Design and Main Outcomes: We examined goal discordance using data from a U.S. sample of healthcare providers (N = 492) recruited online in 2017 using GfK Knowledge Panel. Providers reported their perceptions of their patients’ care goals (curative relative to palliative), their own care goals if they were to become ill, and their willingness to deliver palliative care. Results: For 28% of providers, their own care goals differed from their patients’. Providers were more likely to prioritise palliative care (relative to curative) in their own goals than in their predictions about patients’ goals. Providers were more willing to deliver palliative care when their own goals prioritised more palliative relative to curative care, but their perceptions of patient goals were unassociated with willingness to provide it. Conclusions: Efforts to improve goal communication and reduce projection biases among providers may facilitate goal-concordant care.
... In the past two decades, researchers have become increasingly interested in studying whether perceived support from close others predicts goal outcomes (Brunstein et al., 1996;Feeney, 2004;Feeney & Collins, 2015;Laurin et al., 2016;Rafaeli & Gleason, 2009;. Theoretically, partner support should be beneficial for both goal progress and well-being, but the research evidence for the benefits of partner support on goal outcomes is mixed (Gleason et al., 2008). ...
Article
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In the meta‐analysis, we combined evidence across studies from different theoretical perspectives addressing the association between partner support (responsive, practical, and negative support) and goal outcomes (self‐efficacy, commitment, and progress). The sample included 195 effect sizes from 36 samples with 10,130 participants in romantic relationships. The results were analyzed using a random‐effects multilevel model and the overall effect size was r = .25. This effect size is comparable to strong individual predictors of goal outcomes (e.g., high intention to achieve a goal) highlighting the importance of close relationships in goal pursuit. In line with the theory of thriving through relationships, the findings suggested that both responsiveness (r = .27) and practical (r = .22) support are helpful for goal outcomes whereas negative (r = ‐.14) support can hinder goal pursuit. Existing studies have strong methods but lack validated measures. Results have implications for areas including changing health behaviors and improving occupational, educational, and therapy outcomes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
... Conversely, those in relatively low power are more likely to prioritize and adopt the goal of other people. In partnerships, they adopt the goals of their romantic partners [43]. More broadly, lack of power impairs goal attainment and self-regulation, which leads to a disadvantage in negotiations [44]. ...
Article
This article discusses evidence linking power to purpose: that of having an impact in the social environment and carrying out individual or collective aims and desires. First, it highlights the role of goals during the emergence and the exercise of power. Accordingly, it suggests that typical power's mission is to strive for social or personal objectives in social contexts. This includes social influence goals, organizational or personal agendas. Secondly, the article describes how power affects goal-related strategies and cognitive inclinations. Evidence suggests that power triggers prioritization and facilitates the pursuit of any salient goals, filtered by personal values and inclinations of the powerholder. Thirdly, the article examines powerholders' effectiveness of goal pursuit, including their performance on tangible social tasks. Finally, the article ends with a discussion on non-intended consequences of the power-goal links in particular in the social domain.
... Specifically, participants were randomly assigned to complete an essay in which the first priming intended to elicit conflicts of different seriousness (situations that could be described as mild or severe) as in Study 2, and the second priming intended to elicit either feeling of low or high power. For the second aim, we used an experiential priming procedure-adapted from a manipulation of power by Galinsky et al. (2003), and previously used in the literature by Laurin et al., (2016)-which manipulates people's relative perception of power in a specific situation. Specifically, participants were divided into two conditions. ...
Article
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Prior research has indicated that the people one loves the most, such as their romantic partners, ironically, are also the people toward whom they often direct destructive behaviors in times of conflict, and such destructive responses become one of the most challenging relationship problems. Identifying the conditions that promote destructive (vs. constructive) conflict-resolution strategies is a crucial gap requiring study to help individuals build healthier and happier relationships. Across three studies (total N = 728), we examined whether (a) power is related to direct destructive (vs. constructive) responses during romantic conflicts; (b) this effect was moderated by the seriousness of the conflict and the relationship’s inclusiveness. In Study 1, participants involved in romantic relationships completed scales assessing interpersonal power, the conflict’s seriousness, their relationship’s inclusiveness, and conflict-resolution responses. In Studies 2-3, the participants were randomly assigned to complete an essay in which the conflict’s seriousness and power were experimentally manipulated. Findings from hierarchical regression analyses consistently showed that power led to destructive (and lower constructive) responses. However, this only occurred when the participants faced severe conflicts and their partner was not central to their self-concept. An internal meta-analysis of the studies confirmed the reliability and significance of these relationships; |r’s| =.13-37. Together, these results support the proposition that power asymmetries can threaten relationships by driving destructive responses during romantic conflicts, and untangle the conditions under which this happens. The conflict’s seriousness and the inclusiveness of the relationship may be considered to provide skills that help individuals navigate their relationships’ life challenges.
... Supporting this, positions that grant influence (e.g., occupation, age) often afford autonomy (Sheldon, Kasser, Houser-Marko, Jones, & Turban, 2005;Weaver, 1977). Likewise, power-holders are more likely to exert control over their immediate environment (Galinsky, Gruenfeld, & Magee, 2003), and to pursue their goals in an autonomous fashion (Galinsky et al., 2008;Lammers, Galinsky, Gordijn, & Otten, 2012;Laurin et al., 2016). The fact that people seem to consider autonomy more J Theo Soc Psychol. ...
Article
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We iteratively develop and test a model to clarify the relationship between both high and low levels of social (influence) and personal (autonomy) power. A meta-analysis synthesising primary data (n = 298) and secondary data (n = 498) found that impaired personal power coincided with impaired social power, but not vice versa. Unexpectedly, elevated social power did not coincide with elevated personal power, suggesting that the association between influence and autonomy attenuates with increasing levels of power. Predictions arising from the meta-analysis and our revised theoretical model were supported in a subsequent study (n = 266). We discuss implications of these findings and avenues for future research.
... Feeling powerful may engender the desire to prevail over others (Guinote, 2017) and a release from social conventions (Van Kleef, Homan, Finkenauer, Blaker, & Heerdink, 2012). Inducing subjective power reduces support for others' goals, perspective-taking, and empathic accuracy (Galinsky, Magee, Inesi, & Gruenfeld, 2006;Kraus, Côté, & Keltner, 2010;Laurin et al., 2016), and participants assigned to high status groups adopt predatory bargaining strategies (Ball, 1998). ...
Preprint
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In hierarchical societies, what do we expect from people at the top? Early in life, children use horizontal social relationships (e.g., affiliation) to predict selectivity in prosocial behavior. But it is unknown whether they view asymmetries in prosocial behavior as characteristic of vertical relationships (e.g., differences in social power) as well. We investigated 4- to 7-year-old children’s and adults’ (N = 96) intuitions about links between authority, helpful action, and unhelpful inaction. Across ages, participants viewed a character who chose not to help another person as holding a position of authority over them. However, no age group made consistent inferences about the relative authority of a helper and helpee. These findings establish that children’s intuitive theories include expectations for links between power and prosociality by at least the preschool years, and that the judgments produced by these theories are stable across development: Both children and adults associate authority status with indifference to others’ instrumental needs, but do not view helping as similarly diagnostic.
... These studies suggest that power may undermine cooperation. Indeed, powerful individuals are less likely to make sacrifices in close relationships (Righetti et al., 2015) or engage in the pursuit of their partner's goals (Laurin et al., 2016). In addition, powerful individuals devote fewer motivational resources to their targets than subordinates or neutral individuals do (Kanso, Hewstone, Hawkins, Waszczuk, & Nobre, 2014). ...
Article
Previous research has suggested that power undermines cooperation in social dilemmas. However, the story may not be so simple. Guided by recent findings that power heightens sensitivity to unfairness, we examined the moderating effect of distributive justice on the association between power and cooperation. Across two experiments, when treated unfairly, high-power (vs. low-power) participants perceived greater unfairness. Moreover, high-power (vs. low-power) participants behaved less cooperatively not only when they interacted with the offender who treated them unfairly (Experiment 1), but also when they interacted with innocent third parties (Experiment 2). However, high-power and low-power participants showed no difference in perceived fairness and cooperation when treated fairly. These findings shed light on the association between power and cooperation by suggesting the modulating role of distributive justice, and they remind us that researchers should take participants' personal sense of power into account when manipulating fairness.
... In addition to stressful contextual circumstances, partners' relational dynamics and personal motivations may provide further grounds under which the positive link between unmitigated communion and relationship satisfaction becomes disrupted. Research on power and goal pursuit in couples revealed that lower power individuals tend to prioritize and even "take on" the goals of their higher power partner as their own (Laurin et al., 2016). Given that individuals high in unmitigated communion already prioritize their partners' needs at the expense of their own needs, being the lower power partner in their relationship may mean adopting their partners' goals to an even more extreme level. ...
Article
This study explored 2 key questions at the intersection of care, well-being, and development in romantic relationships. First, what are the links between unmitigated communion (i.e., being overinvolved with meeting a partner's needs to the exclusion of one's own needs) and both partners' relationship satisfaction over time? Second, are there gender differences in the longitudinal links between unmitigated communion and relationship satisfaction? We answered these questions using data from 1,340 couples who participated in the German Family Panel over a 7-year period. Latent change score modeling results revealed that on average, people declined in both unmitigated communion and relationship satisfaction over time, and these declines occurred in concert with each other across each wave: A more rapid decrease in unmitigated communion occurred in tandem with a more rapid decrease in relationship satisfaction. Furthermore, higher initial levels of unmitigated communion predicted a slower rate of decline in relationship satisfaction, and higher initial levels of satisfaction stabilized future declines in unmitigated communion. Lastly, higher initial relationship satisfaction among men predicted a more gradual decline in female partners' unmitigated communion, but women's satisfaction did not predict male partners' unmitigated communion. Overall, this is the first study to demonstrate the codevelopment of and bidirectionality between unmitigated communion and relationship satisfaction in established romantic relationships. Unmitigated communion and relationship satisfaction tend to bolster each other in ways that protect them from steeper declines across time, which may explain why people continue to give in relationships when it is personally costly to themselves. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
... As a result, one partner's career goal might be prioritized over the pursuit of the other partner's career goal (Becker & Moen, 1999;Valcour & Ladge, 2008). Which partner's career goal is prioritized in the couple presumably depends on personal characteristics (e.g., gender or personality traits), goal appraisals (e.g., goal attainability), and power dynamics in the relationship (Laurin et al., 2016). For instance, traditional gender roles that associate females with caregiving and males with breadwinning activities might result in a prioritization of the male partner's career goal in heterosexual couples with traditional attitudes when the partners' career goals are in conflict (Eagly, 1987;Masterson & Hoobler, 2015). ...
Article
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De­spite the im­por­tance of ca­reer goals for ca­reer self-man­age­ment, we know lit­tle about the self-reg­u­la­tory processes un­der­ly­ing ca­reer goal at­tain­ment. In this study, we draw on transac­tive goal dy­nam­ics the­ory to in­ves­ti­gate whether and how ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships impact ca­reer goal at­tain­ment. For test­ing our re­search model, we fo­cused on the ca­reer goal of be­ing suc­cess­ful in a po­lit­i­cal elec­tion, and gath­ered sur­vey and ob­jec­tive data from politi­cians at three mea­sure­ment points (N = 108). As hy­poth­e­sized, our path analy­sis showed that re­la­tion­ship close­ness fa­cil­i­tated ca­reer goal at­tain­ment through shared ca­reer goals and an in­crease in the avail­able shared pool of re­sources. We fur­ther ex­plored the mod­er­at­ing role of goal co­or­di­na­tion in this process, and found that a high goal con­flict under­mined the in­di­rect ef­fect of re­la­tion­ship close­ness on ca­reer goal at­tain­ment whereas goal fa­cil­i­ta­tion had no mod­er­at­ing ef­fect. Fi­nally, we found no sup­port for the hy­poth­e­sized ef­fect of re­la­tion­ship du­ra­tion on shared ca­reer goals and ca­reer goal at­tain­ment. Our find­ings in­di­cate that ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships can fa­cil­i­tate ca­reer goal at­tain­ment and that partners' goal co­or­di­na­tion is a rel­e­vant bound­ary con­di­tion of this process. Our study thus highlights the value of in­te­grat­ing ca­reer re­search and work-home re­search. Prac­ti­cally, our re­sults im­ply that individ­u­als should gain their part­ner's sup­port for their ca­reer goals, and that su­per­vi­sors can facil­i­tate em­ploy­ees' ca­reer de­vel­op­ment by en­abling them to cap­i­tal­ize on home-domain resources such as their ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship. Ac­cord­ing to our find­ings, ca­reer counselors can as­sist their clients' ca­reer self-man­age­ment by pre­vent­ing goal conflicts with their partner.
Chapter
Power in Close Relationships - edited by Christopher R. Agnew February 2019
Article
Magee and Smith (2013) theorized that asymmetric dependence creates asymmetric social distance in power relations, and that high-power individuals feel more distant than their low-power counterparts. I review research consistent with, and in some cases possibly inspired by, the social distance theory of power. Four findings emerge from the review. First, in dyadic relationships, the goals of the high-power partner are privileged over those of the low-power partner. Second, higher power reduces attunement and attention to others and also increases the tendency to objectify and dehumanize others. Third, power increases expressions of interpersonal dominance and aggression, particularly when the level of situational power diverges from expectations or norms. Fourth, greater power reduces the harmful psychological effects of social rejection. I conclude that social distance continues to be a useful factor to consider in making predictions and explaining the psychological effects of power.
Chapter
Power in Close Relationships - edited by Christopher R. Agnew February 2019
Article
Four studies tested a model for goal pursuit, which proposed three relational mechanisms that yield motives for a goal. These motives, in turn, predict goal outcomes, but the association was expected to be stronger among women than among men. Study 1 (n = 116) tested the model for a short-term, collaborative project between strangers; Study 2 (n = 186) examined parents being motivated by their children to be healthier; Study 3 (n = 124) examined nontraditional college students' career searches; and Study 4 (n = 181) examined young adults' progress toward a self-improvement goal. Results showed support for the model in all four studies, with the exception that feeling accountable to others was not a consistent predictor of relational motives.
Chapter
This chapter describes several of the ideas borrowed from psychology (mostly, though not exclusively, from personality and social psychology) that have been adapted for use in entrepreneurship. It then addresses the issues that arise when “the founder” changes to a “founding team”. Beginning with McClelland's early work on the relationship between achievement strivings and entrepreneurial action a number of individual psychological traits have been advanced as possible explanations for entrepreneurial behavior. In addition to achievement motivation, frequently mentioned traits include such things as locus of control, risk propensity, and self-efficacy. A number of social psychological theories have been adapted to the study of entrepreneurial behavior. In chronological order by date of the original theory, some of these are expectancy theory, self-determination theory, the theory of planned behavior, and regulatory focus theory. The chapter concludes with an argument for greater complexity in future work on entrepreneurial psychology.
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What drives motivation in multiphase competitions? Adopting a dynamic approach, this research examines how temporary standing-being ahead of (vs. behind) one's opponent-in a multiphase competition shapes subsequent motivation. Six competitions conducted in the lab and in the field demonstrate that the impact of being ahead on contestants' motivation depends on when (i.e., in which phase of the competition) contestants learn they are in the lead. In the early phase, contestants are concerned about whether they can win; being ahead increases motivation by making winning seem more attainable. In the later phase, however, contestants are instead driven by how much additional effort they believe they need to invest; being ahead decreases motivation by reducing contestants' estimate of the remaining effort needed to win. Temporary standing thus has divergent effects on motivation in multiphase competitions, driven by a shift in contestants' main concern from the early to the later phase and thus the meaning they derive from being ahead of their opponent. By leveraging insights gained from approaching individuals' self-regulation as a dynamic process, this research advances understanding of how motivation evolves in a unique interdependent self-regulatory context. (PsycINFO Database Record
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A growing body of research documents goal contagion, a phenomenon whereby people are likely to catch—to adopt and pursue for themselves—the goals they see others pursuing. Here, I situate goal contagion relative to other ideas about where goals come from and then review existing scholarship on the phenomenon itself and the processes that underlie it. I then point to four larger questions that goal contagion researchers must answer in the years to come. The first two of these questions (what levels of the self-regulatory hierarchy are subject to contagion and what role goal contagion affords for consciousness and intention) delve deeper into the process of the phenomenon, while the second two (how goal contagion affects social relationships and how it plays into goal pursuit more broadly) highlight how researchers have largely ignored the question of how goal contagion might influence people's broader lives.
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Goal contagion is an important interpersonal process. As people spontaneously infer and adopt others’ goals, goals can be said to “flow” among individuals. We find that possessing power attenuates goal contagion, especially for high perspective takers. In a pilot study (N = 157), we first affirmed the interpersonal nature of goal contagion by establishing that high (vs. low) perspective takers were more likely to engage in goal contagion. We then tested the moderating role of power in two studies. In both neutral (Study 1, N =179) and low power (Study 2, N = 304) conditions, we replicated the pattern in the pilot study. In the high power conditions, however, neither low nor high perspective takers engaged in goal contagion. Our findings suggest that goals flow asymmetrically from the powerful to the powerless, which may constitute an important means through which power hierarchy and group cohesion are maintained.
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Relationship members are frequently concordant on health outcomes; health behavior change is also concordant in close relationships. Despite clear evidence of this influence, relatively little is known about the possible mechanisms by which individuals in densely transactive systems (i.e., relationships with high goal‐related interdependence) influence each other's health. I draw on transactive goal dynamics (TGD) theory to highlight potential processes involved in health behavior change in interdependent systems. I introduce and discuss relevant literature about two related constructs—partner‐directed goal pursuit and partner‐directed goal qualities. I then highlight two areas where drawing on TGD principles may be useful, including unpacking recursive patterns of influence and health behavior change in concordant systems. I conclude with recommendations for future research.
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Why does power lead to action? Theories of power suggest it leads to action because it presses the psychological gas pedal. A review of two decades of research finds, instead, that power releases the psychological brakes on action. Power releases the psychological brakes on action by making failure seem less probable and feel less painful, thereby decreasing the downside risks of action. Power releases the psychological brakes on action by shrouding the feelings and thoughts of others, thereby diminishing the perceived social costs of action. Power releases the psychological brakes on action by limiting goal-inhibiting distractions, thereby promoting greater goal focus and focusing the mind on action. By removing these psychological barriers to action, power leads to action.
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Tax compliance by the wealthy is relevant not only because their contributions are essential to maintain public budgets and social equality, but because their (non)compliance behavior and the perceived (un)fairness of their contributions can fuel social unrest. In this article, after giving a brief history of taxing the wealthy, we review the existing theoretical, empirical, and policy literature on their tax compliance. We discuss how and why the wealthy differ from less affluent taxpayers because of specific interrelated political, social, and psychological conditions. Understanding the psychological mechanisms that determine the tax compliance of the wealthy can provide policy insights on how to better integrate the wealthy in the tax system. Therefore, the present review is also a starting point for new policy approaches to increase tax compliance and tax morale among the wealthy.
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Just observing other people can influence what we do. Under certain conditions, it inspires us to strive for the same goal as the other person. Such goal contagion occurs, because one first automatically infers the goal and then adopts it for oneself. In a series of three experiments (overall N = 840 university students), we investigated personal goal value and the observed person’s effort as moderators of goal contagion, which is mediated by goal inference. In all three experiments, participants read a brief story about a student who either wants to earn money (target goal) or to do an internship (control) and expects to show much or little effort. In Studies 1a and b, goal inference was the dependent variable, whereas in Study 2, we considered the full moderated-mediation model and measured how strongly participants pursue the goal to earn money. We aimed at locating the moderators within this two-step process. We hypothesized that high effort increases goal inference, whereas personal goal value strengthens the relationship between goal inference and goal adoption. Across experiments, we did find evidence for explicit and spontaneous, but not for implicit goal inference. Furthermore, participants did not pursue to earn money to a different degree across conditions and different degrees of goal value. Taken together, neither the moderated-mediation process nor the basic goal contagion effect was supported. Results are discussed in the light of other published studies on goal contagion and the current Replication Crisis.
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Consumers frequently make choices for family members they take care of or from whom they receive care (e.g., their children or partner), yet marketing research has given little attention to how these other-oriented choices might impact the chooser’s self-indulgence. In this research we consider familial caregiving relationships as a relevant and ubiquitous context of other-oriented choices and identify the role of the chooser (i.e., caregiver versus care-receiver) as an important moderator that determines when virtuous other-oriented choices within caregiving relationships lead to licensing and when they encourage consistent virtuous consumption behaviors. Three studies demonstrate that making virtuous food choices for others affect the chooser’s subsequent self-regulatory behavior in two ways: After making a virtuous choice for a care-receiving other (e.g., a young child), caregivers (e.g., parents) are more likely to license, and thus to subsequently self-indulge (Study 1, 3). In contrast, care-receivers are more likely to act consistently with an initial virtuous choice for the caregiver and thus are less likely to self-indulge (Study 2, 3). Our findings extend research on moral licensing and consistency effects by demonstrating that—within familial caregiving relationships—the degree to which one receives and provides care may determine when choosers engage in licensing and when they act consistently with an initial virtuous other-oriented choice.
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Goal contagion is a social-cognitive approach to understanding how other people’s behavior influences one’s goal pursuit: An observation of goal-directed behavior leads to an automatic inference and activation of the goal before it can be adopted and pursued thereafter by the observer. We conducted a meta-analysis focusing on experimental studies with a goal condition, depicting goal-directed behavior and a control condition. We searched four databases (PsychInfo, Web of Science, ScienceDirect, and JSTOR) and the citing literature on Google Scholar, and eventually included e = 48 effects from published studies, unpublished studies and registered reports based on 4751 participants. The meta-analytic summary effect was small − 'g' = 0.30, '95%CI' [0.21; 0.40], τ² = 0.05, '95%CI' [0.03, 0.13] − implying that goal contagion might occur for some people, compared to when this goal is not perceived in behavior. However, the original effect seemed to be biased through the current publication system. As shown by several publication-bias tests, the effect could rather be half the size, for example, selection model: 'g' = 0.15, '95%CI' [–0.02; 0.32]. Further, we could not detect any potential moderator (such as the presentation of the manipulation and the contrast of the control condition). We suggest that future research on goal contagion makes use of open science practices to advance research in this domain.
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Historically, the study of multiple goals has focused on the dynamics between two goals as the prototypical example of multiple goals. This focus on dyadic relations means that many issues central to the psychology of more than two goals are still unexplored. We argue that a deeper understanding of multiple goal issues involves moving beyond two goals. Doing so not only reveals new insights about goal relations (e.g., how one dyadic relation affects another), but also introduces goal structure (how goals and goal relations are positioned relative to each other) as a variable in its own right worthy of study. In our review, we discuss current knowledge gaps, review methodologies both in terms of existing techniques and novel techniques we propose, and highlight new directions from moving beyond two goals—what new questions emerge and what dynamics, including intersectional issues (e.g., between goal properties and goal structure), become possible to explore.
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Historically, the study of multiple goals has focused on the dynamics between two goals as the prototypical example of multiple goals. This focus on dyadic relations means that many issues central to the psychology of more than two goals are still unexplored. We argue that a deeper understanding of multiple-goal issues involves moving beyond two goals. Doing so not only reveals new insights about goal relations (e.g., how one dyadic relation affects another) but also introduces goal structure (how goals and goal relations are positioned relative to each other) as a variable in its own right worthy of study. In our review, we discuss current knowledge gaps, review methodologies both in terms of existing techniques and novel techniques we propose, and highlight new directions from moving beyond two goals-what new questions emerge and what dynamics, including intersectional issues (e.g., between goal properties and goal structure), become possible to explore.
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Theories of aging suggest that close social connections are key determinants of maintained emotional well‐being across adulthood. However, most emotion regulation (ER) research has taken an intrapsychic perspective, focusing primarily on individuals' attempts to manage their own emotions in isolation from others. In this article, we present a relational perspective on ER and suggest that consideration of social factors can provide novel insight into how ER operates and changes throughout the adult lifespan. We describe theoretical perspectives of aging and ER, review the mixed evidence regarding the characterization of age‐related shifts in ER, and highlight relational features of ER goals, strategy selection, and success of implementation. We conclude with a discussion of directions for future research examining ER throughout adulthood from a relational perspective, advocating for the comparison of intrapersonal and interpersonal ER in ecologically valid and longitudinal contexts.
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Though we typically think that power is desirable, individuals will sometimes avoid power. One explanation for this behavior is some individuals are averse to the responsibility associated with power and will therefore avoid positions of power. However, people may also avoid power because they perceive it as being inherently negative. This is supported by research on lay theories of power, which suggests that those who endorse the coercive lay theory perceive powerful people as manipulative and deceitful. In this paper, we propose a new theory of power aversion that expands upon the coercive lay theory to more thoroughly explain how negative perceptions of power cause some individuals to avoid it. We draw from previous research to identify specific negative traits associated with power. Based on this, we propose that some power‐averse individuals believe that possessing power will turn them into immoral, cold, selfish, and unjust people. For this reason, they avoid power. We also consider the relationship between power aversion and responsibility aversion and suggest a convergence between research on responsibility aversion and lay theories of power.
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Sociocognitive research has demonstrated that power affects how people feel, think, and act. In this article, I review literature from social psychology, neuroscience, management, and animal research and propose an integrated framework of power as an intensifier of goal-related approach motivation. A growing literature shows that power energizes thought, speech, and action and orients individuals toward salient goals linked to power roles, predispositions, tasks, and opportunities. Power magnifies self-expression linked to active parts of the self (the active self ), enhancing confidence, self-regulation, and prioritization of efforts toward advancing focal goals. The effects of power on cognitive processes, goal preferences, performance, and corruption are discussed, and its potentially detrimental effects on social attention, perspective taking, and objectification of subordinates are examined. Several inconsistencies in the literature are explained by viewing power holders as more flexible and dynamic than is usually assumed. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Psychology Volume 68 is January 03, 2017. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
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Recent research in social psychology has examined how psychological power affects organizational behaviors. Given that power in organizations is generally viewed as a structural construct, I examine the links between structural and psychological power and explore how their interrelationships affect organizational behavior. I argue that psychological power takes two forms: the (nonconscious) cognitive network for power and the conscious sense of power. Based on this view, I identify two causal pathways that link psychological power and structural power in predicting organizational behavior. First, the sense of power is likely to induce a sense of responsibility among (but not exclusively among) structural powerholders, which in turn leads structural powerholders to be more responsive to the views and needs of others. Second, the sense of power, when brought into conscious awareness, activates a non-conscious association between power and agentic behaviors, which in turn leads structural powerholders to enact agentic behaviors. I discuss the ways in which these predictions diverge from previous theorizing, and I address methodological challenges in examining the relationship between structural and psychological power. In doing so, I suggest that certain features of the predominant methodological approaches to studying psychological power may have induced a bias in the empirical findings that obscures the crucial link between power and responsibility.
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This article illustrates new statistical methods for the study of psychological change in married couples. The design involves time-series data on each partner. The analysis combines longitudinal methods for studies of individual change with cross-sectional methods for the study of matched pairs. Each person is viewed as changing over time as a function of an individual growth curve or change function. As in previous studies of individual change, a person's trajectory depends on time-invariant personal background characteristics and time-varying changes in the environment. However, unlike typical studies of individual change, a person's changing psychological profile depends, in part, on the influence of that person's partner. These methods apply directly to other types of longitudinal studies on families (e.g., studies that use teacher and parent reports of a child's social behavior). The methodology is flexible in allowing randomly missing data, varying spacing of time points, unbalanced designs, and time-varying and time-invariant covariates.
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In the new millennium, scholars have built a robust intersection between close-relationships research and self-regulation research. However, virtually no work has investigated how the most basic and broad indicator of relationship quality, relationship satisfaction, affects self-regulation and vice versa. In the present research, we show that higher relationship satisfaction promotes a motivational mind-set that is conducive for effective self-regulation, and thus for goal progress and performance. In Study 1-a large-scale, intensive experience sampling project of 115 couples (total N = 230)-we closely tracked fluctuations in state relationship satisfaction (SRS) and 4 parameters of effective self-regulation according to our conceptual model. Dyadic process analyses showed that individuals experiencing higher SRS than they typically do exhibited higher levels of (a) perceived control, (b) goal focus, (c) perceived partner support, and (d) positive affect during goal pursuit than they typically exhibit. Together, these 4 self-regulation-relevant variables translated into higher rates of daily progress on specific, idiographic goals. In Study 2 (N = 195), we employed a novel experimental manipulation of SRS, replicating the link between SRS and parameters of effective self-regulation. Taken together, these findings suggest that momentary increases in relationship satisfaction may benefit everyday goal pursuit through a combination of cognitive and affective mechanisms, thus further integrating relationship research with social-cognitive research on goal pursuit. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
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Publisher Summary Individuals come to “know” their own attitudes, emotions, and other internal states partially by inferring them from observations of their own overt behavior and/ or the circumstances in which this behavior occurs. Thus, to the extent that internal cues are weak, ambiguous, or uninterpretable, the individual is functionally in the same position as an outside observer, an observer who must necessarily rely upon those same external cues to infer the individual's inner states. This chapter traces the conceptual antecedents and empirical consequences of these propositions, attempts to place the theory in a slightly enlarged frame of reference, and clarifies just what phenomena the theory can and cannot account for in the rapidly growing experimental literature of self-attribution phenomena. Several experiments and paradigms from the cognitive dissonance literature are amenable to self-perception interpretations. But precisely because such experiments are subject to alternative interpretations, they cannot be used as unequivocal evidence for self-perception theory. The reinterpretation of cognitive dissonance phenomena and other self-perception phenomena have been discussed. The chapter highlights some differences between self-perception and interpersonal perception and shift of paradigm in social psychology. It discusses some unsolved problems, such as the conceptual status of noncognitive response classes and the strategy of functional analysis.
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Across four experiments, we examine how the experience of power affects intergenerational decision-making. We argue, and empirically demonstrate, that the experience of power enhances intergenerational beneficence. This effect emerges because the experience of power in intergenerational dilemmas prompts a sense of social responsibility among powerholders. In particular, the experience of power in intergenerational contexts leads people to feel an obligation to look out for the long-term interests of others, which in turn enhances generosity to future others. Thus, the positive effect of power on intergenerational beneficence is mediated by a sense of responsibility to look after others’ long-term interests.
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Experience sampling or ecological momentary assessment offers unique insights into how people think, feel, and behave in their natural environments. Because the method is able to capture situational variation as it happens in “real time,” experience sampling has become an increasingly popular method in social and personality, psychology, and beyond. With the ubiquity of smartphone ownership and the recent technical advances, conducting experience sampling studies on participants’ own devices has become increasingly easy to do. Here, we present one reliable, user-friendly, highly customizable, and cost-effective solution. The web-based application, SurveySignal, integrates the idea of using short message service (SMS) messages as signals and reminders, according to fixed or random schedules and of linking these signals to mobile surveys designed with common online survey software. We describe the method and customizable parameters and then present evaluation results from nine social–psychological studies conducted with SurveySignal (overall N = 1,852). Mean response rates averaged 77% and the median response delay to signals was 8 min. An experimental manipulation of the reminder signal in one study showed that installing a reminder SMS led to a 10% increase in response rates. Next to advantages and limitations of the SMS approach, we discuss how ecologically valid research methods such as smartphone experience sampling can enrich psychological research.
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Effective self-regulation could involve not only managing internal resources for goal pursuit but also the often-fleeting interpersonal resources that can support goal attainment. In five studies, we test whether people who are effective self-regulators tend to position themselves in social environments that best afford self-regulatory success. Results indicated individual differences in self-regulatory effectiveness predict stronger preferences to spend time with, collaborate with, and be informed by others who were (a) high in self-control or self-regulation themselves or (b) instrumental to one's goal pursuit. These preferences for supportive social environments appeared to be both targeted and strategic. Together, the findings suggest that effective self-regulation may involve positioning oneself in social environments that support goal pursuit and increase one's chances of success. © 2015 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
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Romantic partners often have to sacrifice their interests to benefit their partner or to maintain the relationship. In the present work, we investigated whether relative power within the relationship plays an important role in determining the extent to which partners are likely to sacrifice. Drawing from both classic theories and recent research on power, we tested two competing predictions on the relationship between power and sacrifice in romantic relationships. We tested whether (a) power is negatively related to sacrifice and (b) power is positively related to sacrifice. Furthermore, we also explored whether the association between power and sacrifice is moderated by commitment and inclusion of the other in the self. To test our hypotheses, we used different methodologies, including questionnaires, diary studies, and videotaped interactions. Results across the five studies (N = 1,088) consistently supported the hypothesis that power is negatively related to tendencies to sacrifice in close relationships. © 2015 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
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Goal contagion is a process in which perceivers inadvertently "catch" goals inferred from others' behavior; yet, social perception is often driven by the broader contexts surrounding others-and these contexts may suffice to drive goal inferences and contagion on their own. In Study 1, context-driven goal contagion occurred merely from perceiving that a peer was facing an immediate academic deadline as opposed to a distant (or no) deadline. In Study 2, this process was moderated by the potential selfrelevance of the peer's situational context. In Study 3a, context-driven goal contagion caused changes in anagram task behavior; in Study 3b, it caused changes in GRE test performance consistent with participants' GPAs. Note that these effects occurred both in the absence of any behavioral cues and when behavioral cues were held constant. Implications for the situated nature of goal contagion are discussed.
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We investigate how employees’ deviant responses to experiencing workplace aggression are shaped by the social context in which the aggressive acts occur. Drawing on the group value model and theories of belongingness, we investigated three moderators of the relationship between workplace aggression and employee deviant behaviour: (1) perpetrator formal power (relating to their position within the organization), (2) perpetrator referent power (derived from their social position at work), and (3) task interdependence between the perpetrator and victim. Participants (N=299) consisted of North American employees in a variety of industries. Power and task interdependence interacted with workplace aggression to predict the extent and the direction of deviant behaviour. Specifically, we found that when the perpetrator had high power (either formal power or referent power) and low task interdependence with the target, victims were most likely to engage in deviance directed towards the perpetrator in response to aggression. These results are consistent with the idea that perpetrator power motivates victims to retaliate, but they are most likely to do so if they are not highly dependent on the perpetrator to complete their work tasks. This study suggests that spirals of workplace aggression depend on the nature of the perpetrator-victim relationship.
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Past research demonstrates that gratitude affects individuals' self-regulation of behavior primarily through engendering a prosocial tendency. Based on theories proposing that gratitude plays an unique role in fostering communal relationship (e.g., Algoe, 2012), we propose that gratitude can have an incidental effect in facilitating goal contagion: automatically inferring and adopting the goal implied by a social other's behavior. This hypothesis is supported in 3 studies. In Study 1, after being exposed to the behaviors of a social target that implied either a cooperative or a competitive goal, individuals adopted the respective goal and behaved accordingly in a Resource Dilemma Task. This occurred, however, only when they were feeling gratitude and not when they were feeling joy or a neutral mood. In Study 2, after being exposed to a social target's behavior that implied the goal to make money, people feeling gratitude, as compared to those feeling pride or a neutral mood, strove for a future opportunity to earn money. Study 3 further demonstrated that individuals' goal striving behavior was mediated by a heightened level of goal activation. Finally, it was found that gratitude facilitated goal contagion only when the social target was a member of participants' own social group. Through this mechanism, gratitude, thus, seems to bind one's self-regulation with those of social others. Theoretical and practical implications of this new perspective are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
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Research on close relationships has frequently contrasted one's own interests with the interests of the partner or the relationship and has tended to view the partner's and the relationship's interests as inherently aligned. The present article demonstrated that relationship commitment typically causes people to support their partner's personal interests but that this effect gets weaker to the extent that those interests misalign or even threaten the relationship. Studies 1a and 1b showed that (a) despite their strong correlation, partner-oriented and relationship-oriented concerns in goal-directed behaviors are separable and (b) relationship commitment strengthens only the link between relationship-oriented motivation and the goal pursuit (not the link between partner-oriented motivation and the goal pursuit). The remaining 7 studies zero in on circumstances in which the partner's and the relationship's interests are in conflict, demonstrating that (c) relationship commitment reliably increases the tendency to support the partner's personal interests when those interests do not pose a strong threat to the relationship but that (d) this effect becomes weaker-and even reverses direction-as the relationship threat posed by the partner's interests becomes stronger. The reduction or reversal of the positive link between relationship commitment and propartner behaviors in such situations is termed the Manhattan effect. These findings suggest that the partner-versus-relationship conflicts provide fertile ground for novel theorizing and empirical investigations and that relationship commitment appears to be less of a partner-promoting construct than relationship science has suggested; instead, its role appears to be focused on promoting the interests of the relationship. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
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Research on the dynamics of self-regulation addresses situations in which people select goal-directed actions with respect to other existing or still missing actions towards accomplishing that goal. In such situations people can follow two possible patterns: they can highlight a goal by attending to it more if they have attended to it, or they can balance their goals by attending to a goal more if they have not attended to it. The choice of which pattern to follow depends on the representation of goal actions: when actions signal commitment, people highlight, and when actions signal progress, people balance. We identify several variables that determine whether people follow a dynamic of commitment-induced highlighting or progress-induced balancing. We then discuss the implications of this model for seeking, giving, and responding to feedback.
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This study examined the effects of global autonomous motivation and global perceived control on young adults’ adaptive goal striving and emotional well-being. We reasoned that autonomously motivated participants who also perceive high levels of control would make accelerated progress with the pursuit of their most important goal and experience associated increases in emotional well-being. By contrast, we predicted that these benefits of autonomous motivation would be reduced among participants who perceive low levels of control. A 6-month longitudinal study of 125 college students was conducted, and self-reported global autonomous motivation, global perceived control, progress towards the most important goal, and emotional well-being were assessed. Regression analyses showed that the combination of high baseline levels of global autonomous motivation and global perceived control was associated with accelerated goal progress after 6 months, which mediated 6-month increases in emotional well-being. These benefits were not apparent among autonomously motivated participants who perceived low levels of control. The study’s findings suggest that global autonomous motivation and perceived control may need to work together to foster adaptive goal striving and emotional well-being.
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We present a theoretical model of reappropriation-taking possession of a slur previously used exclusively by dominant groups to reinforce another group's lesser status. Ten experiments tested this model and established a reciprocal relationship between power and self-labeling with a derogatory group term. We first investigated precursors to self-labeling: Group, but not individual, power increased participants' willingness to label themselves with a derogatory term for their group. We then examined the consequences of such self-labeling for both the self and observers. Self-labelers felt more powerful after self-labeling, and observers perceived them and their group as more powerful. Finally, these labels were evaluated less negatively after self-labeling, and this attenuation of stigma was mediated by perceived power. These effects occurred only for derogatory terms (e.g., queer, bitch), and not for descriptive (e.g., woman) or majority-group (e.g., straight) labels. These results suggest that self-labeling with a derogatory label can weaken the label's stigmatizing force.
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It has been suggested that the expectation of repeated (versus single) interaction might promote cooperation in social dilemmas. One key question is whether the anticipation of repeated interaction may promote cooperation in those with prosocial orientations, with individualistic orientations, or both. We advance the argument that repeated interaction may be perceived in terms of opportunities for punishing noncooperation and rewarding cooperation (reciprocity), and that such “contingencies” should have a relatively greater impact on individualists’ motivations to cooperate. Consistent with hypotheses, we found evidence for the idea that the mere anticipation of repeated (versus single-trial) interaction promoted cooperation, but more so in those who pursue primarily individualistic, self-interested goals than those who are more prone to pursue prosocial goals.
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Sixty-one couples engaged in two video-recorded discussions in which one partner (the support recipient) discussed a personal goal with the other partner (the support provider). The support provider's visible and invisible support behaviors were coded by independent raters. Measures of perceived support, discussion success, and support recipients' distress during the discussion were gathered. Recipients also reported their goal achievement at 3-month intervals over the following year. Greater visible emotional support was associated with greater perceived support and discussion success for highly distressed recipients, but it was costly for nondistressed recipients who reported lower discussion success. In contrast, greater invisible emotional support was not associated with perceived support or discussion success, but it predicted greater goal achievement across time. These results advance our current understanding of support processes by indicating that the costs and benefits of visible support hinge on recipients' needs, whereas invisible support shapes recipients' long-term goal achievement.
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Goal shielding theory suggests that one's focal pursuits automatically inhibit the activation of interfering goals (Shah, Friedman, & Kruglanski, 2002); however, it is not entirely clear how individuals come to identify what constitutes “interfering”. Three studies examine how this identification process may be guided by fundamental social motives that individuals possess, particularly in social situations wherein goals are primed through mere exposure to others' goal-directed behavior (“goal contagion”, Aarts, Gollwitzer, & Hassin, 2004). Participants' fundamental motives for positive self-regard (Study 1), autonomy (Study 2), and distinctiveness (Study 3) were either manipulated or measured and participants read scenarios that manipulated the goal-directed behavior of a target other. Results indicated that participants inhibited the activation of goals being primed by others when the implicit influence interfered with their fundamental motives in some way. These findings suggest that fundamental motives can guide whether individuals will catch goals from others or shield themselves from such influences.
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Social support is discussed as dyadic interactions in which one person is experiencing distress and the other person attempts to provide support. Drawing from helping research in social psychology as well as social-support research, four sets of variables are presented which influence the likelihood of support attempts: stress factors, recipient factors, relationship factors and provider factors. We also present partial results of a pilot study of support intentions which suggests that the extent of past experience with major stressful conditions is significantly and positively associated with a willingness to provide support to peers themselves experiencing stressful problems.
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Hierarchy is such a defining and pervasive feature of organizations that its forms and basic functions are often taken for granted in organizational research. In this review, we revisit some basic psychological and sociological elements of hierarchy and argue that status and power are two important yet distinct bases of hierarchical differentiation. We first define power and status and distinguish our definitions from previous conceptualizations. We then integrate a number of different literatures to explain why status and power hierarchies tend to be self‐reinforcing. Power, related to one’s control over valued resources, transforms individual psychology such that the powerful think and act in ways that lead to the retention and acquisition of power. Status, related to the respect one has in the eyes of others, generates expectations for behavior and opportunities for advancement that favor those with a prior status advantage. We also explore the role that hierarchy‐enhancing belief systems play in stabilizing hierarchy, both from the bottom up and from the top down. Finally, we address a number of factors that we think are instrumental in explaining the conditions under which hierarchies change. Our framework suggests a number of avenues for future research on the bases, causes, and consequences of hierarchy in groups and organizations.
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This study explored two questions: Do people tend to display and experience other people's emotions? If so, what impact does power have on people's susceptibility to emotional contagion? We speculated that the powerless should pay more attention to their superiors (than their superiors pay to them) and should thus be especially likely to “catch” their superion' emotions as well. College students, given the role of “teacher” (powerful person) or “learner” (powerless person), observed videotapes of another (fictitious) subject relating an emotional experience. They were asked what emotions they felt as they watched their partner describe the happiest and saddest event in his life. In addition, they were videotaped as they watched the tape. As predicted, clear evidence of emotional contagion was obtained in this controlled laboratory setting. However, a direct (rather than inverse) relation between power and emotional contagion was found. Powerful subjects were more likely to display their subordinate's feelings than subordinates were to display those of the powerful other. Several possible explanations for these unexpected results were proposed.
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Power dynamics are a ubiquitous feature of human social life, yet little is known about how power is implemented in the brain. Motor resonance is the activation of similar brain networks when acting and when watching someone else act, and is thought to be implemented, in part, by the human mirror system. We investigated the effects of power on motor resonance during an action observation task. Separate groups of participants underwent a high-, neutral, or low-power induction priming procedure, prior to observing the actions of another person. During observation, motor resonance was determined with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) via measures of motor cortical output. High-power participants demonstrated lower levels of resonance than low-power participants, suggesting reduced mirroring of other people in those with power. These differences suggest that decreased motor resonance to others' actions might be one of the neural mechanisms underlying power-induced asymmetries in processing our social interaction partners. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
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The theory outlined in the present chapter adopts a cognitive approach to motivation. In the pages that follow we describe a research program premised on the notion that the cognitive treatment affords conceptual and methodological advantages enabling new insights into problems of motivated action, self-regulation and self-control. We begin by placing our work in the broader historical context of social psychological theorizing about motivation and cognition. We then present our theoretical notions and trace their implications for a variety of psychological issues including activity-experience, goal-commitment, choice, and substitution. The gist of the chapter that follows describes our empirical research concerning a broad range of phenomena informed by the goal-systemic analysis. Motivation Versus Cognition, or Motivation as Cognition Motivation versus cognition: the “separatist program. ” Social psychological theories have often treated motivation as separate from cognition, and have often approached it in a somewhat static manner. The separatism of the “motivation versus cognition ” approach was manifest in several major formulations and debates. Thus, for example, the dissonance versus self-perception debate (Bem, 1972) pitted against each other motivational (i.e., dissonance) versus cognitive (i.e., self-perception) explanations of attitude change phenomena. A similar subsequent controversy pertained to the question of whether a motivational explanation of biased causal attributions in terms of ego-defensive tendencies (cf. Kelley, 1972) is valid, given the alternative possibility of a purely cognitive explanation (Miller & Ross, 1975). The separatism of the “motivation versus cognition ” approach assigned distinct functions to motivational and cognitive variables. This is apparent in major social psychological notions of persuasion, judgment or impression formation. For instance, in the popular dual-mode theories of
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Two experiments investigated the proclivity of 14-month-old infants (a) to altruistically help others toward individual goals, and (b) to cooperate toward a shared goal. The infants helped another person by handing over objects the other person was unsuccessfully reaching for, but did not help reliably in situations involving more complex goals. When a programmed adult partner interrupted a joint cooperative activity at specific moments, infants sometimes tried to reengage the adult, perhaps indicating that they understood the interdependency of actions toward a shared goal. However, as compared to 18- and 24-month-olds, their skills in behaviorally coordinating their actions with a social partner remained rudimentary. Results are integrated into a model of cooperative activities as they develop over the 2nd year of life.
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The authors propose an interpersonal social-cognitive theory of the self and personality, the relational self, in which knowledge about the self is linked with knowledge about significant others, and each linkage embodies a self-other relationship. Mental representations of significant others are activated and used in interpersonal encounters in the social-cognitive phenomenon of transference (S. M. Andersen & N. S. Glassman, 1996), and this evokes the relational self. Variability in relational selves depends on interpersonal contextual cues, whereas stability derives from the chronic accessibility of significant-other representations. Relational selves function in if-then terms (W. Mischel & Y. Shoda, 1995), in which ifs are situations triggering transference, and thens are relational selves. An individual's repertoire of relational selves is a source of interpersonal patterns involving affect, motivation, self-evaluation, and self-regulation.
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In 3 studies, the authors demonstrated that individuals are motivated by role models who encourage strategies that fit their regulatory concerns: Promotion-focused individuals, who favor a strategy of pursuing desirable outcomes, are most inspired by positive role models, who highlight strategies for achieving success; prevention-focused individuals, who favor a strategy of avoiding undesirable outcomes, are most motivated by negative role models, who highlight strategies for avoiding failure. In Studies 1 and 2, the authors primed promotion and prevention goals and then examined the impact of role models on motivation. Participants' academic motivation was increased by goal-congruent role models but decreased by goal-incongruent role models. In Study 3, participants were more likely to generate real-life role models that matched their chronic goals.
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Transactive goal dynamics (TGD) theory conceptualizes 2 or more interdependent people as 1 single self-regulating system. Six tenets describe the nature of goal interdependence, predict its emergence, predict when it will lead to positive goal outcomes during and after the relationship, and predict the consequences for the relationship. Both partners in a TGD system possess and pursue self-oriented, partner-oriented, and system-oriented goals, and all of these goals and pursuits are interdependent. TGD theory states that relationship partners' goals, pursuit, and outcomes affect each other in a dense network of goal interdependence, ultimately becoming so tightly linked that the 2 partners are most accurately conceptualized as components within a single self-regulating system. (PsycINFO Database Record
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Power is a central concept in relationships, yet existing self-report measures of relationship power are not well validated and do not assess all aspects of power. To address this, we developed the Relationship Power Inventory (RPI), a self-report measure of power for romantic partners. In Study 1, we identified the most important decision-making domains in romantic relationships. In Study 2, we generated an item pool assessing relationship power, selected the best performing items for inclusion, and tested the convergent and divergent validity properties of the RPI. Study 3 revealed RPI scores predict observer ratings of power during decision-making discussions and showed the RPI has good test–retest reliability. We discuss how the RPI can advance research on power in close relationships
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Inspiration is a source of admirable creation—but where do people get it from? We propose that power allows individuals to draw inspiration from the self. Four studies involving different social settings and operationalizations support this idea. Study 1 revealed that greater power is associated with more self-derived inspiration and less other-derived inspiration. In Study 2, participants with a higher sense of power were more inspired by their own than by their partners’ stories in face-to-face conversations, whereas lower power participants were not. In Study 3, higher power people spontaneously generated more inspiring stories involving themselves than did lower power people. Finally, participants in Study 4 felt more inspired after writing about their own experiences than after writing about someone else’s, especially after having been primed with high rather than low power. These findings suggest that powerful people prioritize themselves over others in social interaction because this is emotionally rewarding for them.
Article
Individuals attempting to label their emotions look for a plausible source of their physiological arousal. Co-occurrence of plausible sources can lead to the misattribution of real (or bogus) physiological arousal, resulting in physically attractive individuals being perceived as more attractive than they actually are. In two experiments, female participants heard bogus heart rate feedback while viewing photos of attractive male models. Compared with low-power and control participants, high-power participants rated reinforced photos (increased heart rate) more attractive than non-reinforced photos (stable heart rate) to a greater extent when they heard their own bogus heart rate feedback (Experiments 1 and 2) and to a lesser extent when they heard a recording of another participant's heart rate (Experiment 2). These findings, which suggest that power increases the tendency to misattribute one's physiological arousal to physically attractive individuals, are discussed with reference to theories linking power and social perception. © 2014 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
Article
Goal contagion is the automatic adoption of a goal upon perceiving another’s goal-directed behavior (Aarts, H., Gollwitzer, P. M., & Hassin, R. R. (2004). Goal contagion: Perceiving is for pursuing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(1), 23–37). This paper tests the hypothesis that goal contagion is more likely between people who belong to the same groups. Because past work on goal contagion has required participants to read about the behavior of others, we also test whether goals are caught when one sees rather than reads about another’s motivated behavior. Across three studies, this ecologically valid methodology reliably produced goal contagion, and this effect was more likely to emerge when participants shared a group membership with those they observed. In Study 1, participants were more likely to take on the goal of individuals who belonged to their same university. Study 2 demonstrated that this effect occurred even when participants were not explicitly focused on the group membership of others. A final study verified that our effects were motivational by demonstrating that failing at a goal relevant task increased negative affect, but only for those who viewed the motivated behavior of someone from their own group.
Article
Five studies explored whether power undermines the quality of relationships by creating instrumental attributions for generous acts. We predicted that this cynical view of others' intentions would impede responses that nurture healthy relationships. In the first three studies, the powerful were more likely to believe that the favors they received were offered for the favor-giver's instrumental purposes, thereby reducing power-holders' thankfulness, desire to reciprocate, and trust. These effects emerged when power was manipulated through hierarchical roles or primed semantically, and when participants recalled past favors or imagined future ones. Using income disparity as a proxy for power, Study 4 found that instrumental attributions for favors in marriages led to lower levels of reported relationship commitment among high-power spouses. Study 5 provided evidence that favors are critical in triggering power-holders' diminished trust. We connect our theory and findings to both a political scientist's writings on the nature of love and power almost half a century ago as well as the dilemma voiced by many celebrities who find true relatedness elusive. Overall, power provides a reason to doubt the purity of others' favors, creating a cynical perspective on others' generosity that undermines relationships.
Article
This article explores the course of motivation in pursuing various goals. We distinguish between two dimensions of motivation: the motivation to attain a focal goal (outcome-focused dimension) and the motivation to “do things right” in the process of reaching that goal (means-focused dimension). We identify the conditions under which the motivation to reach a focal goal increases versus decreases over the course of goal pursuit. We then propose that the motivation to “do things right” follows a u-shaped pattern, such that it is higher at the beginning and end of goal pursuit than in the middle.
Article
The social psychological literature and the evolutionary literature on power suggest different routes by which power might inspire romantic desire: the former highlights the appealing actions of the powerful, whereas the latter demonstrates that people desire powerful individuals upon learning of those individuals' powerful status. We predicted that, in an initial face-to-face interaction, both elements must align for the powerful to inspire romantic desire. In a live mixed-sex interaction, participants experienced the most romantic desire for an opposite-sex target who (a) actually possessed power and (b) was perceived by the participant to possess power. This interaction was mediated by observable behavior—the extent to which the target controlled the conversation and was given legitimacy by the group—indicating that the powerful do not behave powerfully around unaccommodating subordinates. Power manipulations implemented in only one person's mind may not approximate how power functions in real social interactions.
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Accession Number: 2012-17735-007. First Author & Affiliation: Rucker, Derek D.; Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, US. Other Publishers: Lawrence Erlbaum. Release Date: 20120903. Publication Type: Journal, (0100); Peer Reviewed Journal, (0110); . Media Covered: Electronic. Document Type: Journal Article. Language: English. Major Descriptor: Consumer Attitudes; Consumer Behavior; Interpersonal Control. Minor Descriptor: Cognition. Classification: Consumer Attitudes & Behavior (3920) . Population: Human (10); Male (30); Female (40); . Age Group: Adulthood (18 yrs & older) (300) . Methodology: Empirical Study; Experimental Replication; Quantitative Study. References Available: Y.. Page Count: 17.. Issue Publication Date: Jul, 2012. Publication History: First Posted Date: Jul 2, 2011; Accepted Date: Jun 8, 2011; Revised Date: Jun 4, 2011; First Submitted Date: Feb 17, 2011. Copyright: Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.. Society for Consumer Psychol
Article
The current research explores whether momentary changes in power can shift professional interview outcomes. Two experiments manipulated power by asking applicants to recall a time they had or lacked power prior to writing a job application letter (Experiment 1) or being interviewed for admission to business schools (Experiment 2). Independent judges, who were unaware of the applicants' experimental condition or even the existence of the power manipulation, significantly preferred the written and face-to-face interview performance of powerful applicants to that of powerless (Experiments 1 and 2) or power-neutral applicants (Experiment 2). In addition, the judges' preference for power-primed applicants was mediated by perceptions of the applicant's persuasiveness. Overall, merely asking participants to remember a personal experience with power dramatically affected the impressions that interviewers had of them. Our findings illustrate power's far-reaching effects and have potentially important implications for understanding the psychology of job interviews.
Article
Two experiments were designed to test the adequacy of the investment model of developing relationships in predicting satisfaction with and commitment to ongoing associations. According to the investment model, attraction to and satisfaction with a relationship is a function of a comparison of the relationship outcome value (both rewards and costs) to the individual's expectations, or comparison level. Commitment to a relationship is said to be a function not only of the relationship outcome value, but also the quality of the best available alternative and the magnitude of the individual's investment in the relationship. The intrinsic or extrinsic investment of resources serves to increase commitment by increasing the costs of leaving the relationship. Thus, increases in investment size, decreases in alternative value, and increases in relationship value should increase commitment to an ongoing relationship. In Experiment 1, a role-playing study, commitment to relationships increased with intrinsic and extrinsic investment size and decreased with the value of alternatives, but was not appreciably affected by relationship costs. Satisfaction/attraction significantly increased as relationship costs decreased. In Experiment 2, a survey of ongoing romantic associations, satisfaction/attraction was predicted by relationship reward value and relationship cost value. Commitment to relationships increased as relationship reward value and investment size increased and as alternative value and relationship cost value decreased, although the effects of cost value were weak.
Article
A systemic perspective is adapted in this account of close friendships and romantic relationships in adolescence. Data from a series of studies conducted on dyads of close friends and romantic partners illustrate how, in each relationship, partners simultaneously negotiate closeness and the expression of individual needs. Two relational types—interdependent and disengaged—were consistently found across all adolescent age groups. Interdependent partners were clearly capable of co-operation. Disengaged partners, although they identified each other as closest friends, appeared incapable of restraining competition to act co-operatively. Differences between the two friendship types were evident at each developmental stage. A three-stage developmental model of adolescent friendship is proposed based on age-related issues as reflected in the two relational types.
Article
Evidence is growing that perceived social support, more often than actually received support, is an important contributor to health and personal adjustment. Perceived support may also play a role in performance. People high in social support report experiencing less cognitive interference than do those with lower levels of perceived support. This article describes two concepts that are linked with perceived support and that relate to skill development and performance: (1) the sense of support and (2) the sense of acceptance. A description of the ways in which these concepts influence exploratory behavior, reasonable risk-taking, the sense of personal control and performance level is provided. Examples of applications of this analysis to sports are given and the need for research on the supportive aspects of coaches' behavior and team cohesion is identified.“It is not so much friends' help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us.” Epicurus 13th Century B.C.