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Title: When feelings matter : power increases reliance on subjective experiences
Author: Weick, Mario
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 2565
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2008
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Subjective experiences importantly contribute to the situated nature of human cognition and play a central role in guiding behaviour and judgments. However, past research on power focused exclusively on declarative knowledge, while the role of subjective experiences has been neglected. Focusing on the informational function of subjective experiences, nine experimental studies tested the assumption that power increases reliance on subjective experiences as a source of information in judgments and decision making. Study 1 was correlational and found a link between power and self-reported reliance on experiences. Studies 2 to 5 used the ease-of-retrieval paradigm (Schwarz et ak, 1991) to separate the contributions of declarative knowledge and subjective experiences to individuals' judgments. Across a variety of targets such as attitudes, self-perception, and stereotyping, and using different operationalizations of power including priming, trait-dominance, and actual power in managerial contexts, these studies showed that power consistently increased reliance on subjective experiences. Moreover, one study was longitudinal and showed that subjective experiences can have long-term effects and thereby contribute to judgmental stability. A sixth study confirmed the hypothesis that reliance on subjective experiences only provide powerful, but not for powerless individuals with a sense of certainty in their judgments. Finally, Studies 7 to 9 explored boundary conditions, showing that power does not necessarily always strengthen the impact of subjective experiences. Taken together, the present research confirmed the hypothesis that power increases reliance on subjective experiences, and it highlights implications for judgmental stability and the ways individuals derive a sense of certainty in their judgments. The results also showed that powerful individuals are flexible perceivers and do not necessarily always draw on subjective experiences. These findings contrast with previous research that has focused on declarative information and the expression of core attitudes and prior knowledge. The present research supports an emerging perspective whereby power leads to greater flexibility in judgments and decisions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: BF Psychology