I Am My (High-Power) Role: Power and Role Identification

Joshi, P.D. and Fast, N.J. (2013). Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 898-910.

Research indicates that power liberates the self, but findings also show that the powerful are susceptible to situational influences. The present article examines whether enacting roles that afford power leads people to identify with the roles or, instead, liberates them from role expectations altogether. The results of three experiments support the hypothesis that power enhances role identification. Experiment 1 showed that enacting a particular role resulted in greater implicit and explicit role identification when the role contained power. In Experiment 2, infusing a role with power resulted in greater role identification and role-congruent behavior. Experiment 3 demonstrated that power resulted in greater role-congruent self-construal, such that having power in a close relationship caused participants to define themselves relationally, whereas having power in a group situation caused participants to embrace a collective self-construal. Implications for research on power, roles, and the self are discussed.

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Power and Reduced Temporal Discounting

Joshi, P.D. and Fast, N.J. (2013). Psychological Science, 24, 432-438.

Decision makers generally feel disconnected from their future selves, an experience that leads them to prefer smaller immediate gains to larger future gains. This pervasive tendency is known as temporal discounting, and researchers across disciplines are interested in understanding how to overcome it. Following recent advances in the power literature, we suggest that the experience of power enhances one’s connection with the future self, which in turn results in reduced temporal discounting. In Study 1, we found that participants assigned to high-power roles were less likely than participants assigned to low-power roles to display temporal discounting. In Studies 2 and 3, priming power reduced temporal discounting in monetary and nonmonetary tasks, and, further, connection with the future self mediated the relation between power and reduced discounting. In Study 4, experiencing a general sense of power in the workplace predicted actual lifetime savings. These results have important implications for future research.

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