Lacking Status Hinders Prosocial Behavior Among the Powerful

Cho, Y., and Fast, N.J. (2018). Social Behavior and Personality, 46, 1547-1560.

We conducted 2 studies to examine if status has varying effects on prosocial behavior for those at different levels of the power hierarchy. In Study 1 (N = 78), adults employed full-time in the USA responded to an online survey and the results showed that self-perceived power and status interacted to predict prosocial behavior. That is, lacking status led high-power, but not low-power, individuals to engage less in prosocial behavior. In Study 2 (N = 142), we orthogonally manipulated status and power and measured prosocial behavior. Once again, lacking status led to less helping behavior among high-power, but not low-power, participants. These findings show how power and status interact to influence interpersonal helping behavior. Implications for future research on social hierarchy and prosocial behavior are discussed.