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date: 25 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Philosophers, scientists, policymakers, and the public have questioned about who ascends to power and how power affects the person. This chapter reviews and discusses social–cognitive literature from the last decade or so that examines how dispositions and contextual factors affect the emergence of power and how having power affects the links between dispositions and behavior. Following a process-based perspective that contemplates the cognitive strategies of people in power, a model is proposed of power as a magnifier of the active self—that is, the subset of self-knowledge that is active on a moment-to-moment basis. The active self channels attention and action in line with priorities and plays a key role in action facilitation and goal-directed behavior. The active self is responsive to chronic dispositions, emotions, and current states of the person and to inputs from the environment in a flexible manner. Extant research is integrated based on this model.

Keywords: social power, dominance, dispositions, personality, trait–behavior consistency

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