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date: 08 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the links between social power and the mind. It reviews empirical evidence about how having or lacking power affects cognitive processes that underlie judgment and behavior. It focuses on the major components of the cognitive toolbox, such as attention allocation, attentional control, flexibility, memory, and construct accessibility. It also considers neuroscientific evidence and discusses dynamical conceptions of cognition and self-regulation as they unfold across different contexts and states of the perceiver. The evidence indicates that power enhances cognitive abilities and goal focus, but also the propensity to fast and frugal processing. Compared with individuals who lack power, power holders are more susceptible to effectively influence others, pursue goals, and satisfy their needs, while also being more influenced by constructs that are temporarily activated on a moment-to-moment basis. Thus, having power enhances situated responses and behavior variability.

Keywords: power, attention, social cognition, self-regulation

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