You focus on the forest when you're in charge of the trees: Power priming and abstract information processing

Pamela K. Smith, Yaacov Trope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Elevated power increases the psychological distance one feels from others, and this distance, according to construal level theory (Y. Trope & N. Liberman, 2003), should lead to more abstract information processing. Thus, high power should be associated with more abstract thinking-focusing on primary aspects of stimuli and detecting patterns and structure to extract the gist, as well as categorizing stimuli at a higher level-relative to low power. In 6 experiments involving both conceptual and perceptual tasks, priming high power led to more abstract processing than did priming low power, even when this led to worse performance. Experiment 7 revealed that in line with past neuropsychological research on abstract thinking, priming high power also led to greater relative right-hemispheric activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-596
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume90
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2006

Fingerprint

Automatic Data Processing
information processing
Psychology
Research
stimulus
experiment
activation
Forests
performance

Keywords

  • Abstract thinking
  • Construal level theory
  • Hemispheric activation
  • Priming
  • Social power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

You focus on the forest when you're in charge of the trees : Power priming and abstract information processing. / Smith, Pamela K.; Trope, Yaacov.

In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 90, No. 4, 04.2006, p. 578-596.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{bb7690aa1567471f95b535241462ad9f,
title = "You focus on the forest when you're in charge of the trees: Power priming and abstract information processing",
abstract = "Elevated power increases the psychological distance one feels from others, and this distance, according to construal level theory (Y. Trope & N. Liberman, 2003), should lead to more abstract information processing. Thus, high power should be associated with more abstract thinking-focusing on primary aspects of stimuli and detecting patterns and structure to extract the gist, as well as categorizing stimuli at a higher level-relative to low power. In 6 experiments involving both conceptual and perceptual tasks, priming high power led to more abstract processing than did priming low power, even when this led to worse performance. Experiment 7 revealed that in line with past neuropsychological research on abstract thinking, priming high power also led to greater relative right-hemispheric activation.",
keywords = "Abstract thinking, Construal level theory, Hemispheric activation, Priming, Social power",
author = "Smith, {Pamela K.} and Yaacov Trope",
year = "2006",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1037/0022-3514.90.4.578",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "90",
pages = "578--596",
journal = "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology",
issn = "0022-3514",
publisher = "American Psychological Association Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - You focus on the forest when you're in charge of the trees

T2 - Power priming and abstract information processing

AU - Smith, Pamela K.

AU - Trope, Yaacov

PY - 2006/4

Y1 - 2006/4

N2 - Elevated power increases the psychological distance one feels from others, and this distance, according to construal level theory (Y. Trope & N. Liberman, 2003), should lead to more abstract information processing. Thus, high power should be associated with more abstract thinking-focusing on primary aspects of stimuli and detecting patterns and structure to extract the gist, as well as categorizing stimuli at a higher level-relative to low power. In 6 experiments involving both conceptual and perceptual tasks, priming high power led to more abstract processing than did priming low power, even when this led to worse performance. Experiment 7 revealed that in line with past neuropsychological research on abstract thinking, priming high power also led to greater relative right-hemispheric activation.

AB - Elevated power increases the psychological distance one feels from others, and this distance, according to construal level theory (Y. Trope & N. Liberman, 2003), should lead to more abstract information processing. Thus, high power should be associated with more abstract thinking-focusing on primary aspects of stimuli and detecting patterns and structure to extract the gist, as well as categorizing stimuli at a higher level-relative to low power. In 6 experiments involving both conceptual and perceptual tasks, priming high power led to more abstract processing than did priming low power, even when this led to worse performance. Experiment 7 revealed that in line with past neuropsychological research on abstract thinking, priming high power also led to greater relative right-hemispheric activation.

KW - Abstract thinking

KW - Construal level theory

KW - Hemispheric activation

KW - Priming

KW - Social power

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33744797924&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=33744797924&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1037/0022-3514.90.4.578

DO - 10.1037/0022-3514.90.4.578

M3 - Article

C2 - 16649856

AN - SCOPUS:33744797924

VL - 90

SP - 578

EP - 596

JO - Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

JF - Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

SN - 0022-3514

IS - 4

ER -