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Title: The Link Between Social Power and Empathy: What Role Do Positive Emotions Play?
Authors: du Pont, Alta
Advisors: Hambrick, James
Contributors: Allen, Lesley
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2013
Abstract: Social power, positive emotions, and empathy play a vital role in social processes, often leading to social benefits (e.g. mentoring, social connectedness, increased helping behavior; Algoe & Haidt, 2009; Fredrickson, 1998), but also social costs (e.g. increased stereotyping, personal distress at other’s suffering; Davis, 1983; Fiske, 1993). This study built upon prior research that connects social power with decreased empathy (Galinsky, Gruenfeld, & Magee, 2003), social power with increased positive emotion (Berdahl & Martorana, 2006), and positive emotions with increased empathy (Fredrickson, 1998). Specifically, this study analyzed positive emotionality, differentiating between self-focused positive emotions (e.g. pride) and other-focused positive emotions (e.g. gratitude) to determine if self-focused positive emotions mediate the previously established inverse relationship between power and empathy. Participants were randomly assigned into a high or low power condition, and completed a power priming essay task. They answered a series of positive emotionality and empathy questionnaires, and completed a physical perspective taking empathy task. The results indicated that, contrary to expectations, social power and empathy were not related. However, both social power and empathy were linked with positive emotionality, suggesting that social power and empathy are related to unique aspects of positive emotions. Future directions and general implications for current theories of positive emotions and social power are discussed.
Extent: 89 pages
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2017

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