Across two studies, power-primed and neutral perceivers faced the task of forming an impression of a target person who was characterized by substantial evaluative inconsistencies and thus thwarted easy judgment. It was hypothesized that the loss to prediction and control engendered by such a target should have an especially strong impact on powerful perceivers' desire for additional target information, as such perceivers enjoy a higher initial level of control and are motivated to maintain it. As predicted, relative to neutral perceivers, power-primed perceivers in both studies indicated greater motivation to process additional target information. Moreover, attesting to their sensitivity to the target's inconsistencies, power-primed perceivers' pronounced motivation to expend processing effort was specific to the most salient domain (morality or competence) in which the target defied easy judgment. These findings add to the growing literature examining boundary conditions of the oft-cited link between power and less systematic processing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology