The impact of power on information processing depends on cultural orientation

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Two studies show that different culturally based concepts of interpersonal power have distinct implications for information processing. People with a vertical individualist (VI) cultural orientation view power in personalized terms (power is for gaining status over and recognition by others), whereas people with a horizontal collectivist (HC) cultural orientation view power in socialized terms (power is for benefitting and helping others). The distinct goals associated with these power concepts are served by different mindsets, such as stereotyping others versus learning the individuating needs of others. Therefore, for high-VI individuals, making personalized power salient increases stereotyping in processing product information. That is, they recognize better information that is congruent with their prior product expectations, relative to their recognition of incongruent information. In contrast, for high-HC people, making socialized power salient increases individuating processes, characterized by better memory for incongruent information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)959-967
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Cultural values
  • Information-processing
  • Mindsets
  • Power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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