The power to be me: Power elevates self-concept consistency and authenticity

Michael W. Kraus, Serena Chen, Dacher Keltner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Consistency in the self-concept across social contexts has been linked to various positive outcomes, including felt authenticity and well-being. Based on theories of social power (e.g., Keltner, Gruenfeld, & Anderson, 2003), we predicted that high-power individuals, disposed to greater control of their environments and freedom of self-expression, would exhibit greater self-concept consistency relative to their low-power counterparts. Across three studies, measured and manipulated high-power participants showed elevated self-concept consistency in terms of greater coherence and consistency in their spontaneous self-descriptions (Studies 1 and 2), and less variability in trait ratings of themselves across different contexts (Study 3), relative to low-power participants. Moreover, high-power participants' tendency to be more consistent in their self-concept explained their higher reports of authenticity relative to low-power participants (Study 3). Discussion focuses on the implications of these findings for health and well-being, and for power differences in other cultural contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)974-980
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume47
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

Keywords

  • Authenticity
  • Power
  • Self-concept consistency
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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