Exploring Negative Beliefs About Power: The Role of Autonomy and Influence


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Description: “The powerful are immoral”! Across four preregistered studies (total N = 2,744), we explored the role of perceived autonomy (control over own resources) and perceived influence (control over others’ resources) for this belief. In Study 1, perceived autonomy and influence mediated the effect of power on expected immorality. Likewise, directly manipulating perceived autonomy and influence led to increased expected immorality, increased perceived intentionality of a transgression, and consequently to harsher punishment recommendations (Studies 3 and 4). Interestingly, Study 2 revealed an interaction between autonomy and influence, which we however could not replicate in Study 4. Overall, our findings suggest that both autonomy and influence are associated with immorality and thus likely drive the belief that the powerful are immoral.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International


This project contains all preregistration forms, materials, data files, and syntaxes for our manuscript: Wingen, T., & Dohle, S. (2021). Exploring Negative Beliefs About Power. Social Psychology. 52(4) https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/a000453 Our files are organized in different folders: Folder: Preregistration forms The folder “Preregistration forms” contains the preregistration forms submitted...


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