logo en full

Research

Having power over others or being subjected to power exercised by others is almost an everyday experience for large segments of the society. Therefore, power relationships have broad social consequences. Researchers from SWPS University will study the short-and long-term effects of power on individuals who are in positions of authority.

 

Research project

IN CHARGE OR IN CONTROL?

Short- and Long-Term Effects of Personal Control and Control Over Others



Research Unit
UNI SWPS english
Grant Amount
323 219 PLN
Funding Source
NCN logo poziom en2

Duration of Research Project: February 2015–November 2018

Having power over others or being subjected to power exercised by others is almost an everyday experience for large segments of the society. Therefore, power relationships have broad social consequences. Researchers from SWPS University will study the short-and long-term effects of power on individuals who are in positions of authority.

Project Objectives

Gap in Current Theory of Power

The current psychological literature, devoted to this field of study, suggests two unresolved problems. The first problem concerns the possible scope of metamorphic effects of power. Previous studies in this field, employed the experimental design, which traced the cause-and-effect relationships, however allowed to track only short-term changes of one’s behavior. As the result, it is still unknown whether having power over others can actually change an individual (i.e. their more stable characteristics, beliefs and views) or whether it can only impact their short-term behavior. The second problem is related to the mixed (i.e. positive and negative) effects of power. Study results show that having power over others is associated with both, positive and negative impact on society, but only positive effects on the individuals who hold power. The mixed effects of power are still unexplained and require further research.

Research Direction

The researchers hypothesize that personal sense of power, stemming from the position occupied in the social hierarchy, is multidimensional. It comprises both positive (a sense of personal control and autonomy related to responsibility) and negative aspects (a sense of control over others associated with a sense of superiority and impunity). It could explain the mixed results of power on individuals, described in psychological literature.

Apart from testing this hypothesis, researchers will also investigate the scope of changes occurring in individuals, who hold positions of power. They will examine whether the behavioral changes are only short-term or whether they also impact more permanent characteristics, such as beliefs or personality of these individuals.

In psychological literature, the impact of power on beliefs, views, and the personality of people who are in positions of power is called ‘metamorphic effect of power’. It means that "power can transform the powerholder's views of the world" (Kipnis, Castell, Gergen, & Mauch, 1976, p. 127)

Methodology

The project consists of two research lines: a survey line (Study 1) and an experimental line (Studies 2,3,4). The studies will be preceded by a series of pilot studies, which will test the manipulations and scales employed in the survey and the experiments.

Study 1 will be conducted using a longitudinal design (3 waves scheduled about 5-6 months apart). The number of respondents in the first wave will equal N = 420 and the target number of people who will participate in all three waves, N = 100-120. The researcher will control the initial position of an individual in the hierarchy. They will measure the subjective sense of power, the sense of personal control and control over others. They will examine social effects of power (e.g. egocentric perspective, lowered empathy, increased self-esteem, tendency to evaluate others more negatively, and stereotyping), and social beliefs, at the time of Studies 1, 2 and 3.

Additionally, the researchers plan to conduct confirmatory factor analyses, in order to test the hypothesized two-factorial structure of the feeling of power and to test cross-lagged autoregressive models, in order to track longitudinal effects of personal control and control over others. In Studies 2, 3 and 4 they will manipulate feelings of control over own outcomes and over others' outcomes, independently of each other, in order to verify the cause-and-effect relationships.

Application of Research Results

The relations of power are present in everyday interactions between people. Therefore, investigating the underlying structure of power and identifying its socially beneficial and detrimental aspects is an important and worthwhile research task. It is especially important to study the long-term effects of power, which have not been fully examined so far. The results of this research will contribute to the development and refinement of the theoretical concept of power. They will also enable the analysis of the internal structure of personal sense of power. Overall, the project will have practical implications for organizational psychology.

Researchers

258 aleksandra cislak

 

Aleksandra Cisłak-Wójcik, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator
social psychologist
acislak@swps.edu.pl

RESEARCHERS:

Professor Peter Schmidt
Aleksandra Cichocka, Ph.D.
Natalia Frankowska, M.A.
Adrian Wójcik, M.A.

Search the database of Resaearch Project

Faculty
Funding Source
Discipline
Principal Investigator

Research Projects

Research Projects 06-06-2017

Long-Term Musical Training and Reading Ability

Neuroscientists have been interested in the undeniable impact of music on the human brain for many years. In his book Musicophilia, the noted neurologist Oliver Sacks describes how patients with...

Read more

Research Projects 01-09-2016

Future is Uncertain

Imagine a world where everything you have planned, would happen for certain. Moreover, if all the future events were positive, it would be a perfect world. Unfortunately in real life...

Read more

Research Projects 08-08-2016

Attitudinal Influences on Moral Judgments

Moral judgments and impressions are tremendously important. In extreme situations they can decide about life or death, for example convicted murderers perceived as untrustworthy (based on their appearance) are more...

Read more

Research Projects 21-07-2016

A History of Rwanda

Most people have heard about the Rwanda genocide. However, Rwanda’s history as a country goes back to the 19th century. Prior to Belgian colonisation, the current territory of Rwanda had...

Read more

Research Projects 09-06-2016

Peer Groups and Migration

The school-to-work transition is not a one-time event in the lives of young people. Rather, it is a phase that may last a few years and may include several career...

Read more

Research Projects 11-05-2016

Law on Higher Education 2.0 - Guidelines for Higher Education System i…

The team of lawyers from SWPS University, under the leadership of Professor Hubert Izdebski, will take an active role in preparing the guidelines for the new Law on Higher Education...

Read more

Research Projects 09-05-2016

The influence of psychological knowledge on the decision-making proces…

Witness testimony is a crucial element of the criminal justice system. However, memory is often false and perception distorted. Yet the testimony based on such imperfect data may change a...

Read more

Research Projects 09-09-2015

DESMOPSI System

Nowadays, the understanding of the need for psychological therapy in difficult or traumatic situations and the social acceptance of psychological intervention is growing. At the same time, in Poland alone...

Read more

Research Projects 21-08-2015

DATABASE OF EMOTIONAL MOVIES and its Application in Temperamental Stud…

An attempt to understand emotional responses and a nature of determined temperament dates back to the Ancient Greece. Modern science applies many research methods for studies of emotional behaviors, including...

Read more

Research Projects 21-08-2015

Cognitive and motivational determinants of sympathetic magic in close …

Does separation with a loved-one change the way we perceive mementos (e.g. souvenirs, clothes, and photographs) associated with the relationship? The research project conducted by psychologists from the Sopot Campus...

Read more

Research Projects 13-08-2015

Turning depressed mood into a joke - is it beneficial?

The application of emotion regulation skills in prevention of depression has been attempted repeatedly, without much success so far. Researchers from SWPS University will investigate the effects of humor, one...

Read more

Research Projects 17-02-2015

In Charge or in Control?

Having power over others or being subjected to power exercised by others is almost an everyday experience for large segments of the society. Therefore, power relationships have broad social consequences...

Read more

Research Projects 09-12-2014

Political Knowledge in Poland

The aim of the project is to investigate political knowledge in Poland, and its importance for the Polish political system. We want to check how knowledgeable/ignorant Poles are about politics...

Read more

Research Projects 09-12-2014

Plato's Conception of Justice from the Perspective of the Contemporary…

The project, though about Plato, relates to one of the fundamental problems of contemporary civilisation: are human rights, which are based in human dignity, truly universal in space and time?...

Read more

Research Projects 15-05-2014

Trajectories of Coping with Illness

The stress of coping with a serious or chronic illness impacts not only the patient, but also their family. The family worries about their loved one and must juggle their...

Read more

Research Projects 28-03-2014

Seeing is believing? Suggestion and misinformation in the video transm…

The objective of the project is to study how video images and messages are perceived and assessed by viewers. During the project, the researchers will study the reactions of viewers...

Read more

Research Projects 07-01-2014

E-COMPARED European Comparative Effectiveness Research on Internet-bas…

In 2010, 30 million Europeans were affected by depression and the number continues to grow. Half of the depression sufferers requiring mental care lack access to care services. Moreover, they...

Read more

Research Projects 09-09-2013

Social distortion mechanisms in comparative judgments. Alternative exp…

Social distortions in comparative judgments may lead to the categorization of people and divisions and thus to depreciation of their values. The research project relates to the phenomenon known as...

Read more

Research Projects 09-09-2013

The role of cognitive limitations in predecisional information process…

The project focuses on the impact of cognitive limitations on decision making. This impact is obvious in everyday decision-making, which we often do under time pressure or stress. The current...

Read more

Research Projects 09-09-2013

The Expertise Bias: its psychological mechanisms, sources and conseque…

Consumers make decisions related to investing money, taking bank loans or buying insurance policies. They often consult their choices with financial experts. In the present project we carry out experiments...

Read more

Research Projects 11-03-2013

To train or to play? A comparison of traditional and gamified training…

The aim of the project is to better understand the processes undergoing during a traditional cognitive training and to compare them with analogous processes happening during a modern method of...

Read more

Research Projects 19-10-2012

Attentional bias modification and depressive disorders

It is estimated that almost 10 percent of general population suffers from depression, but not everyone has access to effective treatments. Nowadays, depression is treated primarily with pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy...

Read more

Research Projects 21-08-2012

Psychological and Biological sources of risk aversion

Are men bigger risk takers than women? The research project, led by Szymon Wichary, Ph.D., provides data on personal differences and their impact risk taking and risk aversion. Combining data...

Read more

Research Projects 01-12-2011

A typology of the relations between non-governmental organizations in …

A close working relationship between NGOs, including knowledge and best practice sharing as well as common planning and project development, supports the growth of the third sector in economy. A...

Read more