Power and Persuasion: Processes by Which Perceived Power Can Influence Evaluative Judgments

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Abstract

The present review focuses on how power—as a perception regarding the self, the source of the message, or the message itself—affects persuasion. Contemporary findings suggest that perceived power can increase or decrease persuasion depending on the circumstances and thus might result in both short-term and long-term consequences for behavior. Given that perceptions of power can produce different, and even opposite, effects on persuasion, it might seem that any relationship is possible and thus prediction is elusive or impossible. In contrast, the present review provides a unified perspective to understand and organize the psychological literature on the relationship between perceived power and persuasion. To accomplish this objective, present review identifies distinct mechanisms by which perceptions of power can influence persuasion and discusses when these mechanisms are likely to operate. In doing so, this article provides a structured approach for studying power and persuasion via antecedents, consequences, underlying psychological processes, and moderators. Finally, the article also discusses how power can affect evaluative judgments more broadly.

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