Past investigations show that asking participants to recall a personal episode of power affects behavior in a variety of ways. Recently, some researchers have questioned the replicability of such priming effects. This article adds to this conversation by investigating a moderator of power recall effects: ease of retrieval. Four experiments find that the effects of the power recall manipulation are reduced or even reversed when the power episode is difficult to recall. This moderation is demonstrated across three effects associated with power: confidence, disobedience, and unethical behavior. This moderation occurs regardless of whether ease of retrieval was measured or manipulated. These findings offer insight to the efficacy of the power recall manipulation and provide one explanation for failures to replicate (i.e., populations or situations differ in ease of retrieval). Overall, this work encourages a cumulative science by fine-tuning our understanding of when recalling experiences of power drive behavior.

J. Lammers, D. Dubois, D.D. Rucker, and Adam Galinsky
Journal Article
Publication Date
Social Cognition

Full Citation

Lammers, J., D. Dubois, D.D. Rucker, and Adam Galinsky
. “Ease of retrievals moderates the effects of power: Implications for replicability of power recall effects.”
Social Cognition
, (January 01, 2017):