Four experiments and a correlational study explored the relationship between power and perspective taking. In Experiment 1, participants primed with high power were more likely than those primed with low power to draw an E on their forehead in a self-oriented direction, demonstrating less of an inclination to spontaneously adopt another person's visual perspective. In Experiments 2a and 2b, high-power participants were less likely than low-power participants to take into account that other people did not possess their privileged knowledge, a result suggesting that power leads individuals to anchor too heavily on their own vantage point, insufficiently adjusting to others' perspectives. In Experiment 3, high-power participants were less accurate than control participants in determining other people's emotion expressions; these results suggest a power-induced impediment to experiencing empathy. An additional study found a negative relationship between individual difference measures of power and perspective taking. Across these studies, power was associated with a reduced tendency to comprehend how other people see, think, and feel.

Adam Galinsky, J. Magee, M. Inesi, and D.H. Gruenfeld
Journal Article
Publication Date
Psychological Science

Full Citation

Galinsky, Adam, J. Magee, M. Inesi, and D.H. Gruenfeld
. “Power and perspectives not taken.”
Psychological Science
, (December 01, 2006):