Power, Approach and Inhibition

Power, Approach and Inhibition

By Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Cameron Anderson, Dacher Keltner
2000Working Paper No. 1669

This paper examines how power influences human behavior. We consider evidence from diverse literatures relating elevated power to approach and reduced power to inhibition. Specifically, power is associated with (a) positive affect, (b) attention to rewards and to features of others that satisfy personal goals, (c) automatic information processing and snap judgments, and (d) disinhibited social behavior. In contrast, reduced power is associated with (a) negative affect, (b) attention to threat and punishment, to others' interests, and to those features of the self that are relevant to others' goals, (c) controlled information processing and deliberative reasoning, and (d) inhibited social behavior. The potential moderators and consequences of these power-related behavioral patterns are discussed.