- Less power or powerless? Egocentric empathy gaps and the irony of having little versus no power in social decision making
- Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 95 | 5
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
The authors investigate the effect of power differences and associated expectations in social decision making. Using a modified ultimatum game, the authors show that allocators lower their offers to recipients when the power difference shifts in favor of the allocator. Remarkably, however, when recipients are completely powerless, offers increase. This effect is mediated by a change in framing of the situation: When the opponent is without power, feelings of social responsibility are evoked. On the recipient side, the authors show that recipients do not anticipate these higher outcomes resulting from powerlessness. They prefer more power over less, expecting higher outcomes when they are more powerful, especially when less power entails powerlessness. Results are discussed in relation to empathy gaps and social responsibility.
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