How your power affects my impression of you

Diana Orghian*, Filipa de Almeida, Sofia Jacinto, Leonel García-Marques, Ana Sofia Santos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In the present article, we investigate how a person’s power affects the way we infer traits from their behavior. In Experiment 1, our results suggest that, when faced with behavioral descriptions about others, participants infer both positive and negative traits about powerless actors, whereas for powerful and control (power irrelevant) actors, only positive but no negative traits are inferred, an effect we call the benevolence bias. In the second experiment, (a) we replicate this effect, (b) we show that it does not depend on the specific traits used in Experiment 1, and (c) we show that it is also detected when an implicit measure of inferences is used. Experiment 3 further shows that this effect generalizes to a more generic power manipulation. Theoretical explanations for these findings are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-509
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Benevolence bias
  • Person perception
  • Power perception
  • Spontaneous trait inference

Cite this