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Feeling socially powerless makes you more prone to bumping into things on the right and induces leftward line bisection error

By David T. Wilkinson, Ana Guinote, Mario Weick, Rosanna Molinari and Kylee Graham


Social power affects the manner in which people view themselves and act towards others, a finding that has attracted broad interest from the social and political sciences. However, there has been little interest from those within cognitive neuroscience. Here we demonstrate that the effects of power extend beyond social interaction and invoke elementary spatial biases in behaviour consistent with preferential hemispheric activation. In particular, participants who felt relatively powerless, compared to those who felt more powerful, were more likely to bisect horizontal lines to the left of centre, and bump into the right-, as opposed to the left-hand, side when walking through a narrow passage. These results suggest that power induces hemispheric differences in visuo-motor behaviour, indicating that this ubiquitous phenomenon not only affects how we interact with one another, but also with the physical world

Topics: BF
Publisher: Springer New York
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:

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