Emotions and Control: The Importance of Valence
70 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2020
Date Written: November 4, 2020
Although emotions powerfully shape our interpersonal interactions, a substantial literature has asserted that power, a critical feature of interpersonal interactions, is distinct from emotion. This prior work has defined power as asymmetric control over a resource and presumed that individuals are highly motivated to achieve greater power. We challenge this extant work in three ways. First, we demonstrate that emotion is inextricably linked with power; we link power with both state and anticipated emotion (guilt-proneness). Second, we identify valence, the attractiveness of the resource, as a critical, orthogonal dimension of power. Our results reveal that defining power as control over a resource is overly broad; this definition conflates positive power (high control, high valence) with negative power (high control, low valence) and obfuscates the psychological and behavioral differences that occur when the resource is desirable (allocating rewards) or undesirable (allocating punishment). Third, we find that emotions and valence, but not control, predict when individuals are motivated to seek power.
Keywords: Emotions, Valence, Power, Social Influence, Guilt-Proneness
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