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Journal Article Critique Assignment

PSYC3121 - Social Psychology

6 Pages Essays / Projects Year: Pre-2018

The research article The Powerful Size Others Down: The link between power and others’ size composed by Yap, Mason and Ames (2013) examines the relationship between the distortion of a person’s physical size relative to the power in which they experience. Findings from this experiment were that participants who were primed or placed in a social interaction with a partner were likely to misperceive the weight and height of the opposition dependent upon the powerful or powerless of their experience. Social coordination and perception Two cues that were related to the perception of power are weight and height. Article summary Two studies were conducted to examine the extent in which an individual’s power in a manipulated scenario causes a misperception of the power of their opponent and in turn affect their perception of their physical size. In study 1 (a laboratory experiment), 85 participants (85 females) were recruited from the United States. The participants were randomly allocated to either a powerful or powerless condition. Those in the powerful condition were asked to write about an experience where they had power over another person and those in the powerless condition wrote about a situation where someone had power over them. The participants were then asked to view a photograph of a person of the same gender. They were then asked to estimate the weight and height of the person in the photograph. Positive and negative score accuracy indices were computed for these estimates for overestimation and underestimation, respectively. The researchers found that the priming of power or powerlessness experienced by the participant caused an underestimation of power cues of the person in the photograph and an overestimation of these cues in participants in the powerless condition. A second study was conducted to determine these effects in a naturalistic scenario. A fact-to-face interaction was conducted for 32 participants where the power dynamics of the situation were of consequence to the participant. The researchers controlled for variability in size caused by ethnicity and gender differences and therefore conducted only on Caucasian males. Participants were asked to complete a leadership questionnaire that would most suited, based on leadership skills to the two roles: offerer and receiver. The offerers were in power and were given $10 to choose how much he would offer to his opponent or keep to himself. The results from the second study showed that the offerer were more likely to underestimate weight and height of the powerless opponent and the receiver overestimated the size of their partner.


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