Reinstating the Resourceful Self: When and How Self-Affirmations Improve Executive Performance of the Powerless

Sumaya Albalooshi*, Mehrad Moeini Jazani, Bob M. Fennis, L Warlop

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
154 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Research has found that lack of power impairs executive functions. In the present research, we show that this impairment is not immutable. Across three studies and focusing on inhibitory control as one of the core facets of executive functions, our investigation shows that self-affirmation attenuates the previously documented decrements in inhibitory control of the powerless (Studies 1-3). We also examine boundary conditions of this effect and demonstrate that self-affirmation is most effective insofar as the powerless lack self-esteem (Study 2). Finally, we directly test the underlying process of this effect and demonstrate that self-affirmation increases an efficacious self-view among the powerless, which in turn improves their inhibitory control abilities (Study 3). Overall, we conclude that reinstating an efficacious self-view through self-affirmation offsets the impairments in inhibitory control abilities of the powerless and reduces the cognitive performance gap between the powerless and the powerful.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-203
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2020

Keywords

  • Social power
  • Self-affirmation
  • Executive functions
  • Efficacy
  • Self-esteem
  • STEREOTYPE THREAT
  • CONVERGING EVIDENCE
  • ESTEEM
  • HEALTH
  • ACCEPTANCE
  • PSYCHOLOGY
  • ANXIETY
  • NEED

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