Scientific article
Open access

Inferring power-relevant thoughts and feelings in others: a signal detection analysis

Published inEuropean Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 36, no. 4, p. 469-478
Publication date2006

Drawing inferences about other people's thoughts and feelings related to power issues (‘power-relevant' thoughts and feelings) can affect how hierarchies are formed. Perceivers who infer such thoughts and feelings can be biased (i.e., over- or underestimating the occurrence of power-relevant thoughts and feelings). We investigated whether the perceiver's gender and the perceiver's preference for a high or low power position (‘power preference') affects the perceiver's bias toward attributing power-relevant thoughts and feelings to others. Participants were 80 female and 35 male students who indicated their power preference and then guessed whether videotaped target individuals had experienced power-relevant thoughts and feelings or not. Using a signal detection approach, we found that men who preferred a high power position overestimated the occurrence of power-relevant thoughts and feelings in others more than men who preferred a low power position. No such difference in overestimation bias was found for women. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  • Interpersonal sensitivity
  • Power
Affiliation Not a UNIGE publication
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
SCHMID MAST, Marianne, HALL, Judith A., ICKES, William. Inferring power-relevant thoughts and feelings in others: a signal detection analysis. In: European Journal of Social Psychology, 2006, vol. 36, n° 4, p. 469–478. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.335
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0046-2772

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