The implicit need for power predicts recognition speed for dynamic changes in facial expressions of emotion


Facial expressions of emotion (FEEs) have been portrayed as potent (dis-) incentives for power-motivated perceivers, because they signal the strength of a sender’s dominance. Here, we tested the hypothesis that individuals with a high implicit power motive (nPower), who have a disposition to seek (emotional) impact on others, would be faster at recognizing FEEs than individuals low in nPower. In a task employing videos of morphed FEEs, which are gradually changing from neutral to either anger, joy or surprise, higher nPower predicted faster recognition of the displayed emotion as well as a tendency to misidentify joy as anger. Our findings suggest that one way through which people high in nPower are socially influential is their enhanced sensitivity to emotional signals in their social environment.

Motivation and Emotion
Peter Donhauser
Peter Donhauser

Interested in understanding speech processing in the human brain.