Effects of Power on Mental Rotation and Emotion Recognition in Women

Tali Nissan, Oren Shapira, Nira Liberman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Based on construal-level theory (CLT) and its view of power as an instance of social distance, we predicted that high, relative to low power would enhance women’s mental-rotation performance and impede their emotion-recognition performance. The predicted effects of power emerged both when it was manipulated via a recall priming task (Study 1) and environmental cues (Studies 2 and 3). Studies 3 and 4 found evidence for mediation by construal level of the effect of power on emotion recognition but not on mental rotation. We discuss potential mediating mechanisms for these effects based on both the social distance/construal level and the approach/inhibition views of power. We also discuss implications for optimizing performance on mental rotation and emotion recognition in everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1425-1437
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number10
StatePublished - 19 Oct 2015


  • construal level
  • emotion recognition
  • mental rotation
  • power
  • social distance


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