The urban space of the twenty-first century is markedly dominated by high-rise construction. We explore how this extensive phenomenon relates to people's lay theories of power. Drawing from socioecological psychology and seminal linguistic work on vertical metaphors of power, we test the bi-directional link between floor location and perceived power in five experiments. Experiments 1-3 demonstrate that information about a powerful (vs. powerless) individual leads to inferences about this individual's greater preference of, willingness to pay for, and actual location on higher floors. Experiments 4-5 demonstrate that information about an individual's higher (vs. lower) floor location leads to inferences about this individual's greater power. We discuss the implications of our findings for power signaling in real-world settings, social polarization and inequality, and pricing of high floors.
- AOM Annual Meeting Proceedings 2018
- AOM Chicago 2018