Sponsor(s): Chinese Psychological Society; Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
12 issues per year
Current Issue: Issue 01, 2020
Journal official website:http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/0439-755X/home.shtml
Acta Psychologica Sinica is a scholarly journal sponsored by Chinese Psychological Society and Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, co-sponsored by Department of Psychology, Chinese University of HongKong, published monthly by the Science Press. It is to publish original empirical studies and theoretical papers in the broad field of psychology including cognitive and experimental psychology, developmental and educational psychology, physiological and medical psychology, management social psychology, psychological measure, psychological history and method et al.
ZHANG Kan, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
FUNG Helene Hoi Lam, Department of Psychology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
HAU Kit-Tai, Department of Educational Psychology, Chinese Univ
The pursuit of fame at the expense of profit: The influence of power motive and social presence on prosocial behavior
Acta Psychologica Sinica,2020,Vol 52,No. 01
Power motive often aims at status and superiority and has been associated with antisocial decision-making, dehumanization of others, infidelity, and aggressive behaviors. In light of such findings, it is not surprising that the power motive has acquired a bad reputation. However, there is also a benevolent, prosocial side to power that has not received equal attention. From the beginning, researchers have emphasized the dual nature of power motive: people realize their power motive in either an antisocial or a prosocial direction. The canonical definition of power motive focuses on having an impact on others, which is not synonymous with being dominant. This is an important distinction, because the stereotypical picture associated with power is a kind of in-your-face aggressive and domineering behavior. Yet among many mammalian species, particularly primates, this type of behavior is rarely a sustainable strategy for attaining and maintaining dominance, and it is not what typically characterizes individuals high in power motive. Although such individuals can be aggressive, irresponsible, and uncooperative, they have more often been found to be clever and intelligent in their quest for impactful experiences. Research has shown that social presence (e.g., a subtle cue of being watched) has a significant influence on individuals’ behavior in social dilemmas. Specifically, it has been observed that individuals’ tendency to engage in prosocial behavior increases when acting under conditions of a social presence. With respect to social presence, reputation has been discussed as a critical factor determining individuals’ tendency to contribute to a public good and to behave prosocially. The relevant argument holds that individuals are willing to invest private resources under conditions where they can expect to build a positive reputation that may be beneficial in (future) social interactions involving indirect reciprocity. For example, research has demonstrated the status benefits of selfless behavior. Individuals pursue status by enhancing the apparent value they provide to their group and compete for status not by bullying and intimidating others, but by behaving in ways that suggest high levels of competence, generosity, and commitment to the group. This seemingly selfless behavior leads to them being perceived as more generous in their groups and, in turn, leads to a higher status and a good reputation. Therefore, individuals who sought reputation and status attained them by acting strategically prosocially. The present work builds on previous research on social presence and reputation and addresses the question of whether the effect of power motive on prosocial behavior is dependent on social presence. In essence, the current work put the assumption to the test that, under conditions where a subtle cue of being watched (study 1) or public situation (study 2) render reputational concerns salient, individuals are more likely to act in fairness (study 1) or cooperation (study 2) if they have a higher level of power motive. In contrast, under anonymous conditions, individuals’ power motive should not be related to fair and cooperative behaviors. The results confirmed our hypothesis that under conditions where a subtle cue of being watched or in a public situation, high power motive individuals, relative to low power motive participants, allocated more money to interactive partners in the ultimatum game and provided higher provision levels of public goods in the public good game. On the contrary, under anonymous conditions, no significant relationship was found between individuals’ power motive and fair and cooperative behaviors. The results suggest that people with high power motive also exhibit prosocial behaviors in consideration of strategies of reputation and status. The present work demonstrates that power motive can play a critical role in social dilemma situations. Moreover, the findings emphasize that one must take the specificity of a situation into account (particularly, whether social presence as a situational factor influences individuals’ decisions) in order to explain individuals’ behavior in dilemma situations.
Acta Psychologica Sinica,2020,Vol 52,No. 01
The flexibility of individual decision-making behavior is at least partly the result of people’s ability to travel mentally in time and entertain potential future scenarios. It has been proved that episodic foresight has a great effect on intertemporal decision-making. However, the reasons for such effects are controversial. The self-related information and emotional characteristics of an imagined event could change the perceived waiting time, which is an important factor affecting the preference of intertemporal decision-making (Zauberman, Kim, Malkoc, & Bettman, 2009). We propose the hypothesis that the perceived waiting time may mediate the effect of episodic foresight on intertemporal decision-making. Based on the delay discounting task paradigm, we designed two experiments to explore the mediating role of perceived waiting time between episodic foresight and intertemporal decision-making, from the perspective of the self-related information of the imagined event and the emotional characteristics of the imagined event that occurs in the future time intervals successively. We tested our hypothesis in two laboratory experiments with approximately 93 participants each. Between-subjects study design with pre-test and post-test was employed. In the experiments, participants were randomly assigned to different groups and they were asked to complete the subjective perception of the waiting-time task in the pre-test and post-test and the episodic-foresight task in the post-test. Participants were also asked to imagine that the given event on the screen would occur on the 15th day from today with as much detail as possible, including the time, place, and characters of the event, and write down the content of the first imagined event. Participants were also required to imagine the event that appeared on screen before making a choice every time. Moreover, the current emotional state and the current level of urgency for the money of the participants were recorded and analyzed in the pre-test and post-test. The results of the two experiments showed that the perceived waiting time mediated the effect of episodic foresight on intertemporal decision-making. Imagining self-relevant future events and future events with positive or neutral emotional valence revealed that participants perceived delayed waiting time as short and were more inclined to choose delayed rewards. However, imagining future events with negative emotional valence showed that participants perceived delayed waiting time as long and were more inclined to choose immediate rewards. The current emotional state, the current level of urgency for money, and other additional environmental variables had no effect on the experimental results. In conclusion, this study reveals the psychological mechanism that episodic foresight mediates participants’ intertemporal decision-making through the perceived waiting time, and two experiments demonstrate its robustness. Our research provides a new perspective for explaining why episodic foresight affects intertemporal decision-making and, for the first time, focuses on the process of delayed waiting time in delayed rewards, which has considerable theoretical value.