International Society of Political Psychology

Conference Abstracts

2GG The Dynamics of Power and Trust for Intragroup and Intergroup Relations

(Session Organizer) Felicia Pratto, University of Connecticut; (Chair) Felicia Pratto, University of Connecticut; (Chair) Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington, Harvard University

Conference: ISPP 2011
Affiliation: University of Connecticut
Research Area: Intergroup relations

Much of politics, and indeed of social life, concerns power relations and levels of trust or mistrust among individuals and between groups. Coalitions, group formation, and negotiation depend to some extent on trust and are often means of trying to balance power inequities. The present symposium goes beyond power and trust as two basic dimensions of social judgment using experiments that show how power relations and judgments of whether power is used in a moral or beneficent way changes relationships. The presenters use different theoretical frames and methods to explore new implications of power and trust for intra- and intergroup relations. Lee considers what kinds of power and its social purpose (self-prioritizing or pro-social) lead different social groups to be judged high or low in power and in trustworthiness. Sheehy-Skeffington and Sidanius show that people implicitly adopt the power perspective of those they observe, although they take a complementary perspective when they share group membership with them. Bruneau and Saxe show with naturalistic samples and experiments that having high power reduces moral prohibitions against harming others. Stewart et al. show that when local cultures privilege agency, people use violence more and come to view their local society as more competitive and harsh, compared to cultures in which communion is privileged. Thus, all four talks will examine how power and trust influence the quality of relationships either within groups (Sheehy-Skeffington & Sidanius, Stewart et al.) or between groups (Lee, Bruneau & Saxe) that inform the psychology of politics.