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Publication Detail
Objects of desire: Subordinate ingratiation triggers self-objectification among powerful
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Inesi ME, Lee SY, Rios K
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    19, 30
  • Journal:
    Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
  • Volume:
  • Article number:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Language:
We propose that powerful individuals can become victims of self-objectification, whereby power-relevant attributes become more important to their self-definition and lead to behavior consistent with that self-definition. This process is triggered by the receipt of ostensibly kind acts from subordinates, which are interpreted by power-holders as objectifying acts of ingratiation. In Studies 1 and 2, high-power participants rated power-relevant attributes as more important to their self-definition, but only after a triggering event (i.e., receiving a favor, reading a scenario about a subordinate who voices agreement with his boss's ideas). In Studies 3 and 4, high-power participants who received a favor were more likely than others to believe that they are objectified for their power-relevant attributes. As a result, they rated power-relevant attributes as more important to their self-definition (Study 3) and were willing to pay more for products associated with power, but not for products unrelated to power (Study 4).
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