Are people blind to their own power?

Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Stellar

Dr. Jennifer Stellar

Project Description

Hierarchies in which some individuals have more power than others are a defining feature of almost every group or society. However, holding power does not necessarily mean one fully understands the extent of their power. For example, a boss may think that if they ask their employee to help take care of their cat, that their employee has the freedom to say no; their employee may disagree. I hypothesize that people in power will underestimate the asymmetry of power that exists between then and others. In this project we will examine whether people who hold power fail understand their power over others. To test this question, we will ask individuals in power (bosses, leaders, and supervisors) to nominate five employees to fill out a survey about them. Each person will be asked to estimate the power distance between themselves and the other individuals. We will identify whether those in power estimate smaller distances between themselves and their employees compared to employees’ own reports.

Mentorship Statement

My goal as a mentor is to balance providing guidance and feedback with letting a mentee develop their own skills and grow as a researcher. I also believe that learning is best done through doing. For example, I will expect mentees to learn the literature in this area and take the lead in developing materials, but I will provide feedback on each stage of the research process and guide them through statistical analyses and potentially submitting a poster to a conference. I signed up for the SROP because I enjoy mentorship. There are many talented undergraduates who would be great graduate students, but may not have considered graduate school as a potential path. I would like to provide the opportunity for them to have a meaningful research experience and and develop a passion for research. I also believe that psychology benefits from the inclusion of diverse perspectives and backgrounds.

Project ID 245