Please wait a minute...
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, Vol. 51 Issue (1) : 106-116     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00106
Reports of Empirical Studies |
The influence of embodied implicit power on fair decision making
LI Xiao-dan1,DING Dao-qun1,2,*,YE Hao-sheng3
1 Department of Psychology, Hunan Normal University
2 Key Laboratory for Cognition and Human Behavior of Human Province, Changsha 410081, China) (3 The Center for Mind and Brain Science, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
Download: PDF(872 KB)   HTML Review File (1 KB) 
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks     Supporting Info

An expansive posture is known to make an individual display more implicit power than a contracted posture. Moreover, the priming effect of an expansive body posture is cross-cultural. The perception of power triggered by an expansive body posture is considered to be implicit. Subjective scoring has been used in most previous studies of power posing. Several kinds of measurements have been used in behavioral research to assess the perception of power. These include ratings of subjective power, power-related word-completion tasks, scenarios about power-related behaviors such as talking first in a debate. Also, power activated by expansive postures is known to have a stronger effect than recalling power-related experiences. However, there is a paucity of evidence on embodied power and fair decision making in previous research on risky decisions for detecting the influence of embodied effect. The ultimatum game and the impunity game can be used to explore how embodied power impact fair decisions without risk factors. These games were used in the current study to examine whether the metaphorical coupling of body posture and power, affected an individual's fair decisions. In Experiment 1, the influence of body posture on the proposer of an impunity game was examined. We instructed participants to keep an expansive or a contracted posture in two blocks as a proposer in which they were told that the game role was chosen by themselves. Participants’ (N = 40) allocation of 30 RMB was analyzed in Experiment 1. Experiment 2 manipulated participants’ postures and fairness of offers in the ultimatum game. The manipulation of posture and the experimental situation in Experiment 2 and Experiment 3 were identical to Experiment 1. Experiment 3 manipulated participants’ postures and fairness of offers in the impunity game. The number of valid participants’ rejection rates in Experiment 2 and Experiment 3 were 45 and 40. The three experiments controlled for the risk factor, and the mood between blocks, as well as other confounding factors. The results of Experiment 1 showed that participants in expansive posture condition allocated more money for themselves than in the contract posture condition. The results of Experiment 2 indicated that the rejection rate for unfair distribution and the rejection rate for unfair offers were higher in the expansive posture condition than in the contracted posture condition in Experiment 3. This suggests that implicit power initiated by the expansive posture affected the rejection rate of unfair offers even if the participants could not punish the proposer. Merging data of Experiment 2 and Experiment 3 indicated that the game condition had a significant main effect on the rejection rate with the rejection rate in the impunity game being higher than in the ultimatum game. These results indicate that the implicit power initiated by an expansive posture makes individuals conduct more advantages and unfair distributions in the impunity game and more rejection of unfair offers in the ultimatum game than in the contracted posture condition. Simultaneously, the implicit power triggered by the expansive posture strengthened the responders’ aversion to unfair distributions and caused aversion for the profit motive, and thereby improved the rejection rate of unfair distribution of responders in the impunity game.

Keywords embodied cognition      power metaphor      fair decision making      ultimatum game      impunity game     
ZTFLH:  B849:C91  
Corresponding Authors: Dao-qun DING   
Issue Date: 26 November 2018
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
Xiao-dan LI
Dao-qun DING
Hao-sheng YE
Cite this article:   
Xiao-dan LI,Dao-qun DING,Hao-sheng YE. The influence of embodied implicit power on fair decision making[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(1): 106-116.
URL:     OR
身体姿势 极不公平
扩张姿势 0.86 ± 0.05 0.44 ± 0.06 0.01 ± 0.1
蜷缩姿势 0.80 ± 0.05 0.32 ± 0.06 0 ± 0
身体姿势 极不公平
扩张姿势 0.47 ± 0.06 0.11 ± 0.04 0.03 ± 0.03
蜷缩姿势 0.42 ± 0.07 0.06 ± 0.03 0.03 ± 0.03
[1] Albrecht K., Essen E. V., Fliessbach K., & Falk A. . (2013). The influence of status on satisfaction with relative rewards. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 804.
pmid: 3812870 url:
[2] Anderson C., & Galinsky A.D . ( 2010). Power, optimism, and risk-taking. European Journal of Social Psychology, 36( 4), 511-536.
[3] Billeke P., Zamorano F., López T., Rodriguez C., Cosmelli D.& Aboitiz F.. ,( 2014). Someone has to give in: Theta oscillations correlate with adaptive behavior in social bargaining. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9(12), 2041-2048.
pmid: 4249481 url:
[4] Boksem M. A. S., Kostermans E., Milivojevic B., & De Cremer D. . ( 2012). Social status determines how we monitor and evaluate our performance. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 7( 3), 304-313.
pmid: 21421733 url:
[5] Camerer C.F . ( 2004). Behavioral game theory: Experiments in strategic interaction. Cuadernos De Economía, 23( 41), 229-236.
[6] Carney D. R., Cuddy A. J. C., &Yap A. J. . ( 2010). Power posing: Brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance. Psychological Science, 21( 10), 1363-1368.
[7] Carney D. R., Cuddy A. J. C., &Yap A. J. . ( 2015). Review and summary of research on the embodied effects of expansive (vs. contractive) nonverbal displays. Psychological Science, 26( 5), 657-663.
pmid: 25841000 url:
[8] Fabre E. F., Causse M., Pesciarelli F., &Cacciari C. . ( 2016). The responders' gender stereotypes modulate the strategic decision-making of proposers playing the ultimatum game. Frontiers in Psychology, 7( 126), 281-293.
pmid: 4724784 url:
[9] Feng C., Luo Y. J., &Krueger F. . ( 2015). Neural signatures of fairness-related normative decision making in the ultimatum game: A coordinate-based meta-analysis. Human Brain Mapping, 36( 2), 591-602.
pmid: 25327760 url:
[10] Fischer J., Fischer P., Englich B., Aydin N., &Frey D. . ( 2011). Empower my decisions: The effects of power gestures on confirmatory information processing. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47( 6), 1146-1154.
[11] Fiske S.T . ( 1993). Controlling other people. The impact of power on stereotyping. American Psychologist, 48( 6), 621-628.
pmid: 8328729 url:
[12] Gabay A. S., Radua J., Kempton M. J., &Mehta M. A. . ( 2014). The Ultimatum Game and the brain: A meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 47, 549-558.
pmid: 25454357 url:
[13] Galinsky A. D., Michael S., &Magee J. C. . ( 2017). The four horsemen of power at the bargaining table. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 32( 4), 606-611.
[14] Guo X. Y., Zheng L., Cheng X. M., Liu Y. J., &Li L. . ( 2017). The cognitive and neural mechanisms of perception of unfairness and related decision-making process. Advances in Psychological Science, 25( 6), 903-911.
[14] [ 郭秀艳, 郑丽, 程雪梅, 刘映杰, 李林 . ( 2017). 不公平感及相关决策的认知神经机制. 心理科学进展, 25( 6), 903-911.]
[15] Haruno M., Kimura M., &Frith C. D. . ( 2014). Activity in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala underlies individual differences in prosocial and individualistic economic choices. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26( 8), 1861-1870.
[16] Hewig J., Kretschmer N., Trippe R. H., Hecht H., Coles M. G. H., Holroyd C. B& Miltner W. H. R. .,( 2011). Why humans deviate from rational choice. Psychophysiology, 48( 4), 507-514.
pmid: 20667034 url:
[17] Hu J., Blue P. R., Yu H. B., Gong X. L., Xiang Y., Jiang C. J., &Zhou X. L. . ( 2016). Social status modulates the neural response to unfairness. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11( 1), 1-10.
pmid: 26141925 url:
[18] Hu J., Cao Y., Blue P. R., &Zhou X. . ( 2014). Low social status decreases the neural salience of unfairness. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8, 402.
pmid: 4238404 url:
[19] Jin J., Li Y., Chen D. M., &Guo K. J. . ( 2017). Effects and mechanisms of power and status on self-interested behavior. Advances in Psychological Science, 25( 5), 878-886.
[19] [ 金剑, 李晔, 陈冬明, 郭凯娇 . ( 2017). 权力和地位对自利行为的影响及其机制. 心理科学进展, 25( 5), 878-886.]
[20] Keltner D., Van Kleef G. A., Chen S., &Kraus M. W. . ( 2008). A reciprocal influence model of social power: Emerging principles and lines of inquiry. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 40( 40), 151-192.
[21] Kim P. H., Pinkley R. L., &Fragale A. R. . ( 2005). Power dynamics in negotiation. Academy of Management Review, 30( 4), 799-822.
[22] Kopsida E., Berrebi J., Petrovic P., &Ingvar M. . ( 2016). Testosterone administration related differences in brain activation during the ultimatum game. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 10, 66.
pmid: 26973448 url:
[23] Li H., Galinsky A. D., Gruenfeld D. H., &Guillory L. E. . ( 2011). Powerful postures versus powerful roles. Psychological Science, 22( 1), 95-102.
[24] Li X. D., Du J. Z., &Ye H. S. . ( 2016). Bidirectionality metaphorical effect of Chinese ritual culture: Contractive postures make people humble. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 48( 6), 746-756.
[24] [ 黎晓丹, 杜建政, 叶浩生 . ( 2016). 中国礼文化的具身隐喻效应: 蜷缩的身体使人更卑微. 心理学报, 48( 6), 746-756.]
[25] Massi B., & Luhmann C.C . ( 2015). Fairness influences early signatures of reward-related neural processing. Cognitive Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 15( 4), 768-775.
pmid: 25962511 url:
[26] Nowak M. A., Page K. M., &Sigmund K. . ( 2000). Fairness versus reason in the ultimatum game. Science, 289( 5485), 1773-1775.
pmid: 10976075 url:
[27] Park L. E., Streamer L., Huang L., &Galinsky A. D. . ( 2013). Stand tall, but don't put your feet up: Universal and culturally-specific effects of expansive postures on power. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49( 6), 965-971.
[28] Rand D. G., Tarnita C. E., Ohtsuki H., &Nowak M. A. . ( 2013). Evolution of fairness in the one-shot anonymous Ultimatum Game. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110( 7), 2581-2586.
pmid: 23341593 url:
[29] Salancik G.R., & Pfeffer J. , ( 1974). The bases and use of power in organizational decision making: The case of a university. Administrative Science Quarterly, 19( 4), 453-473.
[30] Smith P.K., & Galinsky A.D . ( 2010). The nonconscious nature of power: Cues and consequences. Social & Personality Psychology Compass, 4( 10), 918-938.
[31] Takagishi H., Takahashi T., Toyomura A., Takashino N., Koizumi M., &Yamagishi T. . ( 2009). Neural correlates of the rejection of unfair offers in the impunity game. Neuro Endocrinology Letters, 30(4), 496-500.
pmid: 20010492 url:
[32] Wang G. R., Li J. B., Li Z., Wei M. X., &Li S. D. . ( 2016). Medial frontal negativity reflects advantageous inequality aversion of proposers in the ultimatum game: An ERP study. Brain Research, 1639, 38-46.
pmid: 26930614 url:
[33] Wallace B., Cesarini D., Lichtenstein P., &Johannesson M. . ( 2007). Heritability of ultimatum game responder behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104( 40), 15631-15634.
[34] Wang Y. W., Zhang Z., Bai L. Y., Lin C. D., Osinsky R., &Hewig J. . ( 2017). Ingroup/outgroup membership modulates fairness consideration: Neural signatures from ERPs and EEG oscillations. Scientific Reports, 7, 39827.
pmid: 5209655 url:
[35] Yamagishi T., Horita Y., Mifune N., Hashimoto H., Li Y., Shinada M., … Simunovic D . ( 2012). Rejection of unfair offers in the ultimatum game is no evidence of strong reciprocity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109( 50), 20364-20368.
pmid: 23188801 url:
[36] Yang W. Q., Li Qi., Guo M. Y., Fan Q., &He Y. L. ., ( 2017). The effects of power on human behavior: The perspective of regulatory focus. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 49(3), 404- 415.
[36] [ 杨文琪, 李强, 郭名扬, 范谦, 何伊丽 . ( 2017). 权力感对个体的影响: 调节定向的视角. 心理学报, 49( 3), 404-415.]
[37] Zak P. J., Kurzban R., Ahmadi S., Swerdloff R. S., Park J., Efremidze L., … Matzner W . ( 2009). Testosterone administration decreases generosity in the ultimatum game. Plos One, 4( 12), e8330.
pmid: 20016825 url:
[1] Xiaolei SONG, Yangyang LI, Qian YANG, Xuqun YOU. The influence of different status of the observer’s responding hands on observational learning in the joint task[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(9): 975-984.
[2] Zhongyi YI,Wendeng YANG,Haosheng YE. Influence of soft and hard tactical experiences on gender role cognition[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(7): 793-802.
[3] YE Haosheng, MA Yankun, YANG Wendeng.  Body and cognitive representation: Understandings and divergences[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(4): 462-472.
[4] ZHANG Shuwei.  Social justice, institutional trust and public cooperation intention[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(6): 794-813.
[5] LIU Wenjuan; SHEN Manqiong; LI Ying; WANG Ruiming. The interaction between emotional concept processing and emotional face perception[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(2): 163-173.
[6] LIU Siyun; ZHOU Zongkui; LI Na. The Impact of Cyber-Experience on Action Verb Processing[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(8): 992-1003.
[7] LI Xiaodan; YE Haosheng. Embodied Cognition in Ancient Chinese Confucianism and Taoism[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(5): 702-710.
[8] TANG Peipei; YE Haosheng; DU Jianzheng. The Spatial Size Metaphor of Power Concepts: A Perspective from Embodied Cognition[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(4): 514-521.
[9] YE Haosheng. Theoretical Analysis of the Meaning of Embodiment[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(7): 1032-1042.
[10] LI Huijuan;ZHANG Jijia;ZHANG Ruixin. The Vertically Spatial Metaphors of Kinship words of Qiang Nationality[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(4): 481-491.
[11] WANG Yiwen; ZHANG Zhen; ZHANG Wei; HUANG Liang; GUO Fengbo; Yuan Sheng. Group Membership Modulates The Recipient’s Fairness Consideration in Ultimatum Game[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(12): 1850-1859.
[12] WU Xiangci; WANG Enguo. Power Shifts Attention on A Vertical Dimension: An ERP Study[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(12): 1871-1879.
[13] SHEN Manqiong; XIE Jiushu; ZHANG Kun; Li Ying; ZENG Chuxuan; WANG Ruiming. The Spatial Metaphor of Bilingual Affective Concepts Processing[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(11): 1671-1681.
[14] WANG Zeng;LU Zhongyi. The Vertical Spatial Metaphor of Moral Concepts and Its Influence on Cognition[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2013, 45(5): 538-545.
[15] YE Haosheng. Cognition and Body: A Perspective from Theoretical Psychology[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2013, 45(4): 481-488.
Full text



Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech