ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (1): 139-149.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.00139

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The Theoretical Development and Comparison of Power: From the Perspective of Social Psychology

WANG Xue;CAI Wei;SUN Jiaqing;WU Song;FENG Ziqi;JIN Shenghua   

  1. (1 School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University; Institute of Personality and Social Psychology, Beijing 100875, China) (2 Institute of Developmental Psychology, School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China) (3 School of Labor and Human Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China)
  • Received:2013-02-17 Online:2014-01-15 Published:2014-01-15
  • Contact: JIN Shenghua


As one of the fundamental characteristics of human society, power has been paid attention by social psychologists for a long time. Power was converted from a structural concept to a psychological one. As a psychological concept, power, whose core element is the sense of control, can be implicit or explicit. In the field of social psychology, three most representative theories of power are “the approach/inhibition theory” “the situated focus theory” and “the social distance theory”, which have distinctive theoretical bases but common predictions. Further researches on power can be improved in the following aspects, including 1) distinguishing social and personal power, 2) considering how culture, motivation and self-involvement moderate power effects, 3) integrating viewpoints from different perspectives, and 4) enriching research methods of power.

Key words: power, the approach/inhibition theory of power, the situated focus theory of power, the social distance theory of power