ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (1): 120-131.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00120

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Power and prosocial behaviour: How and why power affects prosocial behaviour

CAI Wei1; WU Song2; KOU Yu1   

  1. (1 Beijing Key Laboratory of Applied Experimental Psychology, Institute of Developmental Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China) (2 School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China)
  • Received:2015-04-09 Online:2016-01-15 Published:2016-01-15
  • Contact: KOU Yu, E-mail:


Power is an asymmetric control over valued resources. The effects of power on individuals’ prosocial behaviours depend on active goals. And both selective attention and social distance mediate this moderating process of power, active goals and prosocial behaviours. Prosocial behaviours could be promoted by increasing high-power individuals’ prosocial goals from personal, institutional and cultural levels. Future studies are required to explore the effects of different power types, power and status, and culture on the relationship of power and prosocial behaviour, as well as the effects of group power on intergroup prosocial behaviours.

Key words: power, prosocial behaviour, selective attention, social distance, active goals