ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (2): 283-293.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.00283

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 Children’s understanding of social power and its relationship with social behavior

 CHENG Nanhua1,2; LI Zhanxing1,2,3; ZHU Liqi1   

  1. (1 Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China) (2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China) (3 Institute of Social Psychology, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, China)
  • Received:2017-05-17 Online:2018-02-15 Published:2017-12-26
  • Contact: ZHU Liqi, E-mail:
  • Supported by:

Abstract:  While there has been much research concerning how adults understand the social power, recently researchers have been increasingly interested in how children conceptualize social power. Social power understanding is an important aspect of children’s social cognition, which can be reflected on the level of social dominance and social status. From early on, children can use different cues to judge social power, and based on these cues their cognition of social power are adaptive in evolutionary fitness. Meanwhile, children’s understanding of social power develops across the whole childhood. While younger children are more likely to acknowledge the way to get social power with dominance, older children prefer the way to get social power basing on prestige. Children’s cognition of social power can influence their selective trust, resource allocation, and prosocial behavior. Future research should consider the underlying mechanism of children’s social power cognition, and examine the processing mechanism of the relationship between children’s social power cognition and their social behavior. Moreover, cultural factor and early social interactive experience should be concerned to contribute to children’s cognition of social power.

Key words: social power cues, power attained approach, resource allocation, selective trust, prosocial behavior

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