Social power and frontal alpha asymmetry
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Recent studies have shown that the states of high and low social power (the ability to control or influence another's thoughts, feelings, or behaviours) are related to left and right frontal hemisphere activity, respectively, suggesting a connection with two neurobiological motivational systems-the Behavioural Activation and Inhibition Systems. However, an important and outstanding question is which state of social power is associated with differences in hemispheric activity. In the current study, we addressed this outstanding issue by examining differences in frontal alpha asymmetry while participants engaged in an established episodic recall task, priming states of high, low, or neutral social power. Our results showed that it was the low social power state that was associated with hemispheric differences; that is, the low social power state was associated with significantly less left-frontal cortical activity relative to both the high and neutral social power states, while the latter two states did not differ. We discuss our results considering previous work on social power and the notion that different social power states are associated with different cognitive and behavioural tendencies.
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