In this project with Robert Koerner (Bamberg Uni, Germany), we use natural language processing to identify how people signal their power through language use and how others pick up on these signals. We also examine how different use of power–coercive or collaborative–is conveyed in political communications.
We know (or think we know) that people want status because it carries privileges, opportunities, and rewards. But perhaps people want status for a more fundamental reason: because it helps keep us out of dangerous situations, thus making us safer.
In two papers with colleagues, I lay out two-factor theories that describe how some people want power for the pleasures it offers, and others because it enables progress toward important goals; and that analyze how power can lead to more agency or more aggression based on the power holder’s balance of resource control and capacity for volitional influence.