Research article

For Powerholders ‘More is More’: Power Shapes Judgments of Logically Equivalent Comparative Statements



Human judgments are inherently comparative. Recently, a so-called more-less asymmetry in comparative communication has been demonstrated: ‘more than’ comparisons are preferred to corresponding ‘less than’ comparisons. Here we show that a ubiquitous social-structural factor – social power – shapes biases in such comparisons. Powerholders, relative to powerless individuals, liked more, agreed more with and considered more likely to be true ‘more than’ compared to ‘less than’ statements. This was true despite the fact that the differently formulated statements were logically equivalent. In Study 1 (N = 153), induced high power (vs. control or low power) led to believing that ‘more than’ statements were more likely to be true. In Studies 2A/B (N = 449) the judgments of participants in high power conditions were more favorable when comparisons were made using ‘more than’ comparisons. This was also the case in a pilot study (N = 149) in which individual differences in chronic sense of power were assessed. These findings suggest that powerholders’ decisions based on comparative information are especially prone to the more-less judgmental bias resulting in asymmetry. They are in line with approaches positing that power increases and lack of power decreases reliance on subjective experiences, including – but not limited to – ease of information processing and the use of fast and frugal strategies in judgment and decision-making.


powerjudgmentmore-less asymmetrycomparisonfluency
  • Year: 2022
  • Volume: 35 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 9
  • DOI: 10.5334/irsp.598
  • Submitted on 25 Mar 2021
  • Accepted on 7 Jun 2022
  • Published on 12 Jul 2022
  • Peer Reviewed