McClelland’s (1976) power-stress theory proposes that persons high in need for power experience severe stress in the face of actual or anticipated social events that thwart their need to exert control or influence over others, or to achieve recognition for power-oriented behaviors. Guided by McClelland’s theory, we conducted a simulated dating service experiment with college men who scored either high or low on the Picture Story Exercise (PSE) measure of power motivation and later observed a video displaying an interview with a hypothetical dating partner. From among the 203 men who completed the PSE, 96 took part in the experiment. The video presented an 8-min enactment by a young woman who came across either as an assertive feminist or as compliant and agreeable. Electromyographic responses from the corrugator supercilii (frown muscles) fit the premise of McClelland’s power-stress theory, as did scores on the Reysen Likability Scale and the Affective Attitudes Scale.
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Fodor, E.M., Wick, D.P. & Conroy, N.E. Power motivation as an influence on reaction to an imagined feminist dating partner. Motiv Emot 36, 301–310 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-011-9254-5
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