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Emotion. 2011 Aug;11(4):816-24. doi: 10.1037/a0022761.

You never think about my feelings: interpersonal dominance as a predictor of emotion decoding accuracy.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, North Dakota State University 2765, PO box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050, USA.


Dominance and submission constitute fundamentally different social interaction strategies that may be enacted most effectively to the extent that the emotions of others are relatively ignored (dominance) versus noticed (submission). On the basis of such considerations, we hypothesized a systematic relationship between chronic tendencies toward high versus low levels of interpersonal dominance and emotion decoding accuracy in objective tasks. In two studies (total N = 232), interpersonally dominant individuals exhibited poorer levels of emotion recognition in response to audio and video clips (Study 1) and facial expressions of emotion (Study 2). The results provide a novel perspective on interpersonal dominance, suggest its strategic nature (Study 2), and are discussed in relation to Fiske's (1993) social-cognitive theory of power.

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