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29. Jun 2021

Love: How the feeling of power determines happy relationships

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Here you find the doctoral student’s profile of Robert Körner. He published results of his doctoral studies at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and shared the research more widely with a press release.

About the author:

R. Körner
  • Robert Körner ORCHID IDResearchGate
  • Research area(s): Social Psychology, Personality Psychology
  • Institute of Psychology (link), MLU

Field(s) of expertise during doctoral studies:

  • Power in Romantic Relationships
  • Power Posing
  • Power and Language
  • Measurement of Social Hierarchy Constructs

Curriculum Vitae

Challenges, rewards and contribution

Q: What is the most important scientific insight of your publication?
A: What matters most for high relationship quality of both partners in a romantic relationship is the absolute level of experienced power and not equal levels of power, i.e., a power balance. If partners experience high power both are more satisfied with the relationship. This effect generalized to both partners: Thus, making the decisions in personally important domains and consequently experiencing high power is beneficial for oneself and for the partner.

Q: What was challenging and what was a rewarding moment during your work presented in the publication?
A: It was extremely challenging to satisfy one reviewer in the peer-review process because she had a different theoretical stance and we had to argue very strongly why our research needs a different theoretical background and what are the benefits of the measures we used. Ultimately, we were able to convince her (and the other two reviewers) of the significance and theoretical foundation of our publication, which was a very satisfying moment.

Significance of publication

Want to have a happy relationship? Make sure both partners feel they can decide on issues that are important to them. Objective power measured by income, for example, doesn’t seem to play a big role, according to a new study by the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the University of Bamberg. Instead, how lovers perceive power dynamics in their relationship is most important for relationship satisfaction.

from press release no. 101/2021 of June 28, 2021

Related publication

R. Körner, A. Schütz 
Power in romantic relationships: How positional and experienced power are associated with relationship quality
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (2021)
doi:  10.1177/02654075211017670

About this profile

Doctoral students contribute significantly to publications highlighted by the MLU press office in many cases. These early stage researchers and their work in connection with the publication are in the focus of this profiles by InGrA.

Are you interested in science communication and have an interesting story to tell? Get in touch with MLU’s press office at

Über Thomas Michael

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