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Jonah Lehrer on How Power Corrupts

Posted by Josh Rothman  May 24, 2011 03:20 AM

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Over at Wired, Jonah Lehrer synthesizes some recent research on how, exactly, power corrupts:

The very traits that helped leaders accumulate control in the first place all but disappear once they rise to power. Instead of being polite, honest and outgoing, they become impulsive, reckless and rude. According to psychologists, one of the main problems with authority is that it makes us less sympathetic to the concerns and emotions of others. For instance, several studies have found that people in positions of authority are more likely to rely on stereotypes and generalizations when judging other people. They also spend much less time making eye contact, at least when a person without power is talking.
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