Thursday, March 18, 2010

Study: "People In Power Make Better Liars" (ya think?)

From an MSNBC article headlined People In Power Make Better Liars:
There’s old saying: power corrupts. A new Columbia Business School study titled “People with Power are Better Liars” finds there may be truth behind the cliché.

“People in power are able to lie better,” said Dana Carney, a management professor at Columbia Business School and one of the co-authors of the study. “It just doesn’t hurt them as much to do it.”

For the average liar, she said, the act of lying elicits negative emotions, physiological stress and the fear of getting caught in a lie. As a result, she added, liars will often send out cues that they are lying by doing things like fidgeting in a chair or changing the rate of their speech.

But for the powerful, the impact is very different, according to the study:

“Power, it seems, enhances the same emotional, cognitive, and physiological systems that lie-telling depletes. People with power enjoy positive emotions, increases in cognitive function, and physiological resilience such as lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Thus, holding power over others might make it easier for people to tell lies.”
Just watch Forest City Ratner's smiling Bruce Bender. Or, in that same video, Gov. David Paterson. Or Bruce Ratner. Or Nets Sports & Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark.

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