Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The paradox of Power

We all probably know someone that has, through their own hard work and initiative,achieved some sort of status. It could be where they work, in the community or in government. A lot of us can similarly recall someone who, once having achieved this sort of "power", changed rather drastically. Interestingly, this is what psychologist have long referred to as the paradox of power. Often, someone arrives at their posistion of power because they possess qualities that others genuinely admire. The person might be polite, honest, humble and hardworking. This would explain, for example, why we might vote for somebody. We feel they are good people and feel that they would do good for the community as a whole.

As mentioned before, many fine people unfortunately change their ways once they are in power. This leaves us to ask "Que les pasa a estos payasos?". Jonah Lehrer, in the Wall Street Journal reports:
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.
That part of not making eye contact is something that happens alot at most of our local governmental meetings. Take a look when you get a chance. Sounds familiar?

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