Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Power really can go to people's heads

We often speak about power going to people's heads and a series of experiments carried out by researchers at Stanford University, the London Business School and Northwestern University in the U.S. has shown that this might actually be true. In the experiments some of the participants were asked to recall an experience of holding power or assumed a position of power in a role-playing exercise while others were alloted a subordinate role. In each experiment power led to a perceived control over outcomes that were actually beyond the control of the participants. In one experiment participants were rewarded for predicting the outcome of the roll of a dice. All the participants in the 'power' group rolled the dice themselves compared to only 70% of the participants in the subordinate roles. Despite the fact that it made absolutely no difference who rolled the dice the participants in the 'power,' group had the illusion that they were able to control it.

You can find out more about this research at

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