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Power Promotes Hypocrisy, Study Finds 
ByEdMo   posted on10 Jan, 12 1901 Views 0 Comments Research Add to favorite

To simulate an experience of power, the researchers assigned roles of high-power and low-power positions to a group of study participants. Some were assigned the role of prime minister and others civil servant. The participants were then presented with moral dilemmas related to breaking traffic rules, declaring taxes, and returning a stolen bike.

Through a series of five experiments, the researchers examined the impact of power on moral hypocrisy. For example, in one experiment the powerful participants condemned the cheating of others while cheating more themselves. High-power participants also tended to condemn over-reporting of travel expenses. But, when given a chance to cheat on a dice game to win lottery tickets (played alone in a private cubicle), the powerful people reported winning a higher amount of lottery tickets than did low-power participants.

Three additional experiments further examined the degree to which powerful people accept their own moral transgressions versus those committed by others. In all cases, those assigned to high-power roles showed significant hypocrisy by more strictly judging others for speeding, dodging taxes and keeping a stolen bike, while finding it more acceptable to engage in these behaviours themselves, the researchers said.

Galinsky said hypocrisy has its greatest impact among people who are legitimately powerful. In contrast, a fifth experiment found that people who dont feel personally entitled to their power are actually harder on themselves than they are on others, a phenomenon the researchers dubbed hypercrisy. The tendency to be harder on the self than on others also characterized the powerless in multiple studies.

Ultimately, patterns of hypocrisy and hypercrisy perpetuate social inequality. The powerful impose rules and restraints on others while disregarding these restraints for themselves, whereas the powerless collaborate in reproducing social inequality because they donot feel the same entitlement,Galinsky concluded.

Courtesy :Association for Psychological Science
and World Science Staff

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