The Psychology of How Power Corrupts

(p. B1) Being in a position of power . . . may make people feel that they can do no wrong. In recent experiments, Dana Carney, a psychologist at Columbia University’s business school, has found that acquiring power makes people more comfortable committing acts they might otherwise be reluctant to commit, like lying or cheating. As people rise to a position of power, she has shown, their bodies generate more testosterone, a hormone associated with aggression and risk-taking, and less cortisol, a chemical that the body generates in response to stress.

“Having power changes you physiologically, reducing your body’s internal feedback that tells you which actions are good or bad,” says Prof. Carney. “Power temporarily intoxicates you.”

For the full commentary, see:
JASON ZWEIG. “THE INTELLIGENT INVESTOR; What Conflict of Interest? How Power Blinds Us to Our Flaws.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., OCTOBER 16, 2010): B1.
(Note: ellipsis added.)

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