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Surprising Science

Power Is Blind

"Why do powerful people with so much to lose push so hard to squeeze out a little more gain for themselves?" Psychologists say power can make people blind to their own actions.

“It is likely that the traders on Capitol Hill genuinely believe that their actions are beyond reproach, says Daylian Cain, a psychologist at Yale University’s School of Management. ‘This isn’t about corrupt people bending rules to line their own pockets,’ he explains. ‘People are just not good at being objective about their own potential conflicts of interest. Whatever side of an issue we’re on, we can easily convince ourselves that we’re on the right side.’ … ‘Power makes people feel both psychologically invincible and psychologically invisible,’ adds Adam Galinsky, a professor of organizational behavior at Northwestern University’s business school.”

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