Saturday, January 2, 2010

SciAm 60-Second Science: Powerful and Bad in 2009 (12/31/09)

Spiderman, the web-slinging hero we all just can't help but adore, always remembered, "With great power comes great responsibility." Here's one study that reiterates the importance of Spidey's wisdom.
Researchers assigned 172 subjects high-power roles (prime minister) and low-power roles (civil servant.) The subjects had to consider a series of moral dilemmas involving stolen bikes, breaking traffic rules, and instituting taxes.
In each of five experiments the more powerful characters consistently showed moral hypocrisy.  They disapproved of immoral behavior (e.g., the over-reporting of expenses) and yet behaved badly themselves.
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