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Science Politics

Study Shows People In Power Make Better Liars 265

oDDmON oUT writes "MSNBC is reporting that a Columbia Business School study shows those who hold power over others make better liars. According to one of the study's coauthors, 'It just doesn't hurt them as much to do it.' For the average liar, she said, the act of lying elicits negative emotions, physiological stress and the fear of getting caught in a lie. As a result, she added, liars will often send out cues that they are lying by doing things like fidgeting in a chair or changing the rate of their speech. But for the powerful, the impact is very different: 'Power, it seems, enhances the same emotional, cognitive, and physiological systems that lie-telling depletes. People with power enjoy positive emotions, increases in cognitive function, and physiological resilience such as lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Thus, holding power over others might make it easier for people to tell lies.'"
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Study Shows People In Power Make Better Liars

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  • by KiltedKnight ( 171132 ) * on Monday March 22, 2010 @05:17PM (#31575542) Homepage Journal

    All you ever have to do is look at various high-level politicians and you'll know that it's true. The better study would be determining how often they get caught.

  • The reptile (Score:2, Interesting)

    by katovatzschyn ( 1720514 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @05:21PM (#31575598) [] "The Reptile Always Wins" Traits such as the submission to authority are part of the deep underlying reptile brain. Even when other parts of brain saying not to, it very hard to ignore these base desire to submit. It is the core of our intelligent being. This is more than just "correlation imply causation," it is reflection of deep underlying trait that is known. There is not many news in this story. If you look on this principle you will find much to read.
  • by rxan ( 1424721 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @05:30PM (#31575744)

    Their conclusion of the study sounds ridiculous in itself.

    They make it sound like some Jedi mind-trick -- as if you are channeling your power into a lie. "These are not the droids you are looking for..."

  • by e2d2 ( 115622 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @05:31PM (#31575752)

    You know there's worse things than lying. For instance bullshit. Bullshitters don't even acknowledge that the truth is important, at least liars do that by knowingly lying. Bullshitters believe the crap they spout.

  • Re:Makes sense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @05:40PM (#31575876) Homepage Journal

    People who are in power are generally very confident people. When you lie you need to be confident or people will not be convinced.

    Sometimes you simply need to be a good liar with a bunch of well placed people to back you up. People in power may make better liars, but people who lie without getting caught find out how to get the power. Or liars are often the ones with no care for anyone else and simply want to control them. There are many ways to spin the numbers.

    Oh, and vague statistics help make better lies ;)

  • Re:That makes sense (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BlackSnake112 ( 912158 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @05:46PM (#31575962)

    The insurance have gone on record as supporting this health care reform.

    You might want to check all sides of the health care debate.

    Also, if you think that taxes and health care costs will not go up as a result of this new bill, you are sadly mistaken. I wish costs will not go up, but the numbers do not work out. How can millions of people who cannot afford health care get free health care? Those government vouchers, that is right. Those vouchers are paid for by: taxes. The added costs by the health care companies will be passed down to the customers.

    Health care costs could have been cut more by stopping all the frivolous health care related law suites. Doctors are too afraid of being sued to provide the care needed. They order too many tests to cover everything plus people lie to their doctors to get meds. The doctors and hospitals have to have massive malpractice insurance in case they are sued. Guess where the cost of this insurance goes? It is passed to their customers.

  • Re:That makes sense (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @05:49PM (#31576008) Homepage Journal
    "Bollocks. When a tax, by definition, only affects the top 2%, it ONLY AFFECTS THE TOP 2%! "

    Trouble is, this isn't going to stop with the top 2%. Heck they used to say no more taxes for those making less than $250K (per couple I think). Well, in many parts of the US, that is NOT being wealthy. I think those living in SF and NYC might could vouch for that.

    But not only time has gone by, I'm hearing more and more politicians trying to lower the bar as to what is 'rich'...$200K....those making $150K are rich...etc.

    Don't kid yourself, with this and new planned massive spending, they're gonna HAVE to start taxing pretty much everyone that is not on welfare. I forget the exact statistic, but something along the lines of the top 10%-15% or so already pay > 80% of the US's taxes. At some point, you can't squeeze more money out of them and have to hit lower hanging fruit. I hear already that new taxes are gonna move the effective top tax rates back up to near Carter era rates were....a number I heard was like 44%, especially when the Bush tax cuts expire. That just too much for the govt to take.

  • by 517714 ( 762276 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:00PM (#31576152)

    Maybe it's because most leaders are psychopaths, so they have absolute no problem telling lies at all.

    Let's just hope they are merely sociopaths!

  • Re:That makes sense (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:47PM (#31576796)

    It is certain that "Rich people put more or less the same amount of money back into the economy" but I don't think most people care about others' economies so much.

    The less money I have, the more goes into staples. That is food, housing, basic services.

    Do these all get produced in xyzcheapland- no, by and large they actually get produced locally (at least in Canada and the USA). My carpenter is local, my food / feed is grown in-country, my lumber and materials are local... That means the local city / state / country gets the benefit. This means that to service this need there is a desire to invest, where? Again not in xyzcheapland but locally.

    Someone with piles of cash will invest where they get a good return, if there is no local demand there is no inducement to invest locally.

  • by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @07:03PM (#31576984) Journal

    Well, what is the cost of lying? If you're a leader, someone might call you out, but probably not. More likely you get more power, as people follow you because you tell them what they want to hear.

    If you're a subordinate, you can get penalized - fired, demoted, reprimanded.

    So the punishment for lying is different.

  • Re:That makes sense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @07:42PM (#31577394) Journal

    The only big thing they'll be upset about is pre-existing conditions, and you can bet your bottom dollar that their friends in high places will ensure they continue to be profitable nonetheless.

    Maybe. On the other hand, the max penalty for not getting insurance is 2.5% of income. For most people (I assume including most uninsured) that's far less than the _current_ cost of health insurance. Add in the extra costs incurred by covering pre-existing conditions, and premiums will have to go up. The extra people brought in by the vouchers and the individual mandate may not be sufficient to avoid runaway adverse selection, which would not be good for the insurance companies.

    There's something more than a little sick about "solving" the problem of the uninsured by penalizing them. It somehow seems very... Republican, actually.

  • by radtea ( 464814 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:10PM (#31578650)

    Or - psychopathy is genetic, not learned.

    And F = m*v. At least, that's what I'd really like to believe, so I'm going to keep repeating it on the Internet and completely ignore all the evidence [] to the contrary [].

    Psychopathy is opportunistic. Everyone has the capacity. Most people take advantage of the opportunity when they have it.

  • by bingoUV ( 1066850 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @03:35PM (#31588188)

    obviously no sane parent would want their child to marry a smooth talking, charming, psychopath.

    I wouldn't be too sure of that. "Civilized" society calls him successful, and they would queue up to marry him.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer