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Power corrupts but can also ennoble the same person

26 July 2018

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The observation that power tends to corrupt is accepted wisdom but now research from psychologists suggests that holding high positions might simultaneously have good and bad consequences.

The researchers found that exercising power over others and personal control can have opposite effects. Whereas power over others was associated with antisocial tendencies, such as being aggressive and exploiting others, personal control was found to have the opposite effect.

Dr Aleksandra Cichocka, of the University's School of Psychology, and joint lead researcher Dr Aleksandra Cislak, of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland, found that people holding high office tended to display behaviours that veered between the two opposites.

The research comprised of three studies carried out in Poland and the US and involving individuals working in different organisations.

Read the full news story at the Kent News Centre. The paper, Power Corrupts, but Control Does Not: What Stands Behind the Effects of Holding High Positionsis published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin journal.


School of Psychology - Keynes College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP

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Last Updated: 19/02/2015