Wednesday, June 23, 2010

People in Power May Be Better Liars

Have you ever thought about the non verbal cues you send to others while you are telling a lie? Do you try to look them in the eye; sit still; blink less? These non verbal cues are caused by anxiety and stress from lying. Dana Carney, a professor at the Columbia University School of Business recently found that people can hide these non verbal cues but that some people, specifically people in power position, actually experiences less emotional distress when lying than people in non-power positions. The participants of Carney’s study were instructed by a computer to steal a $100 bull. If they could convince an interviewer they hadn’t taken it, they could keep it. She found that lying bosses displayed fewer involuntary signs of dishonesty and stress. On all measures, liars with power were hard to distinguish from subjects telling the truth. In essence, Carvey’s study tells us that if you give people power, they’ll be more comfortable lying. Watch out for interaction where you’re not in the power position and keep a skeptical outlook.

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