Powerful people may well be sensitive to injustice and unfairness, but a recent study shows that they are much more likely to feel this way if they are the alleged victims.
Tom Jacobs, writing for Pacific Standard magazine, reports on research suggesting that “people who perceive themselves as powerful are faster to detect injustice — but only in situations where they are the apparent victims.” Psychologist Takuya Sawaoka (Stanford) led the study (published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin), which included an online survey and several controlled experiments.
Dr. Sawaoka told Pacific Standard that because “powerful people more strongly expect to receive fair outcomes, they are faster to perceive unfair situations that violate those expectations.” Accordingly, they may “react more quickly against unfair treatment, and maintain their hold on power.”
The Stanford study fits comfortably with other observations and findings on the effects of power and hierarchy…
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