The best seat in the house

Walking a mile in another person’s shoes may be the best way to understand the emotions, perceptions, and motivations of an individual; however, in a recent study appearing in the December 2006 issue of Psychological Science, it is reported that those in power are often unable to take such a journey.

Galinsky and colleagues also found that power leads individuals to anchor too heavily on their own vantage point, thus leaving them unable to adjust to another person’s perspective and decreases one’s ability to correctly interpret emotion.

Galinsky says that this research has “wide-ranging implications, from business to politics.”

For example, “Presidents who preside over a divided government (and thus have reduced power) might be psychologically predisposed to consider alternative viewpoints more readily than those that preside over unified governments.”

Galinsky also adds that a key is to somehow make perspective-taking part and parcel of power, “The springboard of power combined with perspective-taking may be a particularly constructive force.” Science Daily article

2 Replies to “The best seat in the house”

  1. A heuristic is just scientific jargon for a cognitive short cut, a “rule of thumb” that we use when we can’t make a truly informed decision.A chap called Tony offered a decent perspective to the comment above:

    Wow. I’ve never heard of the value heuristic before, but it really is interesting. It reminds me of when I’m sitting on the couch hungry, and the first thing that pops into my head is that there isn’t anything to eat when the fridge is actually full of food, and I’m just to lazy to get of the couch and eat it.

    And to kind of tie this into economics, this must have something to do with the diamond industry. I’ve always wanted a diamond, and I’ve always perceived it as scarce (which I later learned is not the case, but that’s besides the point.) These two statements must reaffirm each other in a loop of circular reasoning.

    -I want a diamond because it’s scarce.
    -The diamond must be scarce because I want it: the value heuristic.

    False logic is a beautiful thing.

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