According to recent research findings, powerful people tend to lie better than others. Having clout and influence provides a cushion which considerably reduces the tension that lying can produce. So, the ability to be deceptive and dupe people seems to be related to whether the concerned person occupies a position of power.
High profile people like politicians, athletes and top businessmen, occupying very influential positions have always been involved in activities that necessitated lying, as opposed to more honest professions, such as locum doctor jobs. In fact the entire process of climbing the ladder of success is held to be very difficult to accomplish without resorting to underhand tactics. This old time aphorism merely seems to have been confirmed by this new piece of research.
The study “People with power are better liars” was conducted by Columbia Business School. The research subjects were divided into two classes: employees and bosses. The bosses were given a large office and a lot of power, including the ability to give salaries to the employees. Half of the subjects were urged to take a $100 bill without adequate authorization. If the participants managed to convince the interviewer that they had not stolen it, they would be allowed to keep it. The other subjects who were not involved in the act of pilfering were questioned as well.
The researchers found the subjects who had been assigned the role of the bosses displayed lesser involuntary signs of stress and duplicity. These signs included incessant shoulder shrugs, rapid speech, increased amount of cortisol in saliva, emotional distress and cognitive impairment. As a result, liars who had power were hard to differentiate from the subjects who were telling the truth. On the other hand, the liars who had been assigned the role of employees were not able to hide their dishonesty as well.
Consequently, powerful individuals seem to be better prepared to lie, both physiologically and psychologically. This very fact could be responsible for the birth of the vicious circle wherein the better liars just keep on lying.