Posts Tagged ‘study’

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Powerlessness

March 24, 2009

In a brilliant Tufts University study into human interactions and behaviors, researchers found that a lack of self-control occasionally is a better guarantor of success in communication. That may sound counter-intutive, but  it does work out.

They caused one half of a group to become exhausted mentally and the other group they left alone. These volunteers were all white. Then they introduced black men into the room and asked them to discuss race relations. Here is an excerpt, chronicalling the results:

The results were provocative. As reported in the February issue of the journal Psychological Science, those who were mentally depleted—that is, those lacking discipline and self-control—found talking about race with a black man much more enjoyable than did those with their self-control intact. That’s presumably because they weren’t working so hard at monitoring and curbing what they said. What’s more, independent black observers found that the powerless volunteers were much more direct and authentic in conversation. And perhaps most striking, blacks saw the less inhibited whites as less prejudiced against blacks. In other words, relinquishing power over oneself appears to thwart over-thinking and “liberate” people for more authentic relationships.

Read the article here.

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