Does power increase infidelity?


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Time Magazine has an interesting piece covering a new study (“Power Increases Infidelity Among Men and Women”):

The likelihood [of infidelity] increases the more powerful someone is,” says study author Joris Lammers, an assistant professor of psychology at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.  The research was published in Psychological Science.


The higher someone was in the hierarchy, the greater the chance there was that they reported having cheated on their partner or intending to do so in the future — regardless of whether they were male or female.

Moreover, the tendency to cheat was not linked to factors like taking frequent business trips or being a person who inherently tends to take risks. Rather, it was linked to confidence — and the more power men and women had, the more confident they were.

“My own research and that of my colleagues has shown that one of strongest effects of power is that it increases feelings of confidence,” says Lammers. “The feeling of decreased power leads to more of a focus on threat and danger. But power leads to this disinhibited sense that you can get what you want and should take risks to get it.

Interested in how power works or how to become more powerful? I highly recommend Stanford business professor Jeffrey Pfeffer’s book, Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t.

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