Social psychologist Dacher Keltner, author of The Power Paradox, says the key to success is changing. The Machiavellian rule of the Lannisters is less effective than ground-up collaboration
If you drive a Prius, Dacher Keltner believes, there is an above-average chance that you are not an especially pleasant person. He explains how he came to this conclusion as congenially as he can. It is not a hunch.
One day, near the Greater Good Science Center that he runs in Berkeley, California, Keltner was riding his bicycle, minding his own business, when a black Mercedes almost hit him. Afterwards, he thought about that moment the indomitable motorcar paying no heed to the fragile two-wheeler as a miniature of the power dynamics in daily life, a subject that has occupied his attention for years. Its morality and its deadly and there are laws, he says. Its society in play. And I was like: Thats what were studying, right there.
With his colleague, Paul Piff, Keltner organised a study examining the behaviour of drivers at crossings where pedestrians had the right of way. The kind of car a person drives is a reasonable analogue for their place in the world, and Keltner wanted to see whether there was a relationship between power and good road manners. Cars were coded by their make, prestige and age. One researcher stood at the crossing; another waited out of sight nearby and watched what happened.
Again and again, when drivers in the least prestigious vehicles appeared, they would wait patiently for the pedestrian to cross. Not a single one of the lowest-status cars breached the rules of the road. But at the other end of the spectrum, drivers of BMWs, Mercedes and yes electric hybrid Priuses ignored the pedestrian nearly half the time. After the study was published in 2012, Keltner says, People were writing in and calling up, and there were several calls where people were saying: I drive a Prius. Doesnt that mean I probably dont violate the rules of the road? But Paul did the analysis and the Prius drivers were the worst Theyre morally superior, so they blaze through stop signs.
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us