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Does power lead to risk-taking?

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New research shows that people who feel powerful possess an illusion of personal control even over random events, suggests a London Business School study, in conjunction with Stanford and Northwestern. Here’s how it works:

When remembering feelings of power, participants in the study had a greater feeling of control over a chance event than when recalling feelings of powerlessness. Once offered a reward for correctly predicting the roll of a die, powerful participants wanted to roll the die themselves rather than let somebody do it for them. This suggests they felt control even when they had none.

Bottom line: Power can make people try to achieve the impossible or take risky gambles.

— Adapted from “Power and the illusion of control,” London Business School. www.london.edu/facultyandresearch/news.

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