People with low power, these studies indicate, are significantly more trusting than people with high power. Specifically, they are trusting of the people with high power. Chalk it up to wishful thinking or what psychologists call “motivated cognition,” but when experimental subjects are placed in low-power situations, they very much want to believe that their high-power counterparts are benevolent and worthy of trust. This hopefulness—not based on any particular evidence—arises mainly out of a desire to evade the discomfort of being at the mercy of the more powerful.
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