Home > Article > Why Presidents Seem So Tall: Psychologists Find Powerful People Feel Taller Than They Really Are – ABC News

Why Presidents Seem So Tall: Psychologists Find Powerful People Feel Taller Than They Really Are – ABC News

A few years ago Michelle M. Duguid of Washington University and Jack A. Goncalo of Cornell were talking about how their lives had changed since their undergraduate days:

“Now that we have jobs,” Goncalo recalled in a telephone interview, “the rooms feel smaller.”

The two suspected that having jobs gave them a feeling of power, which made them feel literally bigger, and they toyed with the idea of finding out if that was actually the case. Not much happened initially, because such a study would take years, but a national disaster brought their question to center stage.

As oil from the deadly 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico inched towards the shores along the gulf, BP’s chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, uttered this statement, which became the first sentence of their study:

“We care about the small people.”

That statement “generated a firestorm of controversy when he twice referred to the victims of the largest oil spill in United States history as the ‘small people,'” the study, to be published in Psychological Science, notes.

“That quote really got us going,” Goncalo said. It suggested that self-deception “is a real phenomenon that actually happens among powerful people.”

via Why Presidents Seem So Tall: Psychologists Find Powerful People Feel Taller Than They Really Are – ABC News.

Strange Random Power Quote:

We have, I fear, confused power with greatness. – Stewart L. Udall(1920 – ), commencement address, Dartmouth College, June 13, 1965

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