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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions ...

Although powerful people often tend to decide and act quickly, they become more indecisive than others when the decisions are toughest to make, suggests a study in Psychological Science.

Researchers found that, when people who feel powerful also are ambivalent about a decision--torn between two equally good or bad choices--they actually have a harder time taking action than those who feel less powerful. That is different than when powerful individuals are confronted by a simpler decision in which most evidence favors a clear choice. In those cases, they are more decisive and act quicker than others.

"We found that ambivalence made everyone slower in making a decision, but it particularly affected people who felt powerful. They took the longest to act," says psychologist and lead author Geoff Durso.

Fellow psychologist Richard Petty, coauthor of the study, indicates that other research he and his colleagues have done suggests that feeling powerful gives people more confidence in their own thoughts. That is fine when you have a clear idea about the decision you want to make but, if you feel powerful and also ambivalent about a decision you face, that can make you feel even more conflicted than others would be. "If you think both your positive thoughts and your negative thoughts are right, you're going to become frozen and take longer to make a decision," Petty notes.

Adds Durso: "Powerful people feel more confident than others in their own thoughts; they think their thoughts are more useful and more true, but that can be a problem if your thought is that you're not really sure the best way to proceed. Meanwhile, people who feel less powerful are less sure about the validity of their thoughts anyway, so they think they might as well just make a decision."

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Title Annotation:Psychology
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Aug 1, 2017
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