Science Explains the Arab Uprising

The effects of power on behavioral approach, the propensity to negotiate, and preference for risk were all moderated by legitimacy. We repeatedly found that legitimate power led to more approach than legitimate powerlessness, a result that is consistent with the power-approach model of Keltner et al. (2003) and associated findings (Anderson & Berdahl, 2002; Galinsky et al., 2003). But when power was conceived or expressed under the shadow of illegitimacy, the powerful no longer showed more approach than the powerless.

That’s from a 2008 paper in Psychological Science that explains how perceptions of illegitimacy can make the powerless more likely to engage in action.  The moral? Appear legit. And try to make sure the guy running the country next to you also appears legit.

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