I'm so glad someone spent money (probably taxpayer money) on this study that indicates that those who have achieved power are not affected in the same psychological manner as us peons when they deign to be untruthful.
Whereas "non-liars" feel pangs of guilt, which lead to subtle clues about their subterfuge, powerful people actually feel validated when they lie. As I read this, there's a sort of "Liar's High", not to mention a sense of arrogant entitlement involved, and as time goes on, they can't seem to break the habit.
I'm certain that if these researchers gave the same test to Congress, 99% of the members would fail.
Now, what's really interesting about this study is what's NOT written in it. I took the opportunity to look up some biographical details about the people mentioned in it, and you know what I found? The majority of the people mentioned by name in that article are all associated with the Ivy League!
David Paterson, Governor of New York is a graduate of Columbia University.
Jeffrey Skilling, former Enron President and convicted felon, is a graduate of Harvard Business School.
Mary C. Gentile, author and secondary source for this story, once taught at Harvard Business School.
The Study itself was done at Columbia University by "researchers" who research at Columbia!
Why, it's almost a scandal! They want to explain the abuse of power and the psychology of lying by the powerful, but seem to have neglected a common thread between the infamous liars mentioned, the secondary sources the reporter used, and the people who did the study: they all have an Ivy League background!
I'd be more likely to draw the conclusion that if you went to an Ivy League school you're more likely to become an expert liar, more than I would buy the theory that it becomes easier to lie with the accumulation of power. It seems as if the theory is simply trying to find a psychological basis for excusing bad behavior -- after the fact -- that is probably acquired with the air of privilege and (false) sense of superiority that comes with an Ivy League education. That feeling of superiority is probably part-and-parcel of the urge to lie, and vital to the ability to pull it off.
The Ivy League churns out liars like crack whores churn out AIDS babies. It's just that now, when we look upon the blasted heath that was once America, and see that it was laid low by our Ivy Leaguers on Wall Street, Government, Media and Academia, the Ivy League must cover up it's complicity in the crimes committed -- so it produces a study that basically implies that the Ivy Leaguers now known to be liars were psychologically predisposed to be dissemblers, and that it was a vital component of their "success". It's supposed to appear as if the Liars didn't acquire that talent at Harvard, nor were they encouraged to be anything other than upstanding moral citizens at Columbia or Princeton. In fact, attending those schools, the "researchers" seem to be saying, didn't help the Liars sharpen their talents one little bit -- what with all the Secret Societies, the Old Boy Networks, Gentleman's C's, and Marked Class Distinctions, insane Political Correctness and Affirmative Action codes, and so forth -- directly or not.
Update: I rest my case: The Latest Harvard Plagarist. Not to be confused with all the Old Harvard Plagarists.