The “E"s have it

By Jason Marsh | May 27, 2008 | 0 comments

Last week's issue of The New Yorker features one of the more humorous attempts to put research into practice. Staff writer Lauren Collins decided to replicate the great "E" experiment that researchers Joe Magee and Adam Galinsky ran for their 2006 study, "Power and Perspectives Not Taken," on which Robert Sutton reported in Greater Good's Winter 2007-08 issue.

Collins asked some attendees at Time magazine's Time 100 banquet–a fete for the "100 Most Influential People in the World"–to write the letter "E" on their forehead. Per Magee and Galinsky's study, Collins assumed that writing the "E" so it was legible to other people would indicate that the letter writer was skilled at taking other people's perspectives; if they wrote the "E" so it was legible only to themselves, backwards to others, that would suggest they were "self-oriented"–a trait common to powerful people.

The participants in Collins's informal study included Paul Wolfowitz, Liz Smith, NYC police commissioner Ray Kelly, and Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs. To see what she found, you can read her piece online. For more on the psychology of power, you can read Sutton's full article or other contributions to our recent issue on the subject.

Tracker Pixel for Entry

Greater Good wants to know:
Do you think this article will influence your opinions or behavior?

  • Very Likely

  • Likely

  • Unlikely

  • Very Unlikely

  • Not sure

About The Author

Jason Marsh is the editor in chief of Greater Good.


Like this article?

Here's what you can do:

blog comments powered by Disqus



Greater Good Events

Mindful Self-Compassion: Core Skills Training
International House
December 9-10, 2016

Mindful Self-Compassion: Core Skills Training

This workshop is an introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), an empirically-supported training program based on the pioneering research of Kristin Neff and the clinical perspective of Chris Germer.


Take a Greater Good Quiz!

How compassionate are you? How generous, grateful, or forgiving? Find out!


Watch Greater Good Videos

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Talks by inspiring speakers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dacher Keltner, and Barbara Fredrickson.


Greater Good Resources


Book of the Week

How Pleasure Works By Paul Bloom Bloom explores a broad range of human pleasures from food to sex to religion to music. Bloom argues that human pleasure is not purely an instinctive, superficial, sensory reaction; it has a hidden depth and complexity.

Is she flirting with you? Take the quiz and find out.
"It is a great good and a great gift, this Greater Good. I bow to you for your efforts to bring these uplifting and illuminating expressions of humanity, grounded in good science, to the attention of us all."  
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program

thnx advertisement