This week the gospel reading was Matthew 23.1-12 and my post--"The Politics of Exalting the Humble"--starts off this way:
In 2003 Dacher Keltner, Deborah Gruenfeld, and Cameron Anderson shared the results of unpublished study done by two psychologists (Keltner was one of the researchers) in what has been dubbed “the cookie experiment.”You can read the rest of the reflection here at the Political Theology blog.
The experiment was about power and about how power affects entitlement.
In the cookie experiment three same-sex participants were asked to discuss various political issues and make policy recommendations. One of the three participants was given the role of “judge” and asked to assign points rating the quality of the recommendations made by the other two participants. This placed the judge in a “high power” position relative to the other two.
About thirty minutes into the discussion the experimenter brought the three participants five cookies on a plate. And the number of cookies was carefully chosen.
Five cookies. Three people.
Someone isn’t getting a second cookie. Who would that be?