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The Big E
Photo: Jennifer Marr
How narrow can human beings be in their thinking? The answer; well, it depends. A recent study appearing in an issue of Psychological Science seems to indicate that people become more self-oriented when they have more power, or more perceived power. A simple technique was used to help establish some of the baseline data.

Each participant was asked to draw the letter E on their forehead. The results were quite astonishing. The letter was written in two different ways by everyone. One was drawn in a way where everyone that the person met would be able to read it. The other was placed so that the participant could see it in his own mind…but it was backwards to everyone who looked at it.

As peculiar as it may sound, a majority of those in positions of power (or self-perceived positions of power), scribbled a backwards E on their foreheads. In fact, those who had been in groups of perceived high power during the study, were three times as likely to place the backwards E on their foreheads. In other words, they positioned the E in a way that they saw it.


And here’s the amazing part; it was discovered that the backward E people were less likely to see most issues from other than their vantage point. They were less likely to try to view anything from another perspective. Many of them it seems were, in a word, closeminded.

Upon further study it was discovered that those that drew a frontward E that everyone could recognize, were more apt to really listen to others ideas and thoughts about a given subject. In short, they were openminded.

This study is certainly not the “end-all” of information to mankind’s ability or disability to see other’s perspectives, but it does give us pause to consider whether or not we actually do. For some of us, it takes real effort to see an issue from another point of view.

I’ve talked to many people who actually believe that Christians are close-minded. They weren’t being derogatory in their assumptions, just working from the experiences that had helped to shape that way of thinking. If people actually do think that way, it should give Christians something to think hard about.

The Bible says that, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”  (2 Corinthians 3:17).

When we are living by the Spirit of God, we will recognize that our way is not always the only way in many instances, and that knowledge can open doors of opportunities to sharing God’s love with others by simply hearing what they have to say.

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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