Power Has A Scary Effect On The Brain, According To Science

Power Has A Scary Effect On The Brain

A little bit of power never hurt, right? Well, a study conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests otherwise.

In this webisode of "Fig. 1," a University of California series that takes a closer look at new research and ideas, psychology professor Dacher Keltner notes that new evidence suggests power has similar effects on the frontal lobes as brain trauma.

"Regions of frontal lobes that are now being called the empathy network ... they kind of help us detect other people’s pain," Keltner explains. "When you damage the empathy networks of your brain, which some people do, they become really impulsive.

"Through brain trauma, you become a sociopath. Our lab studies find if you give people a little bit of power, they look kind of like those brain trauma patients," he goes on to say. "When you feel powerful, you kind of lose touch with other people. You stop attending carefully to what other people think."

So while getting that corner office may lead to sociopathic tendencies, find solace in that our brains are hardwired to care about other people.

"We’re wired to care," Keltner explained in an earlier "Fig. 1" webisode. "If you feel pain, a part of your brain lights up, and if you see someone have physical pain that same part of your brain lights up."

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