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Power Can Chill the Mind’s Capacity for Empathy, Researchers Find
"As they predicted, the researchers found that individuals primed with high power were three times more likely to draw an E in the direction that they would view it, while those primed with low power wrote it in the direction where it could be read correctly by others."

Power can literally go to your head by damaging your brain, according to psychological research
Lindsay Dodgson
American Psycho christian bale
"An article in The Atlanticreports the work of Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at Berkeley, University of California. After several years of lab and field experiments, Keltner found that people in powerful positions acted more impulsively, were less risk-aware, and were less able to see things from someone else's point of view."

Study: Power, Distress, and Compassion Turning a Blind Eye to the Suffering of OthersGerben A. van Kleef
  •  Christopher Oveis,
  •  Ilmo van der Lo¨we, 
  •  Aleksandr LuoKogan,
  •  Jennifer Goetz,
  •  and Dacher Keltner
ABSTRACT— Responses to individuals who suffer are a foundation of cooperative communities. On the basis of the approach/inhibition theory of power (Keltner, Gruenfeld, & Anderson, 2003), we hypothesized that elevated social power is associated with diminished reciprocal emotional responses to another person’s suffering (feeling distress at another person’s distress) and with diminished complementary emotion (e.g., compassion). In face-to-face conversations, participants disclosed experiences that had caused them suffering.

As predicted, participants with a higher sense of power experienced less distress and less compassion and exhibited greater autonomic emotion regulation when confronted with another participant’s suffering. Additional analyses revealed that these findings could not be attributed to power-related differences in baseline emotion or decoding accuracy, but were likely shaped by power-related differences in the motivation to affiliate. Implications for theorizing about power and the social functions of emotions are discussed."

Study: Losing Touch: Power diminishes perception and perspective
Based on the research of Adam D. Galinsky, Joe C. Magee, M. Ena Inesi and Deborah Gruenfeld
Galinsky_Fig2-2.jpg Galinsky_Fig2.jpg
"With great power comes great responsibility, so goes the famous saying. But responsibility is not all that seems to accompany puissance—dictators often exhibit extreme behavior, often in ways patently detrimental to their nations; managers are often accused of not understanding their subordinates’ points of view; and the dominant partner in a relationship often accused of being insensitive to the other’s needs. People in power, it seems, are prone to dismiss or, at the very least, misunderstand the viewpoints of those who lack authority."

Power Causes Brain Damage'
"Over time, leaders lose mental capacities—most notably for reading other people—that were essential to their rise."


Summary:  Having power inhibits empathy.


    • "mirroring,"
    • seeing things from other people's point of view.



    •  power "impairs a specific neural process, "mirroring," that may be a cornerstone of empathy. "
    • powerful stop mimicking others
    • “stop simulating the experience of others,"


Author: JERRY USEEM - JULY/AUGUST 2017 - Atlantic


Power Corrupts – Lack Empathy
jon woodhouse
"According to research from Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, power can actually change how the brain functions. “Many people who have witnessed a colleague get promoted to an executive level have probably seen some changes in their behavior. Power has a profound effect on the neurocognitive system underlying behavior.”"

McMASTER UNIVERSITY: School of Graduate Studies
Michael Ku+

Power really DOES corrupt the mind: The brain activity of CEOs changes as they climb the career ladder and causes them to lose the ability to empathise
Researchers have found that CEOs and other leaders may suffer damage to their brain as a result of their rise to power (stock image)
  • "Neuroscientists measured the brain activity in people who felt powerful 
  • Parts of the brain that deal with empathy were less responsive in people in power
  • Prolonged feelings of power lead to permanent damage to this part of the brain
  • The study did not look at exactly why power changes the way the brain works"

Self-selected conscious strategies do not modulate motor cortical output during action observation
Katherine Rebecca Naish, Sukhvinder S. Obhi
Journal of Neurophysiology Published 26 August 2015 Vol. no. , DOI: 10.1152/jn.00518.2015

"The human motor system is active not only when actions are performed, but also when they are observed. Experimenters often manipulate aspects of the action or context to examine factors that influence this 'mirror' response."