How Does Having Too Much Power Affect Your Brain?





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Published on Oct 31, 2018

Power is tied to a hierarchical escalator that we rise up through decisions and actions. But once we have power, how does it affect our brain and behavior?

How Our Brains Respond to People Who Aren't Like Us - https://youtu.be/KIwe_O0am4U

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How power affects the brain
“There are also emotional effects. Dana Carney and her colleagues (Carney et al., 2010) asked volunteers to strike poses for one minute at a time that were either expansive power poses,or contracted poses. An expansive, ‘high power’ pose would be leaning back on a chair with feet on the table, and the explanation given to the participants was that the researchers needed to have the legs raised above the heart so as to get proper physiological recordings. A contracted ‘low power’ pose would be standing with head slightly bowed and arms folded tightly across the chest. Even though they only held these positions for one minute at a time, the groups who took the high power poses rated themselves as significantly more ‘in charge’ and ‘powerful’ than those who took the low power poses.”

Power and perspectives not taken.
“...these results suggest a power-induced impediment to experiencing empathy. An additional study found a negative relationship between individual difference measures of power and perspective taking. Across these studies, power was associated with a reduced tendency to comprehend how other people see, think, and feel.”

Power Changes How the Brain Responds to Others
“High-power participants demonstrated lower levels of resonance than low-power participants, suggesting reduced mirroring of other people in those with power. These differences suggest that decreased motor resonance to others’ actions might be one of the neural mechanisms underlying power-induced asymmetries in processing our social interaction partners.”


Your brain is extremely complex and it influences the way you think and the choices that you make. Thought Process examines how your brain behaves when it encounters events and actions, both positive and negative, and how that directly affects who you are. This is your brain on conflict, failure, nostalgia, power, money and more.

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