kheru2006 (kheru2006) wrote,

Brain and body of people in power

From the bully in the playground to the office, power dynamics are everywhere in our lives.

Allegations aside, it is seen that powerful men in media, politics, and tech have been abusing their positions of power and preying on those below them have surfaced in recent months.

High-profile figures including world and Malaysian leaders have been accused of various kinds of unwanted advances, including exposing themselves to coworkers and employees, groping, and rape.

People are starting to wonder about the need of being in power that leads people to commit these despicable actions.

Science through decades of study has shown that the psychology and physiology of powerful people are notably different from those of average people.

Being powerful can dampen your ability to empathize with others.

‘Power makes it harder to empathize with other people, at the level of the brain," Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley told Business Insider.

Powerful people are less able to mirror people they observe or interact with.

Leaders can find it tough to muster up compassion.

Some research has shown that being powerful makes people more likely to break the rules, and less likely to share.

Upper-class people were more likely to be greedy and will take more than what they had already had.

Counter intuitively, greater income inequality leads powerful people to be less generous.

Income inequality can make powerful people less generous and foster a sense of entitlement.

High-income people living in conditions of low inequality, however, showed about the same level of generosity as lower-income people.

That suggests rich people may not necessarily be inherently less generous, but they are likely to be less charitable if income distribution is more unfair.

Power can help buffer against stress.

A job candidate who comes from a wealthy or privileged background already has more sources of power, so they may walk into an interview with extra "psychological resources" that buffer them from stress.

A candidate might "appear more competent, regardless of their actual abilities."

The effects of power extend from the brain into the body.

Powerful people who make more money live longer, healthier, less stressful lives.

The richest people can expect to live more than six years longer than people living below the poverty line, because they have access to things like healthier food, better health care, and relatively pollution-free neighborhoods.

A 2011 study showed that people making more than $100,000 a year also report lower levels of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness than their lower-income counterparts.

Data from the World Bank suggests that countries with higher income inequality have lower life expectancy rates at all income levels.

Researchers say the wealth inequality leads to less "social cohesion" - and more fear and stress for everyone.

We may be primed to give strong-looking men more power.

But power doesn't always help your health.

People in positions of power, their stress levels might be increasing.

Not all studies about power are bad news.

Research has shown that people who focus on the needs of others and work to improve social welfare are better at understanding peoples' needs and desires, and improve their ability to manage and cooperate with colleagues.

When people feel a heightened sense of social responsibility in connection with their position of power, they're more in tune with the needs and views of others.

It's important for people in power to remember their roots...

Social scientists say that ability to remember one's roots, the background and people that helped a person make it to the top is an exercise in gratitude that can keep powerful people in touch with others.

Leaders who remember that their power is only as good as the respect others have for them also have an easier time staying grounded.

Leaders who are ‘active good listener’ like Abraham Lincoln, is the showing quality of great leaders," Keltner said. "They stay fascinated by and devoted to other people."
Tags: body, brain, power

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