If you’ve ever wondered why power can turn great people into grade-A bullies, science may have an answer for you. Dacher Keltner is a Professor of Psychology at the University of California and for two decades he’s been studying the effects of power on the brain. There are certain behaviours and personality traits he says, that will help someone rise to a position of power.
Your power is rooted in your connection to other people and what you give to them, and suddenly what that tells us is that power is a privilege. It’s a responsibility you have to make a difference in the world.
Unfortunately, what his research found is that once people gain power they don’t always respect that privilege. The mental capability of ‘powerful’ people often resembles that of someone who’s suffered a brain injury; they become more impulsive, less risk averse, and less empathetic.
The paradox hits us which is that once we feel powerful then we lose the very skills that got us the respect and esteem of others.
But his research found that some people are more likely than others to abuse their power. Can you guess who they are?
About Our Guest:
Dacher Keltner is a Professor of Psychology at the University of California Berkley and Founding Director of the Greater Good Science Centre. He is also the Author of The Power Paradox: How We Gain & Lose Power.