1 | Power.
Subjects under the influence of power, he found in studies spanning two decades, acted as if they had suffered a traumatic brain injury — becoming more impulsive, less risk-aware, and, crucially, less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view. Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University, in Ontario, recently described something similar. Unlike Keltner, who studies behaviors, Obhi studies brains. And when he put the heads of the powerful and the not-so-powerful under a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation machine, he found that power, in fact, impairs a specific neural process, “mirroring,” that may be a cornerstone of empathy. Which gives a neurological basis to what Keltner has termed the “power paradox”: Once we have power, we lose some of the capacities we needed to gain it in the first place.
Powerful people “stop simulating the experience of others,” Keltner says, which leads to what he calls an “empathy deficit.” This is a depressing finding. Knowledge is supposed to be power. But what good is knowing that power deprives you of knowledge?
I asked Owen, who admits to a healthy predisposition to hubris himself, whether anything helps keep him tethered to reality, something that other truly powerful figures might emulate. He shared a few strategies: thinking back on hubris-dispelling episodes from his past; watching documentaries about ordinary people; making a habit of reading constituents’ letters.
Coolest article I found in the midst of reading up for my exam earlier today. Been in close contact with related content recently, especially with my exam centred around risks on Wells Fargo and my upcoming accounting theory focus on earnings management. This left me wondering if there really is more to the acts we see and what exactly goes on in these heads when they made the choices and whether they had their “persons”/”toe holders” to keep them grounded as other individuals did to anchor themselves from these tides of glory.
What and how much does it take for individuals to see past themselves in their acts of service and remain grounded in the course? mm.