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  1. #1

    Default Power Diminishes Brain Function

    Power Causes Brain Damage

    The article title is patently false, which is disappointing, but it's still an interesting read.

    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.
    The article seems to take a harsh view of this, but it seems to me that diminishing empathy is a necessary change in order to lead at very high levels. However, this isn't a perfect development because apparently terrible decision-making can erupt.

    I wondered whether the powerful might simply stop trying to put themselves in others’ shoes, without losing the ability to do so. As it happened, Obhi ran a subsequent study that may help answer that question. This time, subjects were told what mirroring was and asked to make a conscious effort to increase or decrease their response. “Our results,” he and his co-author, Katherine Naish, wrote, “showed no difference.” Effort didn’t help.


    This is a depressing finding. Knowledge is supposed to be power. But what good is knowing that power deprives you of knowledge?
    Less able to make out people’s individuating traits, they rely more heavily on stereotype. And the less they’re able to see, other research suggests, the more they rely on a personal “vision” for navigation.
    The article goes on to explain that the most successful mitigation of the powerful's 'social blindness' is to have people around them who "put them in their place" and keep them grounded. People who diminish their feeling of being powerful.

    This all seems intuitively true to me, but it's fascinating to have behavioral and neuro-scientists confirm this.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  2. #2
    Senior Member HisKittyKat's Avatar
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    I was confused with the point you made about Empathy. My understanding of Empathy is a realization, an experience in real time that one can relate with so therefore can share with another who has had the same experience.

    I think you meant sympathy ? Sympathy is something we choose to give to another without any shared experience. We don't have to relate with any personal experiences, it is something we offer for whatever reason. I don't mean to be an asshat however when trying to grasp a concept and words are not used within my own understanding it throws off the entire meaning and point to what is said.

    To diminish sympathy makes sense in my mind with what you are saying here. Diminishing empathy doesn't make sense bc empathy isn't something we choose, it is something that already exist by having related shared experiences.

    I haven't read the article but I will at some point.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by HisKittyKat View Post
    I was confused with the point you made about Empathy. My understanding of Empathy is a realization, an experience in real time that one can relate with so therefore can share with another who has had the same experience.

    I think you meant sympathy ? Sympathy is something we choose to give to another without any shared experience. We don't have to relate with any personal experiences, it is something we offer for whatever reason. I don't mean to be an asshat however when trying to grasp a concept and words are not used within my own understanding it throws off the entire meaning and point to what is said.

    To diminish sympathy makes sense in my mind with what you are saying here. Diminishing empathy doesn't make sense bc empathy isn't something we choose, it is something that already exist by having related shared experiences.

    I haven't read the article but I will at some point.
    No, I didn't mean sympathy. The article discusses empathy.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

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    Senior Member HisKittyKat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    No, I didn't mean sympathy. The article discusses empathy.
    OK. I read the article, so apparently powerful people struggle with reading people and are more likely to be less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view- powerful people do worse at identifying what someone in a picture is feeling, or guessing how a colleague might interpret a remark- Less able to make out people’s individuating traits, they rely more heavily on stereotype- And the less they’re able to see the more they rely on a personal “vision” for navigation- manifest contempt for others, loss of contact with reality, restless or reckless actions, and displays of incompetence.

    Whew, this article explains so much haha~

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