The Winner Effect-Interview with Prof. Ian Robertson on the neuroscience of power

On Being  Powerful  –      Newstalk Interview 14th May 2013- 

Professor Ian Robertson , Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin has just published a book  “The Winner Effect” and was on Newstalk Breakfast Show this morning.

He has studied the neuroscience of success and failure, and he says that power increases testosterone in both men and women and this improves mental functioning as it creates dopamine in our brains.

According To Professor Robertson , a sense of power is good for our health and makes us more optimistic and leads to us succeeding in  broader ways in our lives and that we live longer!

Too much of this however, can lead to crazy behaviour ! Also that those in powerful positions tends not to develop their empathy or ability to read cues whereas those who don’t feel powerful tend to develop this kind of empathy.

According to his research, women  are better in positions of power as we are naturally protected against the addictive and destructive effect of too much power.

He talks about the best leaders are driven by a sense of the common good rather than gratifying their ego. However, in his view  power becomes a drug and effects humans in the way cocaine does and can eventually corrupt . (Haven’t we all seen this?)  Thats why we need a democratic society because power does corrupt eventually!

This does not however take away from each of us needing to take charge of our own lives and experience our own personal power.

For the full interview with Professor Robertson listen to this mornings breakfast show at Newstalk  (please move listening bar to 23 minutes along)   Newstalk interview