Power robs the brain of empathy

Researchers have some new insights into how power diminishes a person’s capacity for empathy. According to scientists, a sense of power shuts down a part of the brain that helps us connect with others.

 

For their study that builds on past information about how the brain operates, the researchers found that even the smallest bit of power – for instance from a job promotion or more money – can shut down our ability to empathize with others.

 

Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada and his colleagues Jeremy Hogeveen and Michael Inzlicht, conducted an experiment that shows people in charge can lose their ability to be compassionate because power affects the mirror system of the brain.

By Kathleen Blanchard