I have posted about Dr. Robertson a number of times in the past (see links below). And, at all my presentations, I recommend his books; he is an excellent neuroscientist who writes so well I often say that he writes like a poet. I see that he has written a new book The Winner Effect: The Neuroscience of Success and Failure and wanted to let Robertson fans (and those not yet acquainted with his work) know about The Winner Effect. Because I have not read it, I will link to a few articles about the book.
First, from the Guardian, is "Bankers and the neuroscience of greed." Excerpt:
...Power and money both act on the brain's reward system, which if over-stimulated for long periods develops appetites that are difficult to satisfy, just as is the case for drug addiction. We call these appetites greed and greedy people are never satisfied. That is the challenge for politicians and regulators.
Next from Ireland's Independent, is "Power and the brain: Kenny, Blair and Fianna Fail." Excerpt:
Prof Robertson said one of the consequences of power is it makes individuals focus on the positive rewards.
"No government should be in power for more than 10 years. We had a real problem of that excess of power in terms of the people in charge here."
An article from Irish Times is titled "Powerful insights into how brain works." Excerpt:
“There has been an explosion of fantastic research in social science, and also – looking at biology and the behaviour of animals – it occurred to me that probably the most important shaper of our brains is other people,” [Robertson] says. “And one of the main features of our relationships with other people is the competition we are in with some and the power relationships we have with others.”
Finally "Psychologist to give politicians tips on how to cope with power" (also from the Independent):
A shrink has been called in to talk to ministers and TDs today about the benefits and dangers of holding power.
A renowned psychologist and expert in the effects of power on the brain will address a cross-party group of TDs and senators in Leinster House at lunchtime.
"People who get power can sometimes be very significantly changed. If they get too much power, it can make them quite distorted personalities.''
'The winner effect' is a scientific term used in biology to describe how an animal that has won a few fights against weak opponents is much more likely to win later bouts against stronger contenders.
But Prof Robertson contends it applies to humans too. He says achievement changes brain chemistry, making people more focused, smarter, more confident and more aggressive.
Would it be helpful to understand better the inner workings of power? If so, you may want to pick up this book.
Here are some of my previous blog posts in which I mention Robertson:
- Images can help you paint a bright resolution to conflict
- Are you involved in half-brained mediations? Let's promote full-brained conflict resolution
- Which kind of memory works best for you? Are your clients cows or sheep?
Note: On related topics, click to hear a talk by Dr. Robertson at Alchemist Cafe; here you may read an interview of him from Human Givens Institute. And click to read his blog at Psychology Today.
Image credit: Irish Times.