In the past 20 years, more has been found out about the brain than in all of the years before this time. As we continue to learn about how the brain works, it's how we put these findings into measurable actions and changes in behaviour which will make a difference in day-to-day work and culture.
This is an interesting finding. The constant assertion of power can change the brain structure. Under the influence of power, the part of the brain responsible for empathy reduces, meaning the individuals become more impulsive, less risk-aware and less able to see things from another's point of view.
This is understandable as we constantly rewire our brains. But what would be interesting is to see whether these individuals were more driven by power and results in the first place? It would be logical as these inherent values often drive CEOs to make the sacrifices needed to get to the top. Also, what levels of empathy were there to begin with? It has been reported many times that females are more likely to have higher levels of empathy. With boardrooms being predominantly occupied with males, the empathy could have been reduced to begin with, meaning less rewiring was required.
Whatever the reason and depth of the study, it raises the importance of profiling against the context of the organisation and role. If this is a danger, then it is avoidable with the right support to keep CEOs grounded and able to talk through issues with an objective third party.
What they found was for non-powerful participants, mirroring worked fine. Those who were primed to feel powerful, however, showed less neural activation. Whilst participants would feel no lasting damage, continuous assertion of power can cause changes in brain structure, as the human brain possesses the characteristics of neuroplasticity, which causes it to constantly "rewire" itself – Inc reports. Obhi also ran a subsequent study where subjects were told what mirroring was and were 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” – The Atlantic reports.