How dopamine drives solipsism in insulated elites

Ran across this important piece of the puzzle in an unexpected place.

Power, Empathy, and Chameleons

Take a moment right now—and if there’s someone in the room with you, politely request thirty seconds of his or her time. Then ask that person to do the following: “First, with your dominant hand, snap your fingers five times as quickly as you can. Then, again as quickly as you can, use the forefinger of your dominant hand to draw a capital E on your forehead.”

Seriously, go ahead and do this. I’ll wait. (If you’re alone, slip this exercise in your back pocket and pull it out at your next opportunity.)

2019-04-26 11_21_20-Kindle Cloud Reader

Now look at the way your counterpart drew his or her E. Which photograph above does it look like?

The difference might seem innocuous, but the letter on your counterpart’s forehead offers a window into his mind. If the E resembles the one on the left, the person drew it so he could read it himself. If it looks likes the one on the right, he drew the E so you could read it.

Since the mid-1980s, social psychologists have used this technique—call it the E Test—to measure what they dub “perspective-taking.” When confronted with an unusual or complex situation involving other people, how do we make sense of what’s going on? Do we examine it from only our own point of view? Or do we have “the capability to step outside [our] own experience and imagine the emotions, perceptions, and motivations of another?”1

Perspective-taking is at the heart of our first essential quality in moving others today. Attunement is the ability to bring one’s actions and outlook into harmony with other people and with the context you’re in. Think of it as operating the dial on a radio. It’s the capacity to move up and down the band as circumstances demand, locking in on what’s being transmitted, even if those signals aren’t immediately clear or obvious.

The research shows that effective perspective-taking, attuning yourself with others, hinges on three principles.

1. Increase your power by reducing it.

In a fascinating study a few years ago, a team of social scientists led by Adam Galinsky at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management probed the relationship between perspective-taking and power. They divided their participants into two groups, the only difference being what each experienced immediately before the key experiment. One group completed a series of exercises that induced feelings of power. The other did a different set of activities designed to emphasize their lack of power.

Then researchers gave the people in each group the E Test. The results were unmistakable: “High-power participants were almost three times as likely as low-power participants to draw a self-oriented ‘E.’”2 In other words, those who’d received even a small injection of power became less likely (and perhaps less able) to attune themselves to someone else’s point of view.

Now try another test on yourself, one that doesn’t require anybody’s forehead. Imagine that you and your colleague Maria go out to a fancy restaurant that’s been recommended by Maria’s friend Ken. The experience is awful. The food stinks, the service is worse. The following day Maria sends Ken an e-mail that says only, “About the restaurant, it was marvelous, just marvelous.” How do you think Ken will interpret the comment? Will he consider the e-mail sincere or sarcastic? Think about it for a moment before reading further.

In a related experiment, Galinsky and his crew used a version of this scenario to examine power and perspective-taking from another angle—and found results similar to what they uncovered with the E Test. Participants with high power generally believed that Ken found the e-mail sarcastic; those with low power predicted he found it sincere. Who’s correct? Chances are, it’s the low-power group. Remember: Ken has no idea what happened at the dinner. Unless Maria is a chronically sarcastic person, of which there was no evidence in the experiment, Ken has no reason to suspect insincerity on the part of his friend. To conclude that he inferred sarcasm in Maria’s e-mail depends on “privileged background knowledge” that Ken doesn’t have. As the researchers conclude, “power leads individuals to anchor too heavily on their own vantage point, insufficiently adjusting to others’ perspective.”3

The results of these studies, part of a larger body of research, point to a single conclusion: an inverse relationship between power and perspective-taking. Power can move you off the proper position on the dial and scramble the signals you receive, distorting clear messages and obscuring more subtle ones.

-Daniel Pink
To Sell Is Human

Update: Moon Presence responds.

I know its fashionable to blame it all on the dopamine, but power brings higher testosterone as well, which brings more dopamine, which brings more…
The Winner Effect
Children of the highly successful are often losers because their parents didn’t spend much time with them (or teach them to win). Motivation to achieve is a strong predictor of success. Keepi…

Winning boosts testosterone which lowers anxiety and increases risk taking, pain threshold, and aggression which leads to more winning.
Losing lowers testosterone causing opposite effects.
More importantly, winning also boosts androgen receptors in parts of brain that cause motivation and social aggression
The higher up a hierarchy, the more testosterone you have.
Alot of winning can cause too much risk taking and an inflated ego that doesn’t consider alternative viewpoints.
Very important to remain grounded in reality!
Having power also changes your brain to think you have control over complex events in the world(Double edged sword).
Testosterone boosts dopamine. Power promotes focus, problem solving, and raises intellectual performance.
(in the review it says high power ppl are much better at reading facial expressions. Im pretty sure the opposite is the case. almost certainly my fault, not the book’s)
mostly unrelated but interesting:
There is a strong link between the size of the hippo-campus and feeling in-control of your life
(Cortisol erodes hippo-campus. Exercise and feeling in-control build it)
Status=control=less cortisol
Individual salvation is a more powerful motivator than group salvation(IE Bernard of Clairvoux and 2nd Crusade)
Ventro-medial prefrontal cortex is where personal subjective thinking about “self” goes on (This area is closely tied to emotions)
Dorso-medial prefrontal cortex is where comparisons between self and others happens(Empathy included)
Christians activate Dorso even when thinking about “self”!
This means their self evaluations are less emotional and more tied to perception of others.
(Pretty obv why- talking to God, avoiding sin). Being tied to a group is instrumental to most ppl feeling in control.
Social Evaluation Threat- SHAME!- is the most potent form of stress besides immediate risk of death.
Control allows protection of self concept(This is why alphas, gammas, etc. especially desire control)
Shame and humiliation are more hurtful to the individual than the member of a group. Individualism comes at a price!

back to blah blah
Orbito-frontal cortex resists urges.
When the reward is big- when you want something verY badly and your brain is flooded with dopamine- you are more likely to “choke”
and fuck it up (Around 20 percent more likely). Dopamine has a Goldilocks zone!
Power lowers empathy and maKes you care less what other ppl think.
Very powerful ppl often see others as a means to an end.
Power changes morality to prefer rule-based decisions over outcome-based decisions… For the actions of OTHERS!
For personal action, power changes morality to “the ends justify the means”.
Power increases sense of entitlement.

Being deprived early in life is the greatest predictor of corrupt use of power and the form it takes-
for example, if someone was deprived emotionally they exhibit compensatory aggrandizement.
Power makes bullies of the people who feel inadequate as boss.(This means true pettiness and cruelty not just high test anger)
Use Power WISELY!!!
So yeah, there’s the solipsism explained bruh. Also melonheads explained.
(Melonheads are winners)
>How dopamine drives solipsism in insulated elites
the ‘insulated’ bit isnt even needed. Go meet a fat cat small town sheriff who knows everybody. He’s still a piece of shit.
NOTE: I’m not saying that nobody can handle power appropriately, just that only I can :joy:

About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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6 Responses to How dopamine drives solipsism in insulated elites

  1. bicebicebice says:

    “privileged background knowledge”


    “Ran across this important piece of the puzzle in an unexpected place.” go on… itz almost like some wonky form of epigenesis, like bootleg-epigenesis.

  2. William Owlson says:

    That’s why people are on an extreme and unhealthy power trip that has overcome any rational judgment. We’ve achieved such elevated levels of hormones and neurotransmitters that we’ve turned into power-hungry maniacs who can’t properly authorize someone with some great responsibility. Essentially, people are on such a powerful power trip that they can’t make sense of the world around them even though they have a perfectly normal cognition, but are always in survival mode. No one has the appropriate thinking patterns to make any responsible decisions in this world anymore.

    I drew the more “perspective-based” E on my forehead. I hope you remember me from Skype, Aeoli. I’m that guy that always talks about his cortisol controlling his life and can’t seem to find any social adjustment whatsoever.

  3. big boy says:

    Have you ever heard the phrase “virtus dormitiva”?

  4. Schrödinger's Psych Evaluation says:


    Big boy is trying to imply that MM’s attempted explanations are merely names that communicate little accurate information about the underlying processes involved. Sorry for spoiling the mystery.

  5. Pingback: Retrospective on mixed feelz and Asperger’s | Aeoli Pera

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