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The Social Neuroscience of Power and Its Links with Empathy, Cooperation and Cognition

  • Marco Vega
  • Jamie Ward

Abstract

The concept of power is of interest to researchers in a number of different fields. Historians, philosophers, political scientists, sociologists and now psychologists and neuroscientists have each conceptualised and studied power in their own way. Sociologists such as Max Webber conceived of power as ‘the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance, regardless of the basis on which this probability rests’ (Weber et al., 1978: 53). Political philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes understood power as the ‘present means to obtain some future apparent good’ (2010: 40). And political scientists such as Robert Dhal made attempts to formally express power thus: ‘A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do’ (1957: 202). Though there is a noticeable overlap between the different definitions, it would be impossible to find a definition of power that satisfies the research interests of all disciplines.

Keywords

Testosterone Level Ventral Striatum Mirror Neuron Cognitive Empathy Mutual Cooperation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Marco Vega and Jamie Ward 2016

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  • Marco Vega
  • Jamie Ward

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