Brain Region Lights Up For Power And Profit

Now brain-scanning studies suggest that the link between profits and power takes place in the striatum – part of the brain involved in sensing rewards.

“This provides the biological basis of our everyday experience that personal reputation is felt as reward.”  …the striatum showed bursts of activity as a result of both profit and praise.

Status and Stress — “In monkeys and in humans it makes a big difference whether hierarchy is static or dynamic,” he says. “If the hierarchy is fixed forever, then it’s good to be the top monkey.”   If others can usurp the throne, high status and high stress might go hand and hand.

Looking Upwards.…the striatum of the volunteers lit up only when they saw pictures of their “betters”.   “The brain encodes social hierarchy by paying attention to superiors and not inferiors,” ….. the brain scans showed that a rise in rank tended to activate a region involved in planning actions, while a demotion lit up a brain area linked to emotional pain.