It’s a fact that we all know, and take for granted: power corrupts.

But did you know that it’s been scientifically proven?  Power increases testosterone levels, which increases the uptake of dopamine in the brain’s reward centre.  The result is increased egocentricity and decreased empathy.

According to the New Scientist,

Power feels good because it uses the same reward network as cocaine and sex.

Well, that explains that then.

When given a plate of biscuits, the boss of the group is more likely to take the last one and eat it messily.  Think about that the next time you’re sharing biscuits at work or with a group of friends.

Power affects different people in different ways.  Those who feel they aren’t up to the job tend to become more aggressive to compensate.  But for those who are up to it, power increases people’s ability to think strategically and abstractly.

Have you given your characters power recently?  Have you thought about how that power is going to change them over time?