(Telegraph) Like baboons, our elected leaders are literally addicted to power
By Dr Ian Robertson 11:12AM BST 26 Apr 2012
Political power has a similar effect on the brain to cocaine – and it’s not surprising that, as the Leveson Inquiry shows, our political leaders are hooked on it, says Dr Ian Robertson.
Democracy, the separation of judicial powers and the free press all evolved for essentially one purpose – to reduce the chance of leaders becoming power addicts. Power changes the brain triggering increased testosterone in both men and women. Testosterone and one of its by-products called 3-androstanediol, are addictive, largely because they increase dopamine in a part of the brain’s reward system called the nucleus accumbens. Cocaine has its effects through this system also, and by hijacking our brain’s reward system, it can give short-term extreme pleasure but leads to long-term addiction, with all that that entails.