More than a hundred years after noted historian Baron John Acton coined the phrase 'power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely' scientists claim the saying is biologically true.
The feeling of power has been found to have a similar effect on the brain to cocaine by increasing the levels of testosterone and its by-product 3-androstanediol in both men and women.
This in turn leads to raised levels of dopamine, the brain’s reward system called the nucleus accumbens, which can be very addictive.
Cocaine works in a similar way, which can have varied effects from increasing alertness, confidence, energy, feelings of well-being and euphoria, but also anxiety, paranoia and restlessness.
Power has almost identical effects to cocaine and too much of it can produce too much dopamine leading to more negative effects such as arrogance and impatience.
The claims by Dr Ian Robertson may go some way to explain the outlandish and impulsive behaviour of city fatcats, tycoons and celebrities.
Thank goodness the scientists have weighed in. I was afraid our noble experiment to limit power that started with adoption of the Constitution in 1787 was a futile effort based on false premises. Whew!