The winner effect – the science of success and how to use it with Ian Robertson

Dr Ian Robertson is a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist. He is the Founding Director of the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, a Professor of Psychology at Trinity and Co-Director of the Global Brain Health Institute. Previously, he was a Senior Scientist at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge.

Robertson is a leading expert on stress and wellbeing, having published over 250 scientific articles in journals and has written several books on the mind, exploring stress, confidence and power. His latest book focuses on the science behind confidence. 

This podcast is in two parts released this week and next. Today he talks to us about fascinating topics like “the Winner Effect” and “The Loser Effect”, how to breed success in the brain and different types of power and how these can affect our behaviours if we’re not aware of them.


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02:26 Moved into brain research

04:28 What is the theory of ‘the Winner Effect’?

07:13 How does success breeding success happen in the brain?

08:32 The ‘Loser Effect’

10:07 Advice to children and teenagers playing in competitive sports

15:25 The potential consequences of power and behaviour

18:50 Constraining power for the greater good

23:17 The need for more women in leadership positions

26:50 The effect of being an introvert vs. extrovert when it comes to power

28:19 The addictiveness of power

40:22 Managing our minds and emotions 

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