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Conference 2012 overview: “an important step” in raising profile of hubris

Our first major conference marked an important step in raising public awareness of hubris and its potential for far-reaching impacts.

Organised jointly by the Daedalus Trust and the Royal Society of Medicine, ‘The Intoxication of power: From neurosciences to hubris in healthcare and public life’ was held in London on 9 October 2012.

The event which featured ten leading experts in diverse aspects of hubris attracted a good audience of academics and people in positions of responsibility in both the private and public sectors. Even more important, the conference and the issues it raised received coverage in mass media – so far including the BBCFinancial Times and Reuters.

Speakers came from academic psychiatry, financial journalism, politics and industrial management. They covered a broad and fascinating range of issues including:

  • Does intoxication by power resemble substance addiction?
  • Might hubris in small doses be normal?
  • Could hubris be contagious?
  • Is belief in an illusion essential to getting elected?
  • Do leaders need to switch off empathy to be effective?
  • How can leaders retain their integrity under pressure?
  • Might hubris be a normal response to abnormal physiological conditions?
  • Can regulation be designed to identify people at the point their strengths become weaknesses?
  • Are powerful people inevitably corrupted by the unavoidable distortion of perception associated with hierarchical institutions?
  • Where people‘s careers depend on their ability to control flows of information between culturally defined silos, are ‘policy-making tragedies’ inevitable?
  • What happens when cultures overvalue particular types of decision-making process?
  • How can a CEO avoid the distorting effects of the conflation of their person and their office?

More information about the conference, as well as videos or notes from various speakers, is available in the Conferences/Cafés section of this website.


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