Charisma - Race and Mental Health - Black Cab Quotes

Why do we trust charismatic leaders? Claudia Hammond reports on how our brain becomes more trusting under their spell.

Whether it's Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey or even Jeremy Paxman, we all know charisma when we see it. What we might not realise is that if we think someone has charisma; neuroscientific research can reveal that we lower our guard and trust them just that little more than we might have done otherwise. Uffe Schjodt, a researcher at Arhus University in Denmark has done an intriguing study where he played prayers read by three different speakers to people who were either Christians or non-believers.

But crucially they had been told that one of the speakers had special healing powers, although in fact they didn't. Then he looked to see what happened in the brains of the Christian and secular participants, especially in the parts governing vigilance and critical faculties.

Last week a conference on Race and Mental Health was held in London. The aim was to examine how you can treat everyone as an individual, whilst ensuring there is enough specialist knowledge about cultural issues. Marcel Viges from Diverse Minds,and Hari Sewell who runs his own consultancy specialising in race and mental health came into the studio to discuss.

Taxi driver Mark Solomon is using his day job to learn more about the philosophy of life.

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