Getting inside the boss' head

2010

If you ever wondered what makes your boss tick, new research being carried out at the University of Reading in the UK could provide the answer.

Scientists from Reading's Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics and the John Madejski Centre for Reputation plan to use an MRI scanner to map the brains of influential people to explore how they make decisions and whether there is anything neurological that set business leaders apart from lesser mortals.

According to Professor Douglas Saddy, who is one of the leaders of the research, "We are only just starting to understand the neural systems that track the goals and intentions of others. We know even less about the systems that evaluate the outcomes of other people's decisions. Does information about the character and mental state of others influence our judgement of their decision-making success?

"Insights from neural and cognitive science will allow us to prepare and train decision-makers for situations in which it is essential to control, and allow, both cognitive and emotive assessment of information."

The initial project will focus on business leaders but it is planned to expand this out to include representatives of senior military ranks, police and emergency services to see whether there are differences between business leaders and military leaders in how they make decisions.