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Cognitive Neuroscience and Business Leadership

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Ahmet YALCIN

on 8 January 2013

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Transcript of Cognitive Neuroscience and Business Leadership

The
Neuroscience
of
Business Leaders
(and their Followers) 5. Conclusion Focus on one or two potential research areas

Selecting, approaching 2nd supervisor and obtaining commitment

Networking, locally and internationally

Preparation of the project proposal

Review with 1st supervisor

Preparation of the application for the Mind & Brain School

Submit application by Sep 2012 5.1 Next Steps (May-Sep. 2012) ... 1.2 About Neuroscience

Introduction by:
Mind and Brain (Pinker, 1997)
Biology of the Mind (Gazzaniga, Ivry & Mangun, 2009) Neurological Basis for Leader Complexity (Balthazard et al., 2007)

Need for Cognition and Decision-making Competence among Leaders (Carnevale et al., 2010)

Neurological Correlates to Authentic Leadership (McDonald, 2009)

Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership (Goleman & Boyatzis, 2010)

Neurological Basis for Inspirational Leadership (Waldman, et al., 2010)

Cognitive Resource Theory and Organizational Performance (Fiedler & Garcia, 1987)

'Leader - Follower' Effectiveness - Role of Positive Affect (Damen & Knippenberg, 2006)

Neuroscience Research and Ethical Leadership (Vögtlin & Kaufmann, 2011)

Cognitive Flexibility in Decision Making (Zollo et al., 2009)

The Neuroscience of Leadership (Schwartz & Rock, 2006)

Organizational Cognitive Neuroscience (Senior et al., 2012) 3. Critical Review of
Cognitive Neuroscience and
the "NeuroMania" 1. Introduction and Context 2. Current State of Research and Findings 1.1 About Leadership

Leader (have Followers) and Manager (have Subordinates)...

The Determinants of Leadership (Making decisions and solving problems, Coping with pressure, Collaborating with and influencing others, Facilitating change)

Predictors of a good leader in the business world (Vision, Language, Awareness, Insight, Cognitive Flexibility, Risk Anticipation & Uncertainty, Judgement, ...)

Good Leadership is less about the ability of leaders to inspire followers and more about mutual leader and follower responsibility. (B. Kellermann 2004) In 2006, "Rock & Schwartz" introduced the notion: NeuroLeadership Mind and Brain Neuroscience Leadership NeuroLeadership
"NeuroLeadership was first introduced in 2006 by

a management consultant from Sydney (David Rock) and
a research psychiatrist at the UCLA (Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz)

by focusing on 'Change' as a key leadership task.

Leadership is about change

Change is pain: Organizational change is unexpectedly difficult because it provokes sensations of physical discomfort; it causes less Basal Ganglia and more Prefrontal Cortex activity

Behaviorism doesn't work: Change efforts based on incentive and threat, by Skinner and Watson, rarely succeed in the long run

Humanism is overrated: The conventional approach, of Rogers and Maslow, based on empathy, self-esteem and emotional needs and values, is too mechanistic and could also not fully provide leverage changing behavior

Focus is power: The act of paying attention creates chemical and physical changes in the brain; rewires brain (Quantum Zeno Effect: mental act of focusing attention stabilizes the associated brain circuits)

Expectation shapes reality: People's preconceptions have a significant impact on what they perceive (Placebo effect)

Attention density shapes identity: Repeated and purposeful attention can lead to long-lasting personal evolution (Self directed neuroplasticity)
Various findings from classical cognitive neuroscience research could be applied to leadership.

For example: our initial emotion biases our subsequent perception about a person's facial expression (Halberstadt et al., 2009).

Thus, leaders clearly need to be sensitive to the fact that what they say may not be necessarily what followers are hearing. That is, 'seeing is believing' works well in the physical world but the practical truth is that 'believing is seeing' may be closer to the reality of the mental world in which the leaders actually reside.

So, the neuroscience is taking leadership from the physical world to the mental world (Pillay, 2011). How to study the NeuroLeadership? Senior, Lee, Nick et al., a group of researcher at the Aston University, UK, arguing that

Leadership cannot be studied simply under social cognitive neuroscientific umbrella; it must be studied in a Organizational Cognitive Neuroscience environment.
OCN is defined as applying neuroscientific methods to analyze and understand human behavior within applied setting of organizations (at individual, group, organizational or inter-organizational level). It is the integration of cognitive neuroscience with organizations.
The OCN is interested in understanding "the molecular logic of organic knowledge systems only when placed in their natural social ecology". 'Knowledge systems' such as the memory, emotion or language systems, fail to have any real significance when taken outside of the ecology by which they are defined.

Levels of "NeuroLeadership Analysis" best when considered at three levels:

Molecular Level: genetic constitutions and factors are accountable; intersection between culture and genotype
Systemic Level: performing human brain activity research; however, avoid deductive inferences when using brain imaging for experiments !!
Social/Developmental Level: face expressions; outlook... (see also "Positive Affect in Damen & Knippenberg 2006) Neuroscience's Relevance to Leadership Ahmet YALCIN, © May 2012 Firing Neurons | Cell Dance 2010 1.3 An Attempt to Define the NeuroLeadership Mind: humanities and behavioral sciences such as philosophy, linguistics, behavioral and cognitive psychology, neuroeconomics, neurology and psychiatry.

Brain: neurosciences such as neurophysiology, computational neuroscience, neurobiology, neurology and psychiatry.

Berlin Graduate School of Mind and Brain The Mind is what the Brain does; specifically, the brain processes information, and thinking is a kind of computation.

The mind is organized into modules or mental organs, each with specialized design that makes it an expert in one arena of interaction with the world.

The module's basic logic is specified by our genetic program and their operation was shaped by natural selection to solve the problems of the hunting and gathering life led by our ancestors.

Steven Pinker Thinking is computation; but that does not mean that the computer is a good metaphor for the mind.

The mind is a set of modules; but the modules are not encapsulated boxes or circumscribed swatches on the surface of the brain.

The organization of our mental modules comes from our genetic program; but that does not mean that there is a gene for every trait.

The mind is an adaptation designed by natural selection; but that does not mean that everything we think, feel, and do is biologically adaptive.

We evolved from apes; but that does not mean we have same minds as apes.

The ultimate goal of natural selection is to propagate genes; but that does not mean that the ultimate goal of people is propagate genes.

Steven Pinker Mind and Brain Despite the constructive criticism about the brain activity research by Uttal, the explanation of leadership phenomena is an area worthy of investigation, and neuroscience can provide new insights and techniques.

How can such a brain research be used to identify and develop leaders?

Based on recent thinking and developments about brain's plasticity, versus the assumption on its hardwired circuitry and its static structure, we believe that

the brain is "plastic" in terms of the capability to change the nature of its electrical activity, and thus behavior and

if the neural pathways in the brain are changeable, there could be some interesting implications for leadership development, and for "creating new types of leaders". Are Brain-Mind Research Methods, e.g. Brain Imaging, leading to .... ? The idea of Hebb (1949) that it is the change in synaptic conductivity that accounts for the changes in neural network, has led to a misunderstanding. Unfortunately, there is a disconnect between the Hebb neural network model and neural network of brain regions at which the brain imaging techniques operate: the Hebbian network is a network of microscopic neurons. The networks studied with, for example, an fMRI system, are combinations of macroscopic brain regions that actually tell us very little about how the brain makes the mind.

It is entirely possible for two totally different neuronal network states to produces the same fMRI response. Thus, there is no functional relation between an fMRI image and the activity of the critical and essential network of neurons that Hebb so presciently pointed out must be the psychoneuronal equivalent of a cognitive process.

Brain images provide us only with the capability to search for highly variable locales of activation that may be associated with vaguely defined cognitive processes. It searches for "where" question, and misses the "how" question, which is however, the essence of the mind-brain problem.

The Sign-Code distinction: A "sign" is a correlate of brain activity that indicates that something is happening neurophysiologically, however, it does not encode, represent, or in any way is it the equivalent of the mental experience. It may be used to measure a brain activity and may serve -someday- as a biomarker of some dysfunctional cognitive activity. A "code" is a measure of a neuronal activity that is actual mechanism of whatever cognitive process is being manipulated. It is the necessary and sufficient mechanism of some mental activity. Perception
Attention
Awareness Greater Self Awareness
Self Knowledge
Mindfulness
Personal Insight Decision Making
Reasoning Problem Solving Consciousness Emotions
and Moral Other Cognitive
Functions & Processes Mind Brain Humanities & Behavioral Science Neuroscience Active Brain Regions Social, Organizational, Psychological Hypotheses Cognitive and Neurological Correlates in Authentic Leadership Balanced Processing of Information
and use of Heuristics and Rational Decision-making .... Relational Transparency working with Followers
An internalized Moral Perspective Case Analysis:

Authentic Leadership is a pattern of leadership behavior with

a greater self awareness,

relational transparency working with followers (allowing others to see the real you),

balanced processing of information and

an internalized moral perspective.

(Walumbwa et al. 2008) Empathy
Theory of Mind
Trust Neuroscience Concepts Neural and Molecular
Level of Research Empathy (Anterior cingulate cortex, Anterior insula)
ToM (Anterior cingulate cortex, Temporoparietal junction)
Trust (Amygdala, Cortial regions, Caudate nucleus, Nucleus accumbens and Ventral striatum) Source: Own analysis based on Walumbwa, 2008, McDonnald, (2009), Vögtl & Kaufmann, (2011)
Cognitive Resources Theory
MPI - Adaptive Toolbox
Attentional Blink Cognitive Resources Theory Theory Hypotheses 'Intelligence' and 'experience' are two key variables in the theory

These two variables can impact "followers" performance depending on the level of stress present

Stress is defined as the level of interpersonal conflict and concerns about performance with leader

Stress is the enemy of rationality, damaging leader's ability to think logically and analytically Followers can benefit from leader only if they follow the guidance, especially in complex tasks (directive style)

Leader's experience is related positively to performance in high-stress situations but not in low-stress ones, because under high-stress a leader can fall back on their heuristics (tried-and-true experiences). In low-stress situations, they may rely too much on just past experiences (comfort zone)

For simple tasks, leader cognitive capability (here: intelligence and experience) are irrelevant, because the followers will not listen anyway as they can execute the task with their own cognition Mind and Brain
A Critical Appraisal of Cognitive Neuroscience
(W. R. Uttal, 2011, MIT)

The Seductive Allure of Neuroscience Explanations
(D. S. Weisberg et al. 2008, MIT)
Adaptive Behavior and Cognition - Heuristics (Gigerenzer et al., 2010)

Choices, Decisions - Prospect Theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979)

Quantum Zeno Effect (Schwartz) and Quantum Computation and NeuroBiology (Koch & Hepp, 2007)

Neuroplasticity (Doidge, 2007)

Decoding Mental States (Bernstein Center Computational Neuroscience, Haynes, 2007)

Default Mode Network and Whole-state Brain (Fannin & Williams, 2012)

Mind Reading - Leaders with information about themselves (Helsinki Institute of Behavioral Sciences, Krause, 2012)

Unconscious Generation of Free Decisions (Haynes et al., 2011) + ... examples from dedicated "NeuroLeadership" research ... examples from other related Cognitive Neuroscience research Examples from NeuroLeadership research Examples from other related Cognitive Neuroscience research Key Findings Based on economic theories, Nash, Simon, von Neumann and Morgenstern in the Fifties assumed that human being integrate all available information to rationally determine the utility of decision outcomes.

Research in psychology, especially by Kahneman and Tversky in 1979, has shown that real decision makers often deviate systematically and predictably from normative standards of rational decision-making. For example, people tend to be risk-seeking when a decision problem is described as a choice between two losses but risk-averse when the same problem is described as a choice between two gains.

When allocating resources, people tend to be affected by their past investments (that is, by "sunk costs"), instead of attending solely to future risk and rewards - as shown by Arkes and Blumer in 1985.

Despite these biases, people are often overconfident of their decision-making abilities according to Camerer & Lovallo in 1999.

During the last decade, Gigerenzer et al. indicated that the decision-making in uncertainty follows also other rules: In an uncertain world, humans often rely on simple cognitive strategies (heuristics) when making decisions. To investigate heuristics, they developed three key concepts: bounded rationality, ecological rationality, and social rationality. About Decision Making How should we make decisions if an optimal decision is out of reach?

Business Leaders and executives can benefit from Gigerenzer's research on "gut feelings" for a good decision making. The trick is not to amass information, but to discard it: to know intuitively what one doesn't need to know. It suggests that we hone the cognitive, emotional, and social repertoire we've evolved over the millenia.

This repertoire consists of rules of thumb that, unlike the rules of theoretical logic, have evolved expressly to cope with the human experience. Adaptive Toolbox (Max Planck Institute)

The repertoire of specialized cognitive mechanisms, which include fast and frugal heuristics, are shaped by evolution, learning, and culture for specific domains of inference and reasoning: It refers to a specific group of rules or heuristics rather than to a general-purpose decision-making algorithm.

These heuristics are adapted to particular environments, past or present, physical or social. They are orchestrated by some mechanism reflecting the importance of conflicting motivations and goals. yalcin.ahmet@gmail.com
Unconsciously generated executive decisions and leader trustworthiness

Mirror neurons' interactions between leaders and followers

Neuronal coherence and origin of complex behaviors associated with leadership

Why do followers follow a leader - an analysis from cognitive neuroscience perspective

Creating 'Whole-state minded' leaders; a transformation attempt from default mode network of the brain

Impact of brain rewiring capability on leadership development Can we apply neurological findings to leadership development? e.g. Neural Bias Self Awareness is awareness and trust in one's motives, feelings and desires, and self-relevant cognitions. It includes being aware of strengths and weaknesses, trait characteristics and emotions (Mc Donald, 2009).

Three specific areas are relevant to leadership in this context: self-knowledge, mindfulness, personal insight.

Self-knowledge: For example, Neural Bias against the risk of finding out the unexpected from unknown people, i.e. ignoring data about self from people we don't know in favor of data about self from those close to us.

Mindfulness is awareness of one's present thoughts, emotions and actions, and acting with integrity.

Personal insight: Neurological research has shown that positive mood and rest are the best conditions to facilitate insight. Also, neuroscience research has shown that the brain needs a good supply of glucose to work well. When glucose levels drop, our ability to make decisions and self-regulate deteriorates, which is, on the other hand, is necessary for cognitive tasks of control and important for working memory processes and to reason correctly (Voegtlin and Kauffmann, 2011). Dropping in glucose levels impacts the self-regulation Self-regulation:
Anterior cingulate cortex, (dorsal)
Lateral prefrontal cortex e.g. Nucleus accumbens Today, most of the serious findings from brain research are rather related to neurological disorders and provide a hope to their treatments than to comprehensive applications in the business world.

However (as shown in Peterson, 2007), there are already single achievements applicable to the leadership as well.

For example: affective influences in financial decisions between risk-seeking and risk-averse leaders may be driven by two distinct mechanisms. A particular region of the brain, e.g., NAcc which mediates positive affect can be cued by situational variables (free drinks, food, gifts...) to trigger an increase in risk-seeking behavior. Leaders need to be aware of these biases in order to achieve balanced processing.

Thus, using, even trivial, findings from neuroscience applied in the appropriate organizational cognitive context can and will improve leader's overall quality and his impact to the environment. Discussion Items

1. Introduction and Context

2. Current State of Research and Findings

3. A Critical Review

4. Potential Areas of Future Research

5. Conclusion and Next Steps 4. Potential Future Research Introduction and Context
Encouraged by the seductive attractiveness of the "NeuroMania"
plenty of NeuroLeadership coaching seminars are initiated:

Rock (NeuroLeadership Institute in NYC, conferences and Graduate Certificate)
Habermacher (series of 1 day NeuroRevolution seminars in Zurich)
McLennan (Neuroscience of Leadership and Culture at Mettle Institute, in Sydney)
"the Dalai Lama" way of Leadership and relations to Neuroscience by Kryder & Begley ...
"Bravo-Zulu" "NeuroLeadership" is

the study of neurological patterns of leadership
and
the application of neuroscience to leaders and their followers. What differentiates a 'greater self aware' leader? Information Processing
(Decision Making & Problem Solving) With help of neuroscience, leaders can be better identified and developed.

Based on this premise, neuro scientists now are paying more attention and initiating new research in the emerging field of NeuroLeadership, about

how to study it: by developing new theoretical frameworks like the Organizational Cognitive Neuroscience (e.g., Aston University), in order to holistically consider this field and integrate the overall research; and also, by empirically and experimentally studying, especially using the fMRI (e.g., Humbold Universität zu Berlin) and qEEG technologies (e.g., Arizona State University);

how to decode leader's mental states, and create a 'neural signature' of leaders: by exploiting neurological correlates to various traits of leaders like authenticity, self control, empathy, ethic, awareness, attention, decision making (e.g, Max Planck Institute) researchers are identifying patterns of neural activities (e.g., Arizona State University);

how to increase the effectiveness in leader-follower relations: by adapting social intelligence techniques to leaders as well as understanding the role of mirror-neurons and applying brain-to-brain transmissions to the leadership teams (e.g., UCLA and Berkeley);

how to "change the brains", and thus the behavior, of leaders: by capitalizing on the neuroplasticity (e.g., Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research) and rewiring capability of the brain applied to the leadership; by developing neurotherapies, neurofeedback as brain training methods; by assessing leadership potential and "selecting promising leaders". placebo effects

The neurocognitive pathways by which placebo effects operate are poorly understood. Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging was used to assess the brain response of patients with chronic abdominal pain (irritable bowel syndrome; IBS) to induced intestinal discomfort both prior to and after a three-week placebo regimen. A daily symptom diary was used to measure symptom improvement. Increases in right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (RVLPFC) activity from pre- to post-placebo predicted self-reported symptom improvement, and this relationship was mediated by changes in dorsal anterior cingulate (dACC), typically associated with pain unpleasantness. These results are consistent with disruption theory (Lieberman, 2003) which proposes that activation of prefrontal regions associated with thinking about negative affect can diminish dACC and amygdala reactivity to negative affect stimuli. This is the first study to identify a neural pathway from a region of the brain associated with placebos and affective thought to a region closely linked to the placebo-related outcome of diminished pain unpleasantness. (cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr (cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr copy paste branches if you need more.... unused stuff Cognitive Neuroscience is the study of the relationship between Mind and Brain. by Fiedler & Garcia, 1987 OCN: Organizational Cognitive Neuroscience - Research Proposal Discussion
with Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes and Dr. Robert Martin-
Berlin, May 23rd, 2012 Based on a "desk analysis" of the field of neuroscience over the last five months by

reviewing of approximately 180 articles or book chapters (see 'Complete List of References'), whereas each 3rd of it with some relevance to NeuroLeadership (see 'Categorized List of References' in separate attachment);

participating a one week block seminar about 'higher brain functions and cognitive neuroscience' at Bernstein Center Computational Neuroscience in Berlin;

contacting few researches personally, e.g., Haynes, Senior, Lee, Neal, and Payzan-Lenestour.

My initial impressions and insight about NeuroLeadership are summarized below. Scope and Type of Analysis In Search of 'Neural Signature' 2.2 2.1 2.1 2.2.1 2.2.2 2.2.2 2.2.2 2.2.2 2.2.2 2.2.2 3.1 3.2 3.2 1.3
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