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  4. Neuroeconomics: How Brain Science Matters to Business
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Humans are often delighted by objects with vaguely humanoid characteristics—think Pet Rocks, toy robots, or sock puppets. But there is a point at which an object looks almost human, yet not quite human enough, and the result is disturbing. It's called the uncanny valley. And for Christine Looser, it's the starting point for a line of research aimed at discovering how our brains detect life, and how we distinguish the cognizant from the mindless.

At first glance, a neuroscientist and a business school might seem like an odd fit. But the fact is that the business world has been paying increasing attention to how the brain works. The field of neuroeconomics has gained ground in the past 10 years, with work exploring the brain processes that underlie decision-making.

Brain Matters: Using Psychology to Help Improve Marketing Quality

There is the nascent but fast-growing field of neuromarketing , which uses brain-tracking tools to determine why consumers prefer some products over others. And there is neuroleadership, which applies neuroscience to management research. Looser is looking to integrate insights from social psychology, neuroscience, and business. Specifically, Looser is interested in what happens to our minds when we perceive that something is alive and socially relevant. The importance of that process goes far beyond box-office results for CGI computer-generated imagery films.

In fact, the ability to distinguish the animate from the inanimate may be the brain's most important survival mechanism, argues Looser, noting that there is good evidence that our minds work entirely differently when dealing with people as opposed to objects. People have to be both remembered and understood so that we can predict what they're going to do in the future. How your brain does that is what's interesting to me—when it works well, when it fails, and how it can influence the decisions we make.

To determine the point at which humans recognize the impression of life, or animacy, in a face, Looser conducted a series of experiments in cooperation with her PhD advisor at Dartmouth College, psychology professor Thalia Wheatley. The researchers used morphing software to create a visual continuum of animacy, with images of doll faces at one end of the spectrum and images of similar human faces at the other.

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The images in between were morphed combinations of real and fake, which each successive iteration containing a higher percentage of human face. Tibke's is a delightful exception. Whilst its roots are indeed steeped in a solid evidence-base, and he certainly doesn't sidestep the crucial debates, it is a beautifully-written and accessible book - respectful of the field's technical complexities and terminology yet jargon-free in its elucidation, ambitious in its scope yet modest in its claims, simultaneously coolly detached and warmly empathetic, unashamedly on the side of the hard-pressed teacher yet wisely non-ideological and disinterested in the best and traditional sense of the word.

In short, this is a state-of-an-evolving-art summary of a ferociously complex and still immature subject - the brain and its implications for educators. Written by a true educator, certain chapters in particular eg chapter 4 on the neuromyths should be required reading for all educational policy-makers and teachers. From imaging to neuroplasticity to smart drugs to memory to genetics, Jon Tibke offers concise discussions of key issues in neuroscience that are relevant — and of interest — to teachers as well as debunking pervasive neuro-myths.

The glossaries at the end of each chapter are themselves extremely useful. An accessible text which explains neuroscience clearly and discusses its relevance in the classroom. The research included is up to date and explained in an easy-to-read manner.

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Neuroeconomics: How Brain Science Matters to Business

Download flyer Recommend to Library. Description Contents Reviews Preview Educational neuroscience is one of the most hotly debated areas of research and is often misrepresented with grand claims for what it means for teaching and learning. Chapter 6: The brain and the pre-school, primary and secondary school years. Carlota Nelson, in her ground-breaking documentary, answers these questions in an enlightening globe-trotting journey about what truly helps make children realize their full potential.

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Applied neuroscience can help organisational performance for the better

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