Why Neuroscience Matters for Business Students

Adriane Randolph, executive director of BrainLab and associate professor of information systems at Kennesaw State University Coles College of Business, sheds light on what neuroscience can do to enhance business education.


AACSB: [00:00] What can business students learn from neuroscience that is beneficial in today's workforce?

Adriane Randolph: [00:21] The brain reveals many things to us that our words do not necessarily do. Traditional tools such as survey and interviewing techniques don't necessarily reveal all of what's driving someone's behaviors.

[00:35] That's where neuroscience and neurophysiological tools enter in, to be able to have a glimpse at what somebody may be unconsciously processing and thinking about that drives their behaviors. That could be their workplace behaviors and how they respond to different incentives.

[00:51] It could be how they're responding to alerts that are coming in on their computer screens and understanding their secure or insecure behaviors, how training is impacting them, and ultimately their feelings about work. The neat thing is there are so many different directions that using neuroscience and these neurophysiological tools can take us.

[01:13] The first might be to orient to, there's EEG using brainwaves, there's also eye tracking, understanding what's grabbing your attention, and cognitive load that's being placed on someone according to what's being taught or what's being shared, and a myriad of other things detecting emotion from your facial muscles and these small movements that we have things that, many of us get really good at reading body language, but there's still some that have a good poker face, but their bodies and their brains will still reveal more that they are outwardly sharing, and still driving their behaviors.

[01:53] We might give a coupon to someone, and it might be a momentary change, but overall their habits are still the same the way they feel about their affinity product is still the same. That's just one area, in terms of consumer behavior, but in terms of how we respond to our workplace, our colleagues, the training that's being given to us...

[02:16] If you gave a survey about satisfaction and go, "OK, well, who's asking me this, and where is this data going to go, and how much do I trust that it's going to anonymous, etc.," how you're going to respond and having all of that being processed in the front of your brain, we can see that. We can see you thinking about that, and then how does that impact your response?

[02:37] We can give more color to the responses that are being shared and greater understanding about how someone truly feels about a situation.

AACSB: [02:46] What can neuroscience teach us about consumer behavior, and how might it affect how marketing is taught?

Randolph: [02:52] I think there's a revolution coming for marketing. This level of habit and how it impacts behavior and unconscious level of thinking where someone can be in a robotic mode in terms of entering a restaurant or entering the grocery store aisle and what they're selecting.

[03:11] All of these efforts are driving towards purchasing and purchasing behaviors. If we can get a broader view which we do from using neurophysiological tools to understand, did they actually notice the signs when they walked in the store, at what point did it come into their consciousness. Maybe we're spending a lot of money on things that aren't even being processed.

[03:38] Even understanding advertising and how it's impacting us on a chemical level [laughs] , whether it's the chemicals that are being released and that are bonding us to that moment, this level will help us better personalize and place ads and brands going forward.

AACSB: [03:58] Where is the future of neuroscience headed?

Randolph: [04:03] The progress is really going to be made with the advancements in technology. Having things similar to the Apple Watches or the integration into your cell phone of something that's less obtrusive, less invasive, but is still picking up on those facial muscles or the heat that's being generated, where you're looking, things that we can detect from cameras and sensors.

[04:31] As we improve those things we get better at the data that we can get and better at utilizing this knowledge, then, from the neuroscience realm.

Filmed April 2017 on site at AACSB's International Conference and Annual Meeting (ICAM) in Houston, Texas, USA.