Methods beyond brain-imaging

01 September 2017

Calling organizational and management researchers to adopt neuroscience methods beyond brain-imaging to advance scholarship and practice

A study recently published in the Organizational Research Methods journal, co-authored by Assistant Professor Sebastiano Massaro of Behavioural Science, advance the emerging domain of organizational neuroscience by introducing a novel and still largely underutilised method called Heart Rate Variability (HRV) analysis.

HRV represents the fluctuation between consecutive heartbeats and can computed from an electrocardiogram to reflect the activity of the Autonomic Nervous System on the heart. By providing an inclusive definition of organizational neuroscience, the authors review the HRV methodology and present a detailed compendium of its computations to demonstrate that HRV analysis can be applied to several domains of organizational and management theory.

A central idea of this paper is to show how neuroscience measures can advance knowledge on particular organizational behaviours or psychological states while retaining full ecological validity. This methodological paper paves the way for an innovative empirical research programme which the authors are conducting in the behavioural science laboratory at Warwick Business School. Indeed, two conference papers have been recently presented at the Nordic-Baltic Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics that use this analysis to study mental stress (Castaldo et al., 2017a; Castaldo et al., 2017b).

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