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CEO Brain Bank Project

Since 2010, the JMCR has collaborated with the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience & Neurodynamics (CINN) at the University of Reading (under the lead of Professor Doug Saddy) and the Henley Centre for Leadership (HCL; under the lead of Professor Bernd Vogel) in developing the CEO Brain Bank Project.

This cross-disciplinary project is a joint research initiative by scholars from the fields of psychology, business leadership and neuroscience, in order to design and conduct research into the factors underlying the decision making and identity formation of leaders. The research aims to explore individual, collective and socially-motivated decision-making, its impact on individual behaviour, leader identity and organisational dynamics, and the related concepts of leadership and followership.

This collaboration has, to date, led to two PhD scholarships (2011, 2012), several conference papers and a number of research seminars and talks (including a University of Reading public lecture).

With the help of Sir John Madejski as sponsor of this study, business Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of large UK PLC’s were recruited to visit the university and take part in two related research phases. Phase one consisted of an experiment using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to capture brain responses during a decision making task that involves social feedback and value-based feedback. Phase two consisted of an in-depth interview exploring real-life decision making by participating CEOs as well as a number of surveys to triangulate and cross-validate any findings.

Findings from the study were published in the summer of 2018.

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