Bernhard Reichert, an associate professor of accounting at Drexel LeBow, and Michael Paz, a PhD candidate, have received the inaugural research grant from the Drexel Neurobusiness Institute. These highly competitive grants allow researchers access to cutting-edge neuroscientific tools as well as research support to study brain activity in critical business research contexts.
Bernhard and Michael will be using the grant for their project entitled “Functional Brain Imaging and Reactions to Performance Dependent Incentives,” which examines cognitive activity in the context of financial incentive contracts. In addition to providing funding for recruiting and compensating participants, the grant will enable them to use functional near-infrared imaging (fNIR) technology developed by researchers in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems to conduct their experiments.
The fNIR devices are imaging tools capable of monitoring localized oxygenation changes, enabling study of the brain. New uses for these devices are popping up everywhere, but most active projects use fNIR to study some aspect of human performance, the act of learning or for research in clinical settings.
“As these devices get better and the costs come down, we will be able to observe brain activity in more settings, which is huge for science, since words can lie, but brains can’t. This means someone can answer on a questionnaire that they are an honest person and would not do XYZ, but when they make a decision, areas of their brain would light up that would reveal their true nature,” said Michael. “What I am trying to say is – this is the future and we are doing it today right here at Drexel LeBow.”