World Science Day: why business researchers now make brain scans

As a business school, RSM does a surprising amount of brain research! To celebrate World Science Day 2017, here's an overview of three recent studies that explain or predict behaviour in maketing and accounting by scanning the brain.

Brain scans reveal what makes a TV advert effective - Linda Couwenberg

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What is it about a TV advert that triggers people to find the product online? Scanning consumers’ brains has allowed RSM's Linda Couwenberg to discover that a TV advert works best when it both highlights a product’s functional benefits and triggers the viewer’s imagination. This particular combination of elements activates specific parts of the viewer’s brain most intensely, she found, which makes the advert more effective.


How the brain's sensitivity for emotions causes accounting fraud - Frank Hartmann

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World-shaking accounting scandals often originate in financial reporting from internal accountants. By studying internal accountants’ brain activity, Professor Frank Hartmann discovered that some misreporting comes from a neurological make-up that makes them more vulnerable to social pressure from managers promoting their own personal interests. Hartmann says the results shed a different light on who should – and who shouldn’t ‒ be hired for internal accountants’ positions.


Brain activity can forecast success of crowd-funded projects

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Determining how well a crowdfunded project will be received by the ‘crowd’ has traditionally been done through surveys and polls. Research by Alexander Genevsky and a team of researchers now finds that scanning brain activity can make predictions of individual choices more accurate. But more importantly, the study also discovered that activity in one area of the brain can forecast the success of crowdfunded projects on the internet more reliably than the answers people give.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Ramses Singeling, Media Officer for RSM, on +31 10 408 2028 or by email at


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