Global Agenda Council on Neuroscience & Behaviour 2012-2013
Neuroscience and behaviour is an interdisciplinary field incorporating a range of research programmes on how humans process input and how this processing is underpinned by neural structures and factors. A variety of findings provide a rich picture of the complexities of human cognition and its contingency upon a wide range of internal and external factors that shape both action and reaction.
Significant interest is growing in applied cognitive science across a wide range of domains. Many governments have become interested in behavioural economics, perceiving an attractive combination of free markets with some directional control. Private-sector companies engaged in product development, marketing and retail have long used cognitive techniques to drive consumption and, while this work has largely been empirical, it has undoubtedly been effective and commercially rigorous (if not always scientific). Better understanding of human performance, personality and learning is an important field in fully leveraging human resources and helping improve individual and collective decision-making.
There is great potential in understanding the consequences of decision-making processes and behaviours that emerge in groups and populations, as well as the feedback of such emergent mass behaviours on individual economic consumption. Understanding how information spreads, and how individuals and groups might be influenced, is readily applicable to the shaping of healthier decisions.
- When you watch the snap of your fingers your auditory system processes information about 30 milliseconds faster than your visual system, yet the sight of your fingers and the sound seem simultaneous.
- In economics and decision theory, loss aversion refers to people's tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. Some studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains.
- People are much more likely to report being in “flow” on the job than during leisure.
“We tend to think that the problem is solved when we solve the technology problem, but the human problem still remains, and that’s a great frontier that we have left.”
Sendhil Mullainathan, Professor of Economics, Harvard University, USA
“Although neuro-imaging could help us to understand how people make decisions, it should not be sold as something that can predict or judge human behaviour. A brain on its own tells us nothing.”
Olivier Oullier, Professor of Behavioural and Brain Sciences, Aix-Marseille University, France
“It turns out your conscious mind – the part you think of as you – is really the smallest part of what’s happening in your brain, and usually the last one in line to find out any information.”
David Eagleman, Neuroscientist and Director, Laboratory for Perception and Action, Baylor College of Medicine, USA
"The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human", Ramachandran, V.S.
"The Paradox of Choice, Why More is Less", Schwarz, B.
"Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain", Eagleman, D.
"Reality is Broken: Why Games Make us Better and How They can Change the World”, McGonigal, J.
Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting
13-17 October 2012
New Orleans, LA, USA
Cold Spring Harbor Asia Conference: Neural Circuit Basis of Behavior and its Disorders
5-9 November 2012
Suzhou Dushu, People’s Republic of China
15th International Neuroscience Winter Conference
9-13 April 2013
The Council aims to unify various strands of research on the foundation of rigorous science, and offer the potential for effective and responsible application of cognitive science to drive positive outcomes across Forum communities. Moreover, the Council will strive to raise awareness of how the latest research challenges must put the human element at the centre of decisions about policy, economics, social change, risk and institutional reform. The Council seeks to:
- Increase awareness of the human element across sectors and policies: neuroscience and behaviour offer a set of insights and warnings that seek to recentre the human element in many of these fields, offering both a challenge and an opportunity.
- Be a source of best practices for behaviour change and policy implementation: there is significant demand from other Global Agenda Councils and Forum initiatives for insights on facilitating behaviour change and transformation.
- Present a venue for shaping the future of applied cognitive science: as an emerging direction, these activities would benefit from increased sharing and cross-pollination of ideas and learning, to shape a rigorous toolbox of effective strategies and promising research topics.
Research Analyst: Rigas Hadzilacos, Global Agenda Councils, firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Manager: Darko Lovric, Project Manager, Strategic Foresight, email@example.com
Forum Lead: Martina Gmür, Senior Director, Head of the Network of Global Agenda Councils, firstname.lastname@example.org