Annual iBBA Meeting – Organizational Neuroscience

Annual iBBA Meeting –  Organizational Neuroscience

Institute for Brain and Behavior Amsterdam organizes its annual symposium on “Organizational Neuroscience” on 24 May 2019, Auditorium, Vrije Universiteit 

Organizational neuroscience is an emerging field in management and organizational behavior that studies the role of brain and cognition in workplace behavior. The aim of this annual IBBA-symposium is to investigate how neuroscience and its methodological toolkit (from brain imaging to hormonal studies and AI) can advance theory and research organizational behavior in practice. The symposium is amongst others organized to bring academia and business closer together, strengthen existing relationships and build new ones. Key note presentations focus on the neural mechanisms involved in leadership, mindset and motivation, and the neurophysiology of work stress. Furthermore, the role of AI and big data in measuring personality and personnel selection (i.e. recruitment) will be one of the main themes. Finally, the symposium aims to raise ethical, meta-theoretical and pragmatic challenges regarding the role of neuroscience in studying and improving modern work practices.


12:00 – 12:40 Lunch provided by iBBA
12:40 – 12:45 Introduction by Jan Theeuwes, director of iBBA
12:45 – 12:55 Opening by Mirjam van Praag
12:55 – 13:30 Keynote by Micah Murray (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
13:30 – 14:00 Talk by Nienke van Atteveldt (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
14:00 – 14:30 Flash talks (4x7min) PhD students
14:30 – 15:00 Coffee break with Demos (e.g. facial coding, mobile eye tracking)
15:00 – 15:30 Talk Reinout de Vries (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
15:30 – 16:00 Talk Daan Scheepers (Leiden University)
16:00 – 16:45 Panel discussion (chair – Kilian Wawoe) – Jan Kwint, Rina Joosten-Rabou, Arjen van Witteloostuijn, Lydia Krabbendam, Jan Theeuwes
16:45 – 17:00 Concluding remarks by Mark van Vugt
17:00 – 18:00 Networking drinks

Micah Murray (University of Lausanne, Switzerland) 

Electroencephalography: The old dog teaching us new tricks for organizational neuroscience.

Electroencephalography (EEG) was the first of the non-invasive brain measures in neuroscience. Technical advances over the last 100 years or so have rendered EEG a true brain imaging technique. This lecture provides an accessible primer on the biophysics of EEG, on measurement aspects, and on the analysis of EEG data at the base of the so-called electrical neuroimaging framework. I detail the interpretational strengths of electrical neuroimaging for organizational researchers and describe some domains of ongoing technical developments. The versatility and accessibility of the technique, in combination with advances in signal processing, allow for this ‘old dog’ to still deliver new tricks and innovations.

   Micah Murray


Nienke van Atteveldt (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) 

Using neuroscience to unravel the interplay between motivation and responses to failure and feedback.

Making mistakes in inherent to learning. It has been shown that people’s beliefs about their learning ability (mindset) and the goals they set in learning situations, influence how they interpret and respond to mistakes and feedback (e.g. withdrawing or investing effort after negative feedback). A better understanding of this interplay is important for fostering students or employees as motivated and resilient learners. I will present recent EEG results in which we look at error processing and effort investment during tasks with self-adjusted difficulty. EEG provides complementary insights in this context, as it enables understanding processing during mistakes and feedback, while behavioural measures can only capture adjustments afterwards. Furthermore, I will discuss advances in portable EEG technology, enabling neuroscience research in more ecologically valid settings.

   Nienke van Atteveldt


Daan Scheepers (Leiden University & Utrecht University) 

When is Having High Power a Threat?

Hierarchy Security, Power Construal, and Cardiovascular Indices of Challenge and Threat.

Possessing social status or power has substantial psychological and biological benefits. For example, during motivated performance, powerful people are more likely to display a benign cardiovascular response pattern indicative of “challenge” (high cardiac output, low vascular resistance), whereas powerless people are more likely to display a maladaptive cardiovascular response pattern indicative of “threat” (low cardiac output, high vascular resistance). But is this always the case? In this presentation I present four studies testing structural and psychological moderators of the power-challenge relationship. First, we show that the power-challenge relationship only holds in case of secure hierarchies: When the hierarchy is unstable or illegitimate, the powerful are threatened, and the powerless challenged. Second, we show that the power-challenge relationship only holds when power means opportunity; when power means responsibility the powerful are threatened. Results are discussed in terms of power theories, and implications for health, performance, and power-abuse.

   Daan Scheepers


Reinout de Vries (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, iBBA)

Automatic Personality Assessment

From algorithms that analyze your music taste to virtual receptionists and self-driving cars, artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly delivering on its promise to forever change the way we live, work, and interact with each other. One of the most notable promises in work and organizational psychology is the use of algorithms to automatically assess personality traits in selection and assessment contexts. Broadly speaking, there are two types of algorithmic approaches to assess personality: an ‘open vocabulary’ and a ‘closed vocabulary’ approach. The open vocabulary approach is based on machine learning, whereas the closed vocabulary approach is based on theoretical and empirical considerations. In this presentation, I will present the advantages and disadvantages of different open and closed vocabulary approaches and I will present some data on the use of a new closed vocabulary approach in the assessment context. Additionally, I will present a program of research on the use of AI in selection and assessment context, in which not only verbal, but also paraverbal and nonverbal behavioral cues are used, mimicking the ability of recruiters to consider the full display of a job candidate’s behavior. Furthermore, I will consider the practical impact automatic personality assessment may have on the way selection and assessments are carried out.

   Reinout de Vries

The symposium is free of charge but please register here. You can do this through the form below.

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If you have signed up, but it turns out you cannot make it after all, please let Barbara Goudriaan know by email:

Barbara Goudriaan
+31 20 59 88786