Managers and non-managers show distinctly different brain activation patterns when making decisions, according to research published Aug. 22 in the open access journal PLOS ONE.
The authors of the study, led by Svenja Caspers of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine, Research Centre Julich in Germany, used functional MR imaging to track the decision making process for managers and non-managers. Subjects were required to perform equally repetitive decisions, one form of decision making occurring in every-day work life.
The authors found that manager and non-managers showed differential activation of cortical and subcortical parts of the brain during the decision process.
The results, they write, support the hypothesis that managers, given their increased pressure for frequent and rapid decisions, prefer a more heuristic, automated decision-making approach than non-managers do.
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Caspers S, Heim S, Lucas MG, Stephan E, Fischer L, et al. (2012) Dissociated Neural Processing for Decisions in Managers and Non-Managers. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43537. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043537