Article (April-2021)


The invisible bridge between Brain and Behaviour - Neuroscience

Deepika Swain

Designation : -   Research Assistant

Organization : -  Xavier Labor Relations Institute, Jamshedpur


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Neuroscience (NS) is carefully nurturing the concept of the proverb 'Putting oneself into somebody's shoes'. Who will not like, if I happen to say: 'Tere dil ki baat mein jaanu' (I understand what is there in your heart). Visionary companies with large-scale ambitions are keen to predict human behaviour to a large accuracy, are investing in their own laboratories, science personnel, or partnerships with academia. Neuro marketing is the brainchild of NS; despite being an expensive approach is still ticking the tempo of the time. Neuroscience uses brain-scanning technology-such as fMRIs and Electro Encephalography (EEG)-to observe how people's brain responds to different kinds of stimulus, a specific ad, packaging design, product design, etc. Making use of the results of the scans may be more appealing or motivating, and, hence rewarding.

According to a report, the global Human Resource Technology market grew at a CAGR of 14% during 2014-2019. Human Capital Management being the crux of human resources is undergoing a turbulent time. As per the Census of India, the population is expected to increase from 121.1 cr in 2011 to 152.2 cr in 2036. The increase in the middle-age group (15-59 yr) will sizably increase the proportion of the working-age-group. Due to progressive medical facilities, the population of older people will increase from 10 cr in 2011 to 23 cr in 2036. These numbers are whispering to us about the tiptoeing future concerns. The labor market will be facing two great challenges in the days to come: non-adoption to the digital world and aging-induced cognitive decay.

Post- COVID the digital transformation that India is experiencing originates a deep change in professional development and in the labor market. New technologies and applications have started to impose new ways of working and living. On one hand, people face multi-tasking scenarios on a regular basis at work, where it is more difficult to manage interruptions and stay focused, with usually short breaks, and new digital tools setting goals and measuring the annual performance. On the other hand, there is a work-life connection that constrains the work-life balance (easily handled by millennials) and modifies routines and free-time activities. Pressure is added to personal and professional aspects of life: how to hack productivity towards the achievement of goals, and how to manage time at work and at home (including quality time spent with family) towards effectiveness (no "wasted time").

What is cognitive decay? Is it so crucial?  Is it more severe during the post-pandemic era?

Cognitive decay is a broad term that means some kind of problem or difficulty with one's memory, thinking, concentration, and other functions of the conscious brain. For individuals aged over 40, the situation can be very complicated. Cognitive decay starts after 40 and by the age of 65, approximately 5-20% of the population suffers from it. The following reasons owe to its cruciality.

1. It acts as the precursor of declining emotional quotient (EQ) and intelligence quotient (IQ).

2. It affects the quality of life and work productivity.

Experts in human resources predict that in the post-COVID years, more than 50% of current occupations will become obsolete. The only occupations that will survive will be those requiring complex tasks that rely on high cognitive capabilities and creative and emotional intelligence. These projections make the unique neuro scientific approach to achieve the new excellence, absolutely urgent and hardly dispensable.

The present world of plethora of options, cut-throat competitions, loyal-disloyal duos are no less than the Ravan Raaj. The foray of NS is just like Angad's foot in Ravan's place, which could not be moved by an inch. May it be the Right blue of Google, Blind-test of Pepsi, Microsoft's understanding of users, Frito-Lay's knowing the female brain, or the product like Ambipure; NS is slowly leaving its strong signature everywhere. Despite of the apprehensions by some learned researchers, NS will continue to flourish in the days to come.

Ethics and morals are two of the strongest pillars in any business. As neuroscience deals with the tender neurons which in turn control our behaviour, shapes our perception; requires extremely high ethical standards .Ethics in neuro marketing is often viewed as a guideline to how companies or researchers should act when applying neuroscience in their marketing field or studies. They must abide by the ethical rules and regulations to avoid violating both company and consumer rights.

Deepika Swain - Research Assistant, Xavier Labor Relations Institute, Jamshedpur

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