Study­ing neu­ro­science

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - STAR SPECIAL HIGHER EDUCATION -

The hu­man brain has of­ten been called the fi­nal fron­tier in sci­ence. Stud­ies and re­search have yet to bring a full un­der­stand­ing of how the mind works, which is one rea­son why neu­ro­science is such an in­trigu­ing and po­ten­tial-filled area of study.

Last year, Monash Univer­sity Malaysia’s School of Busi­ness launched a Neu­robusi­ness Lab­o­ra­tory, a sort of “think­ing fa­cil­ity” that will help re­searchers mea­sure brain ac­tiv­ity to bet­ter un­der­stand hu­man be­hav­iour in re­la­tion to the workplace, mak­ing busi­ness de­ci­sions and other fac­tors that con­trib­ute to the over­all econ­omy.

Neu­robusi­ness is a tool that em­ploys core neu­ro­science prin­ci­ples of how the brain and the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem work, to mea­sure body func­tion and di­rect be­hav­iour.

This lab at­tracted two leading re­searchers to work at the School of Busi­ness, Monash Univer­sity Malaysia. For as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor Mo­toki Watabe, work­ing in one of the re­gion’s first neu­robusi­ness labs held great po­ten­tial for him to fur­ther de­velop his re­search.

“I’m in­ter­ested in how people can co­op­er­ate with each other. There’s in­ter­de­pen­dence with oth­ers in the workplace, and you need some level of trust. how we can es­tab­lish trust in­ter­per­son­ally is im­por­tant to en­sure a func­tional busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment,” said Watabe.

Watabe, who co-au­thored the book Un­pleas­ant Workplace, said his cur­rent project fo­cuses on rep­u­ta­tional in­for­ma­tion.

To in­ves­ti­gate this, Watabe in­tends to use an eye-tracker, a hitech equip­ment avail­able at the lab.

“The eye-tracker is able to de­tect changes in the eye and with that, I can ob­tain in­for­ma­tion on how people fo­cus on their rep­u­ta­tional in­for­ma­tion to find a bet­ter busi­ness part­ner,” he ex­plained.

“Neu­ro­science opens up many re­search op­por­tu­ni­ties, as it helps us to bet­ter un­der­stand ev­ery­day eco­nomic be­hav­iours,” said as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor alexandre Schae­fer.

Schae­fer, who has a PhD in Cog­ni­tive Psy­chol­ogy, said his area of re­search was fo­cused on con­sum- er de­ci­sion mak­ing and de­ci­sion­mak­ing un­der un­cer­tainty.

he said he was also keen on us­ing neu­roimag­ing tech­niques to help mar­ket­ing strate­gies.

“You can use neu­ro­science tech­niques to pre­dict if people are go­ing to buy or not to buy a prod­uct.”

While the lab has been opened for less than a year, Monash Univer­sity Malaysia is com­mit­ted to buy­ing even more ad­vanced neu­roimag­ing and be­havioural ex­per­i­men­tal equip­ment. Both re­searchers be­lieve that work at the lab will lead to many col­lab­o­ra­tion pos­si­bil­i­ties with other schools, as well as with the cor­po­rate sec­tor.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit I have heard many say that the path cho­sen by an en­tre­pre­neur is a dif­fi­cult one. The busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment is harsh and the added un­cer­tain­ties at­trib­uted to an en­tre­pre­neur, such as se­cur­ing funds, make the jour­ney even harder.

even more so for techno­preneurs, who have no in­kling as to what drives a busi­ness.

To­gether with two other techies, we have had our share of dis­cov­er­ing, ex­per­i­ment­ing and strug­gling to find a good mix and bal­ance to grow our busi­ness.

It is very much like three blind men try­ing to de­scribe what an ele­phant looks like. hence, it was log­i­cal to try to gain a deeper un­der­stand­ing of how businesses work and ac­quire the knowl­edge for guid­ing a busi­ness by learn­ing through an MBa pro­gramme.

The search for the right pro­gramme in­volved at­tend­ing MBa pre­views, speak­ing with MBa grad­u­ates and look­ing at syl­la­bles.

The Univer­sity of Strath­clyde MBa, with its fo­cus on strat­egy, suited my re­quire­ments per­fectly.

Un­der­tak­ing a part-time MBa al­most cer­tainly means mak­ing sac­ri­fices when it comes to fam­ily and per­sonal time.

While there are many good on­line MBa pro­grammes that can pro­vide a stu­dent with flex­i­ble hours, a big part of learn­ing is shar­ing and en­gag­ing with course­mates.

Whether by de­sign or ef­fort of the univer­sity or just luck, my course­mates were driven, lively, hard­work­ing, knowl­edge­able and ex­perts in their own field.

This has def­i­nitely en­hanced the learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and the con­tacts gained are equally valu­able.

The Univer­sity of Strath­clyde MBa pro­vided a good pro­gramme that taught me to craft a strat­egy to han­dle un­cer­tain­ties. The course is well-struc­tured and the use of real-life case stud­ies has ce­mented the learn­ing and for­ti­fied the un­der­stand­ing of strat­egy-mak­ing.

I am proud to have stud­ied un­der the tute­lage of first-rate Univer­sity of Strath­clyde lec­tur­ers.

My con­fi­dence in guid­ing and steer­ing a busi­ness grew with ev­ery com­pleted Univer­sity of Strath­clyde MBa mod­ule.

This ar­ti­cle was shared by 2012 MBa grad­u­ate of Univer­sity of Strath­clyde and com­pany di­rec­tor Wong Foot Yow. For de­tails, visit or call eda­hani at 03-7660 8950 ext 109.

Neu­robusi­ness is a tool that em­ploys core neu­ro­science prin­ci­ples of how the brain and the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem work.

Wong and his fam­ily.

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