Neuroscience as a basis for understanding emotions and affect in organizations

Christopher S. Reina, Suzanne Peterson, David Waldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Emotions and affect continue to garner widespread interest in the organizational sciences, and psychometric instruments tend to be the most often utilized method of assessing emotional phenomena in the workplace. However, psychometric questionnaires/surveys suffer from various shortcomings in that they may not adequately capture the underlying emotional experiences of individuals for various reasons (such as social desirability, lack of awareness, political posturing, and so forth). Neuroscience approaches allow researchers to directly assess the underlying neural activity that is occurring inside individuals’ brains. Accordingly, neuroscience can help researchers to overcome some of the limitations of surveys, thus allowing for both broader conceptualization and measurement. We briefly discuss the various neuroscience methodologies that can be used to help researchers gain insight into how individuals in the workplace experience emotions. Our discussion targets emotional contagion and emotional regulation as two areas that could especially benefit from utilizing a neuroscientific approach. We end the chapter with a consideration of practical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-232
Number of pages20
JournalMonographs in Leadership and Management
StatePublished - 2015


  • Affect
  • Emotional contagion
  • Emotional regulation
  • Emotions
  • Empathy
  • Neuroscience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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