Leadership and Neurosciences - The analysis of emotional arousal during decision-making processes with decision-makers exposed to acute stress


  • Joao Alexandre Lobo Marques University of Saint Joseph




Decision Making, Stress, Emotional arousal, Galvanic Skin Response, Neurosciences


Corporate leaders are constantly dealing with stress in parallel with continuous decision-making processes. The impact of acute stress on decision-making activities is a relevant area of study to evaluate the impact of the decisions made, and create tools and mechanisms to cope with the inevitable exposure to stress and better manage its impact. The intersection of leadership and neurosciences techniques is called Neuroleadership. In this work, an experiment is proposed to detect and measure the emotional arousal of two groups of business professionals, divided into two groups. The first one is the intervention/stress group, n=30, exposed to stressful conditions, and the control group, n=14, not exposed to stress. The participants are submitted to a sequence of computerized stimuli, such as watching videos, answering survey questions, and making decisions in a realistic office environment. The Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) biosensor monitors emotional arousal in real-time. The experiment design implemented stressors such as visual effects, defacement, unfairness, and time-constraint for the intervention group, followed by decision-making tasks. The results indicate that emotional arousal was statistically significantly higher for the intervention/stress group, considering Shapiro and Mann-Whitney tests. The work indicates that GSR is a reliable stress detector and may be useful to predict negative impacts on executive professionals during decision-making activities.