The Organizational Neuroscience Laboratory

About the lab

The Organizational Neuroscience Laboratory is headed by Associate Professor Sebastiano Massaro, the first scholar across the globe to be appointed in the field of Organizational Neuroscience.
The Laboratory focuses on theoretical, empirical, and practical contributions of Organizational Neuroscience through an integrative and interdisciplinary approach. ​It tackles fundamental issues traditionally addressed by organizational and behavioral scientists using neuroimaging and neurophysiological methods, computational models, and experimental approaches.

Lab Website:

Featured projects (1)

Featured research (7)

The last decade has seen numerous policy reforms to emplace person-centered social care. Consequently, the public has been given more information, choice, and autonomy to decide how best they want to be cared for later in life. Despite this, adults generally fail to plan or prepare effectively for their future care needs. Understanding the behavioral antecedents of person-centered decisionmaking is thus critical for addressing key gaps in the provision of quality social care. To this end, we conducted a literature review of the psychological and health sciences with the aim of identifying the aspects that influence person-centered decision-making in social care. Using an established theoretical framework, we distilled nine behavioral factors—knowledge, competency, health, goal clarity, time discounting, familiarity, cognitive biases, cognitive overload, and emotion—associated with “Capability,” “Opportunity,” “Motivation,” and “Behavior” that explained person-centered decision-making in social care. These factors exist to different degrees and change as a person ages, gradually impacting their ability to obtain the care they want. We discuss the role of carers and the promise of shared decision-making and conclude by advocating a shift from personal autonomy to one that is shared with carers in the delivery of quality social care.
In recent years, research on interoceptive abilities (i.e., sensibility, accuracy, and awareness) and their associations with emotional experience has flourished. Yet interoceptive abilities in alexithymia—a personality trait characterized by a difficulty in the cognitive interpretation of emotional arousal, which impacts emotional experience—remain under-investigated, thereby limiting a full understanding of subjective emotional experience processing. Research has proposed two contrasting explanations thus far: in one model, the dimensions of interoceptive sensibility and accuracy in alexithymia would increase; in the other model, they would decrease. Surprisingly, the contribution of interoceptive awareness has been minimally researched. In this study ( N = 182), the relationship between participants’ level of alexithymia and the three interoceptive dimensions was tested. Our results show that the higher the level of alexithymia is, the higher interoceptive accuracy and sensibility ( R ² = 0.29 and R ² = 0.14); conversely, the higher the level of alexithymia is, the lower interoceptive awareness ( R ² = 0.36). Moreover, an ROC analysis reveals that interoceptive awareness is the most accurate predictor of alexithymia, yielding over 92% accuracy. Collectively, these results support a coherent understanding of interoceptive abilities in alexithymia, whereby the dissociation of interoceptive accuracy and awareness may explain the underlying psycho-physiological mechanisms of alexithymia. A possible neurocognitive mechanism is discussed which suggests insurgence of psychosomatic disorders in alexithymia and related psychotherapeutic approaches.
Conflicts are inherently emotional, yet parties in conflict may choose to explicitly express indifference. It is unclear, however, whether this represents an effective strategy. Drawing on emotions as social information (EASI) theory, we examined the interpersonal effects of indifference expressions in conflict and the processes that underlie these effects. Study 1 indicated that people believe indifference expressions constitute a neutral emotional signal. However, Study 2 demonstrated experimentally that counterparts’ indifference expressions reduce focal negotiators’ cooperative intentions through both affective (negative affective reactions) and inferential (decreased expected collaboration) processes when compared to negative (anger, contempt), positive (hope), and neutral (no emotion) expressions. Study 3 revealed negative effects of indifference (vs. neutral) expressions on cooperative intentions, expected collaboration, and heart rate variability as a physiological indicator of affective responding. Results further showed an indirect effect through expected collaboration, but not through affective reactions. Study 4 established the negative effects of indifference expressions on a behavioral measure of cooperation through expected collaboration. Studies 5 and 6 (pre-registered) demonstrated that the impact of indifference expressions on cooperative intentions (Study 5) and actual cooperation (Study 6) via counterpart’s expected collaboration is reduced when a counterpart explicitly indicates cooperative intentions, reducing the diagnostic value of indifference expressions. Across studies (N = 2,447), multiple expressive modalities of indifference were used, including verbal and non-verbal expressions. Findings demonstrate that explicit expressions of indifference have qualitatively different interpersonal effects than other emotional expressions, including neutral expressions, and cast doubt on the effectiveness of expressing indifference in negotiating social conflict.
Background Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a heterogeneous group of lung conditions that are challenging to diagnose and treat. As the presence of comorbidities often exacerbates this scenario, the characterization of patients with COPD and cardiovascular comorbidities may allow early intervention and improve disease management and care. Methods We analysed a 4-year observational cohort of 6,883 UK patients who were ultimately diagnosed with COPD and at least one cardiovascular comorbidity. The cohort was extracted from the UK Royal College of General Practitioners and Surveillance Centre database. The COPD phenotypes were identified prior to diagnosis and their reproducibility was assessed following COPD diagnosis. We then developed four classifiers for predicting cardiovascular comorbidities. Results Three subtypes of the COPD cardiovascular phenotype were identified prior to diagnosis. Phenotype A was characterised by a higher prevalence of severe COPD, emphysema, hypertension. Phenotype B was characterised by a larger male majority, a lower prevalence of hypertension, the highest prevalence of the other cardiovascular comorbidities, and diabetes. Finally, phenotype C was characterised by universal hypertension, a higher prevalence of mild COPD and the low prevalence of COPD exacerbations. These phenotypes were reproduced after diagnosis with 92% accuracy. The random forest model was highly accurate for predicting hypertension while ruling out less prevalent comorbidities. Conclusions This study identified three subtypes of the COPD cardiovascular phenotype that may generalize to other populations. Among the four models tested, the random forest classifier was the most accurate at predicting cardiovascular comorbidities in COPD patients with the cardiovascular phenotype.
This paper advances current understandings of why and how neuroimaging can enrich the study of entrepreneurship. We discuss the foundations of this cross-disciplinary research area and its evolving boundaries, focusing on explaining and providing actionable insights on how two of the most widely used brain-imaging methods can be leveraged for use in entrepreneurship research. We provide guidelines aimed to equip entrepreneurship scholars with the fundamentals needed to design and evaluate research involving these neuroscience instruments. In so doing, we delineate examples related to entrepreneurial cognition and propose several ways in which this domain of research can be enhanced with neuroimaging.

Lab head

Sebastiano Massaro
About Sebastiano Massaro
  • Sebastiano Massaro is Associate Professor of Organizational Neuroscience at the Surrey Business School and Honorary Associate Professor of Behavioural Science at the University of Warwick, where he previously co-led the University's Global Research Priority in Behavioural Science. He is the Founding Director of the Organizational Neuroscience Laboratory. ​Sebastiano is the inaugural Ph.D. graduate of the UCL School of Management and he graduated in Neuroscience at the University of Trieste and International School of Advanced Studies, and in Neuroimaging at the University of Edinburgh. His research is theoretically and methodologically focused on defining the scholarly boundaries of organizational neuroscience. Personal website: Lab website:

Members (5)

Sergio Alessandro Castagnetti
  • The University of Warwick
Eugene Tay
  • National University of Singapore
Alina Gutoreva
  • The University of Warwick
Tim Siu Wan
  • The University of Warwick
Elettra Latini
  • Warwick Business School
H. Huang
H. Huang
  • Not confirmed yet
Yu-Chun Huang
Yu-Chun Huang
  • Not confirmed yet