Tag: the brain

Public Sphere, Crowd Sentiments and the Brain

A Public Lecture Series at Copenhagen Business School
Sponsored by the Public-Private Research Platform

See event Poster

Recent discussions in both strategic management and critical
management studies have hailed the coming of a new era of
democratized forms of the co-creation of value within business
systems, an era of democratic participation of consumers and
citizens as professional consumers (‘prosumers’) and co-creators
of innovation. Behind this reassessment of value-creation
structures lies the justified frustration with contemporary
forms of capitalism and its lack of attention to social justice
and environmental sustainability. Many contributors to these
debates, like Eric von Hippel, Adam Arvidsson, C. K. Prahalad,
and Russell L. Ackoff, suggest that the restructuring of capitalism
around modes of public deliberation stands a higher chance
of meeting future needs for more sustainable, responsive, flexible,
and globally inclusive forms of economic organizing.
Curiously, these visions rely on the notion of ‘productive publics’
and ‘productive collectives’ in the form of actual and virtual
crowds. The production of an open-access software, the
targeting of a misbehaving corporation through a Facebook
campaign, and the emergence of a crowd-sourced service or
product through the interaction between firms and twitterand
wiki-communities all have in common the assumption that
there exists what James Surowiecki has called the ‘wisdom of
the crowds’.

The remarkable return of ‘the crowd’ and its wise foolishness
is the subject of this public lecture series which aims to bring
together researchers and activist to discuss the themes of
public sphere, crowd behaviour, economic organizing, and recent
advances in neuroeconomic and neuromarketing research.
The lecture series aims at widening the conversation about
how much crowd psychology there is in current neuroeconomic
and neuromarketing research, and what the return of fin-desiècle
crowd psychology means for the ontology, methodology
and axiology of theorizing in contemporary management and
organization research. In the same vein, our guest lecturers
will raise the question whether the rapidly growing interest in
neuroscientific methods in economics, marketing and management
might provide the stimulus for the integration of social
and natural sciences.


14 March, 12.30-2pm, Porcelaenshaven 18B, Room 3.135
Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy, Copenhagen Business School
‘Neuromarketing: What’s All the Noise About?’
Thomas is Group Leader of the Decision Neuroscience Research
Group at the Department of Marketing and senior researcher at
the Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance. Amongst
his latest publications is ‘Branding the Brain: a Critical Review and
Outlook’, in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

21 March, 3-5pm, Porcelaenshaven 18B, Room S.023
Andrea Mubi-Brighenti, University of Trento
‘Social multiplicities: A Return on the Notion of Individual’
Andrea is a sociologist whose main research threads include space
and society, visibility and social theory. His latest monograph is
Visibility in Social Theory and Social Research (Palgrave Macmillan,
2010). He is co-editor of the ethnography journal Etnografia e
Ricerca Qualitativa and editor of a collection of articles on The Wall
and the City (Professional Dreamers, 2009).

11 April, 3-5pm, Porcelaenshaven 18B, Room 3.135
Tony Sampson, University of East London
‘Putting the Neuro Doctrine to Work’
Tony is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Arts and Digital Industries,
University of East London. Tony researches social contagion
in electronic media, and he is the co-editor (with Jussi Parikka) of
Spam Book: On Viruses, Porn, and Other Anomalies from the Dark
Side of Digital Culture (Hampton Press, 2009). His latest book is
Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of
Minnesota Press, 2012.).

18 April, 3-5pm, Porcelaenshaven 18B, Room 3.135
Tanja Schneider, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
‘Neuroscience beyond the Laboratory: the Commercialization of
Neuroscientific Knowledges and Technologies’
Tanja Schneider is a Research Fellow in Science and Technology
Studies. Her areas of expertise include social studies of markets
and marketing, media and consumer culture as well as the politics
and practices of food governance. Among her latest publications is
‘Technologies of Ironic Revelation: Enacting Consumers in Neuromarkets’
in Consumption, Markets and Culture.

REGISTRATION: publicprivateplatform@cbs.dk

Christian Borch (cbo.lpf@cbs.dk), Associate Professor at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy.
Porcelaenshaven 18B, DK-2000 Frederiksberg.
Thomas Z. Ramsøy (tzr.marktg@cbs.dk), Head of the Decision Neuroscience Research Group at the Department
of Marketing, Solbjerg Plads 3C, DK-2000 Frederiksberg.

Affective Contagion: Social Practices and the Problem of the Uncanny (3 of 5)

New Neural Pathways…

Tarde contends that every animal, like every human ‘reaches out’ to the social life to satisfy their innate capacity to imitate (Tarde 1903, 67). This is Tarde’s ‘sine qua non of mental development,’ a precondition of all social life which predates language (Tarde 1903, 67). As he puts it, ‘[t]he adaptive capacity of cerebral functions, the mind, is distinguished from other functions in not being a simple adaptation of definite means to definite ends’ (Tarde 1903, 67). The adaptive mind is ‘indeterminate’ and depends more or less on the chance ‘imitation of outside things’ (Tarde 1903, 67).

Gabriel Tarde
Gabriel Tarde

Prior to a late twentieth century neuroscientific understanding of a hardwired imitative capacity which may have evolved initially to help animals improve physical movements and eventually became available for more complex functions like language, Tarde located the social mind in an ‘infinite outside’ or ‘outer world’ of imitation-repetition (Tarde 1903, 67). Mutual examples are not simply imitated by way of top down, internalized cognitive processes of the mind, but also filter through the noncognitive sharing of feelings, sensations and emotions. These are reciprocated magnetisms that form part of a ‘universal nature’ – a ‘continual and irresistible action by suggestion upon the… brain and muscular system,’ (Tarde 1903, 67) which spreads through the social environment.1

Significantly, discursive formations do not simply disappear from bodily movements, reflexes, and contagious transmissions. On the contrary, discourse is transmitted along with the prediscursive emergences of faces and stances. There is nonetheless an analytical requirement to map the changes in connectivities of prediscursive spaces and explore contemporary Tardean mediascapes, like the Internet, which as Thrift argues “act as new kinds of neural pathways . . . forging new reflexes.”(Thrift, Non-representational Theory, 236).

1. taken from a talk I presented in Hamburg last year. I am now working on a journal article expanding on Tarde’s notion that the brain has an innate capacity to imitate.