Handbook of Entrepreneurial Cognition

Handbook of Entrepreneurial Cognition

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by J. Robert Mitchell, Ronald K. Mitchell and Brandon Randolph-Seng

Entrepreneurial cognition research is at a crossroads, where static views give way to dynamic approaches. This Handbook draws on a variety of perspectives from experts in the field of entrepreneurial cognition to highlight the key elements in a socially-situated view, where cognition is action-oriented embodied, socially-situated, and distributed. Readers seeking to better understand and/or participate in some of the most up-to-date approaches to entrepreneurial cognition research will find this Handbook to be an invaluable and time-saving companion in their research.

Chapter 9: Entrepreneurial cognition and social cognitive neuroscience

Jeffery S. McMullen, Matthew S. Wood and Leslie E. Palich

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship


By offering an alternative to behavioral research methods, neuroscience has transformed cognitive psychology, social psychology, behavioural economics and other disciplines from which entrepreneurial cognition research regularly draws for theoretical insight. In this chapter we examine the potential of neuroscience methods, particularly from cognitive and social cognitive neuroscience, to explain the entrepreneurial phenomenon of forming and successfully implementing opportunity beliefs. After a primer on brain anatomy and neuroscience methods, we partition the entrepreneurial cognition literature into four distinct explanations of the formation and successful implementation of opportunity beliefs and identify the emergence of a fifth explanation that points to the future of neuroscience research. We then review relevant neuroscience literature that could further scholarly understanding of each perspective, and conclude with some general observations about entrepreneurial cognition made possible as a result of this application.

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