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Ivey receives funding for Behavioural Research Lab

  • Communications
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  • Aug 21, 2020
Ivey receives funding for Behavioural Research Lab

Thanks to a $232,171-grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for research infrastructure, a team of Ivey researchers will upgrade the Behavioural Research Lab to include new equipment to evaluate the physiological changes that occur when people make decisions.  

The funding, through the highly competitive John R. Evans Leaders Fund, will allow the researchers to modernize the lab and expand its research focus.

Through a combination of funding from the CFI grant, provincial money, and private donations, the lab will get new computer systems and software and two physiological labs. The labs will allow researchers to monitor people’s attention and emotional states when making decisions or to observe consumer and economic decision-making at outside locations.

“This allows us to do more innovative methodological approaches than simply asking participants questions. We can now assess their biological responses,” said Ivey Professor June Cotte, who is the lead on the project. “It will allow us to attract and keep the best behavioural business school faculty.”

The research team also includes professors Kirk Kristofferson and Matthew Sooy, and Karen Hussey, Research Officer for the Ivey Behavioural Research Lab.

Tracking consumer behaviour in the lab or the field

New equipment will allow the researchers to monitor and analyze people’s facial expressions and track where they are looking at a computer screen. Through a new mobile lab, they’ll use virtual reality and eye-tracking equipment to get a more in-depth look at the consumer experience.

“In a real-world shopping experience, does a participant take more time looking at nutrition labels in the supermarket if the product name uses diet-related words like ‘lite’ or ‘reduced calories’?,” said Hussey. “Can we see greater and larger donations to a charitable cause if the potential donor is permitted a chance to virtually walk in the shoes of those they would be donating to?”

Hussey said the upgrades will make the lab one of the leading business research spaces in Canada.

“The lab will have cutting-edge hardware and software to support our researchers as they innovate to meet the challenges of research ahead,” she said. “Now is the perfect time to re-invigorate our infrastructure and my hope is that, in turn, it reinvigorates research at Ivey as our faculty are working hard to recover their research programs.”