Science

Male entrepreneurs love their companies like their children

10 Apr 2017 | By Shiladitya Ray
Love is blind: An entrepreneurial experience

In a study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping, researchers found that male entrepreneurs experienced a feeling similar to fatherly love when showed pictures of their company.

The researchers, hailing from Aalto Univerisity in Helsinki, Finland, studied the brain activity of 21 non-entrepreneurial fathers and 21 start-up founders to arrive to their conclusions.

In context: Love is blind: An entrepreneurial experience

10 Apr 2017Male entrepreneurs love their companies like their children

Love leads to overconfidence

"These results suggest that overconfidence and the repression of negative emotions may lead to [entrepreneurs and fathers] overestimating the probability of success for their company or child," said Marja-Liisa Halko, the co-author of the study.
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Details of the study

BackgroundDetails of the study

The study was conducted using questionnaires to measure closeness, confidence, positive emotions and affect intensity between entrepreneurs and their companies, and between fathers and their children.

The participants were aged 24-45.

MRI scans were used to examine and assess brain activities of the two different sets of participants and establish results pointed towards "blind love" in both cases.

DetailsThe findings of the study

Behaviourally, fathers and entrepreneurs expressed the strikingly similar emotions on measures of love, closeness, joy, satisfaction, and pride for their children and companies respectively.

However, entrepreneurs displayed a more positive bias towards their companies than fathers did for their children.

Self-confidence also had a positive correlation with how positively biased entrepreneurs and fathers were towards their companies and children respectively.

The science behind "blind love"

Previous studies had shown that brain regions linked to objective reasoning i.e. emotional processing and social cognition, showed decreased activity when parents viewed images of their children. Entrepreneurs' brain images also displayed the same patterns of "blind love" when showed images of their companies.

ImplicationsThe implications of the findings

This "blind love" displayed by both fathers and entrepreneurs alike resulted in them rating their children and companies considerably higher than average on chances of success.

While emotional attachment could well be the key to a start-up's success in the long run, but lack of objectivity in assessing business performance could mean overlooking a venture's weaknesses.