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IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Work in Progress Seminar

Learning to see the world's opportunities: The impact of visualization on entrepreneurial success

Gharad Bryan (LSE), joint with Nava Ashraf, Alexia Delfino, Emily Holmes, Leonardo Iacovone, Ashley Pople

Thursday 20 October 2022 13:00 - 14:00

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Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

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About this event

Recent work in neuroscience and psychology has explored the impact of visualizing future scenarios on decision making and suggests that there is heterogeneity in how well and how often people use mental imagery. We explore the importance of imagery for economic outcomes. First, using a data set of over 1,201 Colombian would-be micro-entrepreneurs, we show that measures of imagery use correlate strongly and positively with economic outcomes. Second, we design a training curriculum to teach visualization skills, and test it using a randomized control trial in which the same entrepreneurs were given access to either the imagery-based entrepreneurial training program, or a more traditional (placebo) program. In follow-up surveys conducted 8 and 14 months after the intervention, those who participated in the imagery training demonstrate a strengthened capacity for using visualization and significantly improved economic outcomes including higher revenue prior to the COVID pandemic. Our results suggest that the ability to vividly and precisely imagine the future is an important determinant of entrepreneurial success.

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS, STICERD, and UCL.

IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Economics Work In Progress seminars are held on Thursdays in term time at 13:00-14:00, at the IFS, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar organisers: Oriana Bandiera (STICERD, LSE), Imran Rasul (UCL), Britta Augsburg (IFS) and Jonathan Weigel (LSE).

For further information please contact Britta Augsburg:

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