The use of cognitive factors in explaining entrepreneurship: some empirical results Defended on Friday, 15 January 2016

‘What makes an entrepreneur?’ This is an important question for many researchers in the past three decades. Although this is a fundamental question, research usually find incomplete and uncertain answers to this research question. Thus, it is of imperative importance to study novel factors that may explain entrepreneurship better. Therefore, this thesis takes entrepreneurship as a starting point to investigate the associations with two new potential cognitive factors, viz., neurocognitive measures on the one hand and self-reported psychiatric symptoms and individual differences on the other hand. Chapter 1 introduces how the five chapters fit in the conceptual model this thesis builds upon and discusses its main motivation and contribution. Chapter 2 and 3 examine the internal consistency and functional significance of important neurocognitive measures. The results provide guidelines for future research and suggest that more research is needed to fully understand what these neurocognitive measures reflect. Chapter 4 and 5 investigate the association between attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) symptoms and entrepreneurial choice and orientation. The findings suggest that there is a positive association that is primarily driven by hyperactivity symptoms. Finally, Chapter 6 studies the association between present and future temporal focus and entrepreneurial orientation in a sample of solo self-employed individuals. The results suggest that for these individuals a future focus is more important compared to present focus for the entrepreneurial orientation and that a focus on both temporal foci simultaneously comes at the expense of their entrepreneurial orientation. Taken together, this thesis presents initial results associating new potential cognitive factors that may explain entrepreneurship and opens up ample room for research in this direction.


Entrepreneurship, psychiatric symptoms, individual differences, cognitive control processes, EEG, self-reported data

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