PhD Defence: Indy Bernoster
In her dissertation ‘Essays at the Intersection of Psychology, Biology, and Entrepreneurship', Indy Bernoster contributes to the field of entrepreneurship by focusing on the psychology of the entrepreneur, using concepts like overconfidence, optimism, positive affect, and negative affect, as well as the biology of the entrepreneur, using concepts like behavior and electrophysiology.
Indy Bernoster defended her dissertation in the Senate Hall at Erasmus University Rotterdam on Thursday, December 20 at 13:30. Her supervisors were Prof. Roy Thurik(ESE), Prof. Ingmar Franken(ESSB) and Prof. Patrick Groenen(ESE). Other members of the Doctoral Committee are Prof. Kirsten Rohde(ESE), Prof. Jan van Strien(ESSB), Prof. Olivier Torrès(MBS, France), Prof. Alexander Kritikos(DIW Berlin), Prof. Ute Stephan(Aston Business School, UK) and dr. Niels Rietveld(ESE).
Indy Bernoster was born on the 16th of April 1992 in Vlaardingen, The Netherlands. In 2014, she obtained the degree of Master of Science (MSc) in Econometrics and Management Science cum laude at the Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Subsequently, in October 2014, she started as a PhD candidate at the Department of Applied Economics, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University of Rotterdam as a member of the Erasmus University Rotterdam Institute for Biology and Economic Behavior (EURIBEB), under the supervision of professors A. Roy Thurik, Ingmar H. A. Franken, and Patrick J. F. Groenen. Indy’s research focuses on the intersection of psychology and entrepreneurship as well as that of electrophysiology and entrepreneurship. She presented her work at several international conferences, such as Entrepreneurship, Culture, Finance and Economic Development (ECFED), Health of Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship and Mental Health Workshop, Entrepreneurship Future (EF) Conference, and Interdisciplinary European Conference on Entrepreneurship Research (IECER). Her work is published in Small Business Economics and Sustainability. Currently, Indy is on the job market outside academia.
‘What makes an entrepreneur?’ is a fundamental question for economics, management, and psychology researchers. The present thesis addresses the definition of ‘the entrepreneur’ by investigating the roles of psychological (Part I: Chapters 2, 3, and 4) and biological (Part II: Chapters 5 and 6) traits in entrepreneurship. This interdisciplinary setting is a result of the limitations of the traditional ‘homo economicus’ perspective, where rational individuals are utility maximizing decision makers.
The present thesis contributes to the field of entrepreneurship by focusing on the psychology of the entrepreneur, using concepts like overconfidence, optimism, positive affect, and negative affect, as well as the biology of the entrepreneur, using concepts like behavior and electrophysiology. It also contributes to the field of psychology by examining why some psychological concepts are problematic in one person (patient) but beneficial in another (entrepreneur) as well as to the field of biology, especially electrophysiology, with null findings despite of analyzing large samples and while small samples report significant findings.
Of course, psychology and biology could play a role in many occupations. Thus, with the present thesis, entrepreneurship is not underlined, rather it is used as a proof of concept. Future research should not just further develop the understanding of the role of psychology and biology in entrepreneurship, but also investigate other manifestations of economic behavior and outcomes.
Photos: Chris Gorzeman / Capital Images