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New laboratory officially opens for business research

By Dale Johnson Posted: September 24, 2016 11:00 a.m.

On hand for the official opening of the lab were (l-r) Dr. Sandeep Mishra, Dr. Andrew Gaudes, Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration – wearing a mobile eye-tracking system – and Dr. Lisa Watson.
On hand for the official opening of the lab were (l-r) Dr. Sandeep Mishra, Dr. Andrew Gaudes, Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration – wearing a mobile eye-tracking system – and Dr. Lisa Watson. Photo: U of R Photography

A new research facility has opened at the University of Regina that will allow business researchers to find out more about consumer attitudes, behaviours and emotions. The lab will be used to run complex experiments, advanced computer simulations, focus groups, and physiological testing. There are two types of eye-tracking equipment, sweat-testing sensors, respiration and heart-rate monitors, and full security camera coverage. It was designed to be the most versatile research space at U of R.

The Laboratory for Behavioural Business Research officially opened on Sept. 23, 2016, and the equipment in the lab means researchers will be able to get more detailed and accurate findings.

“My first study in the new lab will measure people’s physical responses to advertisements they’re looking at. We’ll see where they’re looking, and when, and how much they respond,” explains Dr. Lisa Watson, a professor in the Faculty of Business Administration, who worked for the establishment of the lab.

“It’s one thing to ask people afterwards what they thought of an ad, but it’s very different to see their actual, first physical response when they saw the ad,” she says.

The state-of-the-art lab means researchers can study ways to reduce risky consumer behaviours such as problem gambling; improve workplace team dynamics; reduce dishonest behaviour towards business such as shoplifting; reverse irrational consumer choices that have negative personal impacts like massive consumer debt and obesity; and increase sustainable consumption choices to better serve the public good.

“It allows us to do the kinds of studies that we want to be able to do. We won’t be as limited in the types of research we can do,” she says.

For students, she says, the lab means they will gain a better understanding of research projects – either as researchers or participants.

The laboratory was made possible by contributions totalling $417,718 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation John Evans Leaders Fund (CFI-JELF), the Province of Saskatchewan through the Innovation and Science Fund, the Faculty of Business Administration, and participating vendors.

“We’ve already had some members of the business community come and check out the lab, so there may be the potential for collaboration with local businesses,” Watson says.

If there’s a time when the lab is not being used by researchers in the Faculty of Business Administration, Watson says the lab may be available for other researchers at the U of R.