Ralston Studies Effect of Good and Bad Leaders on Individuals’ Brain Waves

December 15, 2015

Miranda Ralston at her Leadership PsyD Residency.

Miranda Ralston is a 4th year doctoral candidate in Leadership Psychology who lives in Titusville, Pennsylvania and commutes twice a year to the William James College campus in Newton, MA. Starting in January, 2016, Miranda will be conducting a study of the neurological effects leaders have on followers with the use of a special helmet-like device that measures neurological responses of the brain. ““The brain responds differently to resonant and dissident leaders, and this kind of phenomena is severely under-researched,” says Miranda. “Our expectations for results in this study are both broad and potentially groundbreaking, but will also be our platform for continuing to expand the research.” Neuronetrix, a company in Louisville, Kentucky, has awarded William James and Miranda, as principal investigator, $33,000 worth of highly specialized equipment and materials necessary for her work that will comprise her doctoral project. Miranda’s initial interest and motivation came from an extremely inept supervisor she had years ago when she worked at a preschool. Knowing personally how destructive harsh, condescending leaders can be, (the person was eventually fired) Miranda looks forward to showing leaders in corporations and nonprofits the influence of their leadership style on their employees. “Showing them the results of brain wave activity so they can have feedback on how people are reacting to them will enable them to see themselves and, hopefully, change,” she explains. “I want everyone to have positive work experiences. Relationships matter, and I care about how people build relationships with others. Leaders need to know how they affect others and how they align their values and goals with those who need to follow them. It’s fascinating.”