Study Shows Entrepreneurs Really Do Love Their Businesses Like Their Children
Brain scans reveal it's not just a figure of a speech.
When talking about your business, it’s likely that at some point you’ve referred to it as your baby. But do you really love your business as if it were your own child? Researchers from Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, decided to put this question to the test in a recent study.
When examining the brain activity of the study participants, the scientists found that “entrepreneurial love is strikingly similar to paternal love,” and that the parts of the brain that come alive when processing emotions, rewards and social understanding occurred with both.
The researchers scanned the brains of 42 men divided into two groups. Twenty-one participants were fathers ranging in age from 27 to 43 and 21 were entrepreneurs ranging in age from 24 to 45.
The entrepreneurs were the founders of growth-oriented companies, were not serial entrepreneurs, and not parents, while the dads had no entrepreneurial backgrounds. The average age of the businesses was 4.5 years old and the average age of the dads' first kids was 5.6 years old.
The researchers took brain scans of the men as they were shown images of their company and other businesses, and their kids and other people’s children, respectively. They were also asked questions about the emotions the photos garnered and the intensity of feelings such as love, fear, pride, joy, satisfaction, passion, disappointment and sadness.
Entrepreneurs also scored slightly higher than the dads in the amount of love they felt for their companies compared to the feelings for the children. Additionally, entrepreneurs rated their relationship with their companies a bit more interconnected than the dads' relationships with their children. However, the researchers pointed out that the difference between the groups wasn’t statistically significant.
And that cliche that everybody thinks their kid is a genius? Turns out, it’s pretty true. “Both entrepreneurs and fathers were slightly overconfident about the chances of success of their company/child,” the researchers explained. “Entrepreneurs rated their company and fathers rated their child significantly better than average on the chances of success.”
Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.