Natura and Fapesp inaugurate an Applied Research Center devoted to Well-Being and Human Behavior
The Applied Research Center devoted to Well-Being and Human Behavior that has been recently inaugurated in the city of São Paulo is already in operation. Resulting from a partnership between Natura and FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation), the initiative intends to invest BRL$ 40 million in ten years on research in the fields of neurosciences, positive psychology, social psychology, neuroimaging, neuropsychophysiology, psychometry, population and longitudinal studies.
Located in the Psychology Institute at USP (University of the State of São Paulo), the center is formed by a network of researchers in the fields of psychology and neurosciences from USP, Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo) and UPM (Mackenzie Presbyterian University). Around 30 researchers are going to be connected in networks that will develop cooperative scientific and technologic research projects articulating research institutions from Brazil and abroad, as well as Natura.
This is the first initiative in the field of Humanities that is going to be carried out based on shared investments from a private company and a public agency for research support. The total programed investment of BRL$ 20 million will be equally divided between Natura and FAPESP. The other BRL$ 20 million is going to be granted by the universities in the form of institutional and administrative support to the participating researchers, in the form of salaries and infrastructure.
The Center is coordinated by Emma Otta, professor of the Department of Experimental Psychology of USP and Patrícia Tobo, Natura’s scientific Well-Being Sciences manager and focuses on two main areas. The first is positive psychology, which aims at studying and further developing human qualities and aspects of a healthy life, like wisdom, creativity, courage, citizenship and understands that promoting well-being doesn’t mean reducing ill-being. The second area is cognitive neuroscience, which studies attention, memory and language, besides emotional balance and its influence on social relationships, approaching issues like race, gender, social conditions, among others.
Initially, researchers are going to develop 11 projects focused on the development of well-being indicators. They are going to conduct studies on recognition and regulation of emotions, as well as on the influences of the family and society in human relations. Topics connected to the cosmetic industry, like the way in which fragrances and makeup can change the mood and self-esteem of people, are also going to be studied.
According to Gerson Pinto, Natura’s innovation vice-president, the Center will promote a deep understanding of the well-being topic, which is the reason for being of the company. “The Center will add an even deeper dimension to this knowledge at the same time that it will broaden our understanding of the Brazilian population.”
One of the coordinators of the Center, Emma Otta, points out the importance of investing in a multidisciplinary field of knowledge, which can bring new perspectives to the development of well-being in society. To amplify its impact, the Center counts on departments dedicated to technologies that help transferring the knowledge obtained by the researches and their incorporation to education initiatives, as well as their absorption by society.