I have a pervasive & lingering concern over the way that organisations (particularly the HR, Organisation Development, Learning & Development functions) are running headlong towards this thing that we call Neuroscience.
A critical eye, informed judgement, sound ethics and good practice are important to me as a professional. I am not a neuroscientist and don't ever intend to become one (!) but I read various articles and books to understand what is (apparently) coming out of neuroscience. I regularly talk to & work with a neuroscientist to understand what they are seeing in their world and what could be applied into organisational life. Yet, the more I read, hear & see, the more I realise that...
1. It is incredibly hard for a "layman" to become well informed about the breadth & depth of this thing we call neuroscience.
2. There is a lot being published & promoted by laymen (non-neuroscientists) that makes me question the veracity and substance of what is promoted.
3. There are conflicting views & discourses on what "neuroscience tells us" within the neuroscientist communities themselves (see article link below). These I'm sure will progress good understanding over time.
4. There are belief systems at play that influence the positioning and popularity of research and apparent insights from neuroscience. Sometimes this is clearly biased towards financial gain rather than sharing insight.
For any professional in the HR, OD or L&D space looking into how they can apply neuroscience, there's a need to be well informed whilst maintaining a usefully critical & ethical perspective.
My biggest concern is that in this headlong race towards the bright & shiny thing we call neuroscience, apparent professionals in organisations may not be maintaining such focus...
What do you think?
By the way...
Did you like the title of this piece "4 things you need to know about Neuroscience"? Lists are eye-catching & addictive aren't they? That's why both the good & bad headline-grabbing, apparent neuroscience we might see on the web or on bookshelves is often attractive, if not addictive. I think we need to be much more aware of these dynamics if we're to be well informed whilst maintaining a usefully critical & ethical perspective.
Last week I published a WIRED blog post with a brief overview of the 10% brain myth: http://t.co/X3GXa02ILE Last night I received this 1,200 email from a neuroscience student at Yale, defending the myth, and telling me why I should be ashamed (her use of underlining and bold has been lost in the copy and paste). I'd be interested to hear what other people think: