So the pieces that I recently posted about (here & here) dealing broadly with things neurological has me a bit sensitive to articles on that topic. I've added Stephanie West Allen's "Brains on Purpose" blog to my Netvibes - the subtitle of the blog is "Neuroscience and Conflict Resolution." That blog led me to Ed Batista's blog, Executive Coaching and Change Management. In particular, I landed on one post entitled "Neuroscience, Coaching, Leadership and Learning," - this is a great post and as I read through it, I had the sinking/exciting feeling of going through another door into another realm of experts and expertise, of which I was unfamiliar with both the length and breadth of current research (this post reads in part like a grad school lounge with all the name-dropping - this isn't a bad thing - in fact it gives a lot of great places to start). Now I'll fist fight anybody who says that they are more ignorant of this field than I but there is a great quote in this post that Stephanie Allen points to as well that argues to me some piece of truth:
"As noted above, I'm mindful of the limits of neuroscience, and I'd hate to see the genetic determinism of recent years replaced by a "neuro-determinism" that simply substituted brain scans for gene maps. But we're clearly at a point where humanistic professionals--executive coaches, OD consultants, experiential educators--need to incorporate neuroscience into their practices."
Also in the course of this post, Batista, citing Tom Wolfe's ideas, argues that contrary to neuro/genetic deterministic viewpoints that;
"We have "natural," genetically-defined tendencies that support or undermine our ability to lead and to be effective interpersonally, but those natural abilities don't define our actions in those spheres. We can learn, we can adapt and we can improve. Some leaders may be born with a genetic head start, but all truly effective leaders are made, not born."
OK...so I'm on board with that but then comes this article in The Escapist, "This is your brain on smart drugs." So now I'm thinking, wow, that really puts a Flowers for Algernon or Terminal Man spin on the whole "made not born" issue doesn't it? Can you imagine designing a course one that has a drug prescription as one of the design elements? What if the "D" Divide ends up not standing for digital but for drugs? I don't know the answers to the above questions (if you were planning on emailing me for them), what I am convinced of though is that the neurological underpinnings of how we learn, remember and change behavior should be more prominent topics in our discussions as an industry.