One of the gifts of online life is Google Alerts. Today this article about pseudoscience arrived in my inbox, and it reminded me once again about the high level of discernment needed today by anyone who plans to use neuroscience in their work or personal life.
Just because a speaker, writer or trainer incorporates neuroscience in what he or she presents doesn't guarantee accuracy about the science or, even if accurate, that the science can be applied in the way being asserted.
In an article from Akron Beacon Journal Online about the field of education, we learn of some pseudoscience which can remind us to sharpen our filters for the brain science being put forth to and by people in conflict management. From "Teachers learn ways to keep students’ attention, but are brain claims valid?":
[T]he techniques [described in the article] are not validated by contemporary brain research, according to two experts in the relationship between neuroscience and education who reviewed the claims for the Akron Beacon Journal.
“Nothing I see here indicates that there is any neuroscientific backing for anything they’re suggesting,” said Dan Willingham, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Virginia.
The Beacon Journal also asked David Daniel, managing editor of the peer-reviewed science journal Mind, Brain and Education to examine the research page at www.wholebrainteaching.com.
“I think he has these ideas that may or may not work, and he’s using brain stuff to market them,” said Daniel, a psychology professor at James Madison University. “The brain stuff on the web page is very cursory, very shallow. That could be just his way of communicating or it could be his level of understanding. Either way, it’s misleading.”
Willingham has a book coming out this month to help educators evaluate claims made about science and teaching. I look forward to the book because I am guessing it will be helpful to mediators, too. Given the silliness we sometimes see about how the brain science supposedly applies to conflict resolution, how are you keeping your neuroscience filter sharp?