When a person affirms his or her deepest values, the process of conflict resolution can be easier, and often quicker. In fact, most other activities can be facilitated by affirming your values (what is called self-affirmation), whether it be running, or recharging, or writing.
However, for many of us, our habits can get in the way. We all have seen clients, friends, colleagues, and, yes, ourselves repeatedly or automatically default to a conflict mode. And, at the extreme, are behaviors such as addiction to indignation, a state that makes the resolution of a dispute very difficult. As we have discussed here before and as I talk about in my programs, those habitual behaviors, even the most extreme, can be changed and self-affirmation plays an essential role in that change.
Jeffrey says that when you practice mindfulness, you become aware of all the nonsense going on in your mind. You can then use this observation to make judgments about what you will allow to play out in your life.
“The brain is passive, the mind is active. The mind is the choices and decisions you make. You have to use the brain and the mind as a team. The brain puts out the call, the mind decides whether to listen.”
Journalists know that when they hear something from one source, they should corroborate it with independent sources before reporting it. The science of memory has taught us that our own memories are also unreliable sources, just as needy of corroboration.
Are so many mediators citing neuroscience these days because it is cool? Hot? Fashionable? I don't know. That the science being cited is often either inaccurate or not helpful to conflict resolution is sometimes a tad disturbing.
Although the book being reviewed is not about conflict resolution, a couple of the paragraphs are relevant to the proliferation of neuroscience in the dispute field . . .
This is where the book truly disappoints. Rather than simply giving us straight talk about how disorganized our thoughts and lives are (but we knew that) and how we can do better (tell us, please!), Levitin insists on informing us repeatedly and in detail about how various regions or pathways in the brain are “involved in” the various cognitive and behavioral phenomena he surveys. He really means that increased neural activity in these areas of the brain is correlated with certain behavioral and cognitive phenomena, which actually means only that such activity tends to occur at about the same time as the behavioral and cognitive phenomena. That is not saying much, which is why Levitin keeps implying more with that vague phrase, “involved in.”
University of Pennsylvania law professor Stephen Morse has dubbed this practice the “brain overclaim syndrome”—the pathological tendency to fool people into thinking you have a profound understanding of something by pointing to brain studies. It goes without saying that any distinctive thing we do—raising an arm, thinking of sheep or shouting, “Hooray!”—must be accompanied by some corresponding neural activity, but that does not explain the activity.
(Click to read the rest of the review.) How much is neuroscience being used today as a trendy camouflage of basic psychology or wisdom or common sense? What does brain science add to any of those three? Typically nothing or not much, in my opinion. What do you think? What has neuroscience brought us that has changed the practice of mediation?
Over the years, I have learned that people reading this blog come from a wide range of belief systems, including atheist, agnostic, and those involved to large or small degree in various spiritual and religious practices. Although this blog post to which I am linking today is written by a Christian and part of the post is from a Christian perspective, I think anyone can learn from what Dr. William Struthers calls the Seven Dangerous Neuro-Temptations (The Table, blog of Biola University). Click to see how he defines neuro-essentialism, neuro-manipulation, neuro-divination, neuro-absolution, neuro-narcissism, neuro-normalcy, and neuro-privilege.
Does resolving conflict require learning? Typically, yes, of course. If no one in the dispute learns anything new, the conflict will probably remain unresolved. That's one of the reasons learning is often mentioned here at BonP.
In May, I attended the 26th annual convention of the Association of Psychological Science; some of the presentations I chose among the multitude offered included learning as a focus. One of my favorite programs, and certainly the most entertaining, was one copresented by APS past-president Henry Roediger who is the author of a new book on learning titled Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. This week I have been reading the book for the first time. I say "first time" because I know I will be reading it again: it contains so much of value about teaching and learning. The book is one I will continue to recommend often.
When researchers discovered neurons in monkey brains that fired when an action was performed or observed, they were dubbed “mirror neurons.” And they quickly became the go-to explanation for empathy. Decades later, says Sharon Begley, the evidence that human beings have them is sketchy at best.
Mirror neurons were indeed a paradigm-changing discovery. From the observation that some premotor neurons fire when action is observed rather than performed, however, it is quite a leap to empathy, autism, and the rest. It’s natural to root for the human brain to have as many cool components as possible, and enticing to think that one of them offers a simple and elegant answer to the question of what make us human. But even if it turns out that we don’t have these nifty mirror neurons, it doesn’t make us any less empathetic. We just lack a simple neurological explanation for it.
Respected brain researcher Amishi Jha brings a fascinating exploration of findings from cutting-edge neuroscience on the profound and positive effects of mindfulness practices on the brain, psychological health, wellness, and resilience. These practices are finding broad application in corporate, medical, educational, and military settings.
Amishi Jha, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the University of Miami, is an award-winning and widely published researcher and director of contemplative neuroscience for the Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative. (www.amishi.com)
Enjoy her presentation. In addition to being a noted researcher, she is an excellent speaker.
Both photos were taken by me at the Naropa event. The second one includes Jane Carpenter who co-presented with Dr. Jha on the second day.
Brains on Purpose: Traits and States to Shape Your Conflict Fate
Our brains are changing all the time. We can be in control of those changes or we can have accidental brains, ruled by habit. Stephanie will show you how you can break bad habits, set and reach goals, and maximize your ability to handle conflict through the process of self-directed neuroplasticity. By using some basic techniques, you can take charge of how your brain changes. You can rewire your brain on purpose.
Click to listen (the link is towards the bottom of the page).
Conflict Resolution, Neuroscience & Zombies with Stephanie West Allen (Idealawg)
In this 31st episode of the Conflict Specialists Show, Dave Hilton interviews Stephanie West Allen (Idealawg & Brains on Purpose) about her work with Conflict Resolution, Neuroscience, Mediation, Monsters and…wait for it…ZOMBIES!
Some of the topics in today’s episode:
Writing Multiple Blogs
BOOK – Triversity Fantasy: Seven Keys To Unlock Prejudice
Your tone of voice can affect your client's ability to hear you, especially in times of stress. In order to have a tone of voice that allows us to be heard, we need to monitor our own level of tension, our own level of defensiveness, our own level of feeling safe. Ongoing monitoring requires mindfulness.
And a truly calming tone of voice is very different from a maneuver, move, or ploy to manipulate a client.
The tone of voice that facilitates good communication does not result from a technique: it flows from the speaker's state. It comes from an inner feeling of safety and conveys that safety to others. Porges's Polyvagal Theory provides the neuroscience and physiology behind the effect of voice tone.
If you want to interact effectively with clients, I highly recommend that you take some time to listen to Porges talking about his theory here or here (slides for the CCARE talk). (Other talks are here.) I have found that listening at those links was easier to understand than reading his book or articles about his work, with the exception of this written interview and this one which are easy to understand.
Once again I am featuring wise practitioners, Shanker and Porges today, who do not talk about stuffing your bag of tricks fuller or