We came across a research paper this week on brain science that we absolutely loved – for its brazenness, its honesty, its clarity and its really solid advice in an overwhelming world of ‘neuro-marketing’ noise.

We wanted to share it with you.

Here’s why. 

There’s literally thousands of concepts and models and terms being claimed as the holy grail of human development. How do we know what’s real, what’s a myth, what’s marketing hype, what’s a good idea but not yet to proven, and what’s even scientifically possible?

How can you distinguish the good science, from the bad in a world with an avalanche of information at your fingertips? For example:

When you google ‘brain-based coaching’ you get 4.1 million results in 49 seconds.

When you google ‘mindfulness’ you get 26.4 million results in 59 seconds.

(Screaming face)

The Research 

It’s not surprising then, that two serious experts in the field of brain-based learning and neuroscience – Kenneth Nowack and Dan Radecki – became really concerned that people were at risk of investing their development and beliefs, perhaps even their health – and that of their employees – in methods and methodology that, in some cases are at the leading edge of advanced scientific discovery, but in others may err more on the side of fantasy than fact (or at least some pretty convincing evidence).

So they wrote this paper to provide evidence-based research and practical implications for people who are working in fields like HR, leadership, coaching and consulting, to help them get it right.

They talk about the growing popularity of neuroscience within consulting psychology as “a blend of myth, hype, and grounded empirical research.”

They cite recent advances, challenges and discoveries around the neuroscience of coaching and consulting, and look at them through a range of perspectives like goal setting, interpersonal trust and resilience.

They raise the idea that it’s increasingly popular to capture attention “under a neuro-marketing banner without empirically based research to back up such claims.”

One thing we found remarkable was evidence that suggests that even if expert practitioners can pick the solid neuroscience explanations from those that lack credibility, non-experts will find it much more difficult.

And further, information that was seen as ‘more satisfying’ by non-experts was seen as more ‘credible’ and more compelling – even when it contained logically irrelevant neuroscience information – than information from prestigious ‘hard science’.

It’s a fairly dense read, but well worth it if you like to get behind the science – as we do at mwah. For all the unquantifiable theories, the ones that stood out to us as tested and true are simple:

Use it and improve it; and, use it or lose it!

We hope you enjoy the read, and we’d love to know your thoughts:

http://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2018-09962-001.pdf

Article Written by Rosie Cartwright