Still Taking Baby Steps

Several opinion pieces in late 2012 – most notably in the New York Times newspaper and in the weekly magazine The New Yorker – have voiced warnings about mis-using neuroscience. They claim that some of the findings are misrepresented and that there are too many dabblers in the field taking information and twisting it into inaccurate conclusions.We take a look at this in the context of being able to use neuroscience in the workplace most effectively, where it is still really in its infancy.

Conflicts in the World of Neuroscience

Recently we talked about some of the neuro-myths that are perpetrated and which we warned leadership against using in the workplace.Most people simply do not have the scientific background to be able to interpret neuroscientific data and draw their own conclusions. So we are reliant upon commentary from those who do – and we generally demand it in a language that we can understand.The trouble is there are not too many people who can work on both sides of that bridge – so conflicts and misunderstandings start to arise.

This has led to concerns that much of the actual science has been dumbed down; because so many of us are interested to know how the brain works – how our brain works – and we want it in a format that we don’t need a PhD to follow.This has led to magazine articles in Newsweek and books from the likes of Naomi Wolf and Chris Mooney that have sold well, but have been roundly criticised by the neuroscience community for being overly-simplified -calling it “pop neuroscience.”Simplistic explanations and attention-grabbing headlines have some of the neuroscientists squirming by their scanners when they read articles and reports on how their findings are being presented. They see their first love being sensationalised and are understandably protective over their field, having ploughed so much time into it over the years.What we are seeing is neuroscience hitting the mainstream conscience – and the conflicts are a natural consequence of when a very complicated and rapidly evolving science becomes latched on to by the sectors of the public that want to either popularise it, or use it for commercial gain.


Still Taking Baby Steps
Scroll to top