As a conference attendee of the largest conferences in the field of Learning & Development, the ATD (Association for Talent and Development), I am curious about the latest insights, like everybody else, of course.
One of the themes that has received much attention in recent years during this American conference is Brain Learning. What does the brain say that we can use to let people learn better? Fancy names as ‘neuro-leadership’ attract our trainers because this field has the promise that the brain will reveal the secrets of learning and good leadership to us.
I was also pleased to learn more about brain learning, especially because I had seen science journalist Mark Mieras. His lecture at our eldest son's school was about how we as parents can best stimulate the brains of our adolescents. Neurological science has made great progress in the area of basic brain development in recent decades. Much that is very useful has been discovered about the relationship between brain functions and neurological disorders. So I'm looking forward to it!
In addition, a very interesting book has been on my bedside table for three weeks, ‘The DSM 5 Past’ by psychiatrist Jim van Os. This opened my eyes to the ‘brainification’ of our society and gave me a stimulating food for thought, which I love.
According to Os, the fascination for the brain in relation to behavior is based on three statements: Vendl Farbe Brain
The wow factor: Through the technological aspect of brain research, it seems that we are trying to explain behavior more technologically, more deeply and thus ‘objectively’. This is to be found in its extreme form at the psychological faculty in the Netherlands, where brain-gazing has assumed a kind of cult status.
Fascination with ourselves: Our unsatisfied hunger to get a better understanding of our soul concerns. We want to predict and explain why we are as we are and are biologized by our own behavior. However, we do this in a modern way, more like 3.0. Freud's Id has been replaced by The Brain.
The status of neuroscientists in America is many times higher than those of 'speech psychologists'. Biological psychology has sought to demonstrate DSM-specific genetic (brain) abnormalities over the past 50 years; easy to publish and always guarantees a lot of media attention.
But what is the actual situation in biological psychiatry? Jim van Os needs to answer us unfortunately. The (more than 10,000!) research reports have been compiled differently and cannot be compared properly.
Human behavior, however difficult, is not really predictable. Because of our longing to control it, we can tend towards a kind of tunnel vision. The brain is elevated to the all-declaring object, which we currently honor and worship, while in fact, brain psychiatry research misses something. One of the things is that we work with very different groups. People living in dire conditions and perhaps with schizophrenia are compared to the ‘über-normals’. Then they look at their brains and say, ‘Look, we have found a difference! People with schizophrenia have a brain disorder.’ But is this because the brains of these ill people were already different, or have they become so (through medication, neglect, and poor nutrition)? For years, people have closed their eyes to this last possibility.
Not all abnormal behavior has to be reduced to brain disorders. The experience that someone has and the effect that this has on his brain is underexposed. Van Os decides, ‘The truth is that we do not (yet) understand the relationship between brain and mind.’
And so I've become more curious about what people like David Rock are going to say this year ...
Psychological help earns little