June 25, 2009

Our brain, our culture

I googled (is this an official verb yet?) "self-directed neuroplasticity" today and ended up downloading a fascinating, enjoyable and easy to digest podcast interview on an Australian national radio podcast with a couple of leaders in the field: Jeff Schwartz and Norman Doidge.

Somewhere in the second half of the interview Norman Doidge talks about the applications of neuro-plasticity to the experience of changing into a new culture. While in the past, we tended to believe that our brain produced our culture (think of Geerte Hofstede's landmark book "Software of the Mind"-- a basic read for any course on intercultural communications), the new (non-mechanistic) paradigm allows for our culture to also reshape our brains (including our language, see my previous post below) in such a way that our perceptual systems are actually wired differently during our developmental years.

In this way, culture shock is really brain shock!

Anyway, if you are curious to understand more about how you work and how change works, download this into your ipod.


Over and over both scientists confirmed one of the basic premise of coaching methodology (although neither made any specific reference to coaching). By focusing our attention differently, we can actually change how our brain works, which in time can change how we see and interact with the world. The new framework is that our mind is not our brain (something those who practice meditation have known for centuries).

So we enact change in ourselves by increasing self-awareness around what we think (our mind), focusing our attention and then working with this attention over a sustained period of time -- and that is what coaching is about.

All very cool stuff.

a domani,


Fern Driscoll said...

Behavioral psychologists and Buddhists are proponents also of neuro-plasticity - we CAN learn to think differently (and sometimes even should). Thanks for this link, too. Really interesting stuff.

Business Communications Training said...

So if we are constantly moving, then our brains are more adaptable to re-entry and shock experiences with culture.