Neuroscience and Conflict Resolution Blog by Stephanie West Allen
As neuro-foolishness and psych-silliness continue to seep into both mainstream media and mediation presentations, resources to help us be discerning users of neuroscience and psychology are needed more and more. In the past, I have recommended some resources to increase discernment when reading press releases or encountering news from the mass media or even reading research papers. For example, I urge people to read Psychology’s Ghosts: The Crisis in the Profession and the Way Back and The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts.
Recently I saw a Tweet swim by on my stream recommending some research and thought that the studies did not sound very credible and certainly not of much help outside of the environment in which the research was conducted. I asked one of my colleagues, a cognitive psychologist, about the research and he too was skeptical, mentioning demand characteristics as one reason for his skepticism.
For those of us citing or applying research in our work and presentations, a knowledge of that phenomenon and other possible effects of the researcher’s expectations is wise, probably essential. To increase that knowledge, here are two quick overviews: “Interpersonal Expectancy Effects: A 30-Year Perspective” (Current Directions of the American Psychological Society) and the Wikipedia page on demand characteristics. Enjoy learning or reviewing.
The more we know, the more quickly we can cull out, blog about, Tweet, and use in practice only that which is likely to be useful to facilitating the resolution of conflict, understanding behavior, and serving clients.
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