The book is both a summation of 35 years neuroscience research as well as a tantalising glimpse into how such research, as it becomes more broadly known, will have a profound impact across a huge range of disciplines and into society and our working lives. To say we are at the cusp of some fundamental societal changes is, I feel, a bit of an understatement.
Fundamentally people behave in a social and rather compassionate and "good" way rather than aggressively, even without specified rules. That is the result of a study from the Institute for Science of Complex Systems at the MedUni Vienna under the leadership of Stefan Thurner and Michael Szell. They analysed the behaviour of more than 400,000 participants of the “Virtual Life” game “Pardus” on the Internet. The findings are that only two percent of all actions are aggressive, even though the game would make it easy for war-like attacks with spaceships, for example.
An EC Field StudyWhat do Steve Jobs, Ray Dalio, Bill George, Marc Beinoff and Phil Jackson have in common? They are visionaries, have been known to lead and inspire teams, and have achieved significant success in their professional lives.
So how do neurons communicate with each other and why is this important in terms of how well we work? Imagine a couple of islands separated by some water. Each island has its own stranded inhabitant who communicates with the other islander by placing messenger bottles in the water and then waits for them to wash up on his neighbours’ shores. In a similar way the neurons ‘talk’ to each other by sending little packets of chemical ‘bottles’ across tiny gaps that separate them from their neighbours. The area right behind the forehead is extremely sensitive to two main messenger bottles. Too few or too many of certain types of bottles basically causes this area to close down. The relationship between these chemical bottles and its performance is so connected that you can see the effect in a simple diagram.
Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital find that participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress.
We all know that meetings can be a challenge in so many different ways from trying to get a project idea approved, to simply surviving the boredom but they can also be an opportunity to apply some techniques of mindfulness and kindness.
Hospitals are a business that are going to have to compete on patient experience, as much as safety and quality. The Cleveland Clinic's third annual Patient Experience Summit answer how and why that is happening.
..It was all part of a theme conveyed by many at yesterday's gathering, the third annual Patient Experience Summit, which focused on empathy and innovation in patient care...
"Entering a patient's room with a positive attitude, a caregiver can choose to be present with patients, and connect with them," Lyons said. "Patients are people: interesting, complicated, wonderful people.
The core of Davidson’s book crystallises research how we ourselves uniquely react and respond to ‘life’s slings and arrows’. Individual response is unique mix across six dimensions — Resilience, Outlook, Social Intuition, Self Awareness, Sensitivity to Context, and Attention. We have a mix of these styles which means we could be highly resilient (resilience) but not very good at reading social cues (Social Intuition). The key difference between these defined domains and some kind of self help manual is that they are related to underlying identifiable brain systems and can be altered through mental and environmental changes.
Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts as a hormone. Often considered a major player in the regulation of trust and morality, its study is revealing fascinating information about human behavior and relationships. Oxytocin is released in the body when we feel safe and connected and tells the brain, “Everything is all right.” Dr. Paul Zak has determined that the human brain naturally produces oxytocin during breast-feeding, orgasm, hugs, snuggling, holding hands, partner dance, massage, bodywork, and prayer
We are, simply speaking, hard wired to connect. Mirror neurons respond, perhaps surprisingly, based on the goal or perceived intention of the person performing the action - random actions by others don’t seem to cause them to fire. This means we unconsciously copy or imitate the emotional states of others with a sense of their intentions, this is what provides us with social cues as to how to respond. We have a felt sense of where someone’s at and therefore can respond accordingly. This unconscious or implicit imitation also occurs more strongly when we are with people we like or for people we perceive to be powerful. A leader will capture our attention so their emotions will be particularly contagious. However, its impact is also more subtle, for instance college student subjects who watched a video about old people were unaware that they walk more slowly to the exit at the end of a study. This implicit or unconscious imitation has profound implications for team dynamics. It is the basis for emotional contagions – how we inherit people’s moods in a team meeting or why a workplace has a particular mood tone. It’s also why stress can become such an infectious corrosive atmosphere or how an empathic nurturing environment can spread, both with their subsequent impact on team dynamics.
Hendriks and her collaborator Michelle M. Wirth measured self compassion, negative affect, and cortisol in study participants who were asked to deliver a persuasive speech to a panel of trained judges. They found that participants who displayed high self-compassion experienced less negative affect than those who displayed low self-compassion.
The researchers also found no correlation between cortisol levels and self-compassion. In other words, high self-compassion had no negative impact on the amount of energy that participants were able to devote to the stressful task at hand.