Applying New Knowledge: “Crackpot” Ideas and Cross-Discipline Work, Esp Integrating Brain Science


It seems our specialist, expert and academic brains mainly identify crackpot ideas based on the language behaviors in communications.  Language that does not adhere to the most common usage patterns of the professionals in a field is labeled, instinctively, “crackpot” and probably are.  However,….….by definition, cross discipline language usage and application of specialized knowledge outside of common professional usage will usually fall into the crackpot category – and may, indeed, be unproductive.  How would we know?

This is a special problem for professional and executive level problem-solvers and in applying the brand new science of brain science.

Brain science is the medical, physiological and biological knowledge about what causes behavior.  Any professional disciple and area of study must, by definition, have first order causes in brain processes, biology and physiology.  However, also by definition, applying brain science to the numerous fields focused on human and animal behavior would be “crackpot.”  That may be true, but not as a default stylistic determination but an empirical question.

Adding to the problem is brain science being a brand new field of human knowledge and the facts, evidence, models and theories being brand new untested and most likely wrong.  “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”

The same problem exists for senior leaders in problem-solving professions who are searching for new facts, data and evidence to support their work.  Reaching outside of the popular accepted wisdom of business, economics, medicine, law, accounting, engineering and policy moves into “crackpot” territory.  But, where are new ideas and knowledge supposed to come from?

Perhaps, there is an intermediary process, where new knowledge is filtered and trial-and-errored for many years and THEN, as youth comes along adopted with a “paradigm shift.”  But, who has the time to wait for that!?

It could be argued that this is the problem with behavioral and neuro economics and neuromarketing.  The attempt to bring economics, and the humanities and social sciences, and marketing ideas into the hard and disciplined world of biology, medical physiology, animal ethology, brain science, genetics, organic chemistry and, to some degree physics ends up in “crackpot” territory, most of the time.

More to come….


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