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this week's Marketing
Are You Spreading Junk Science?
In the June issue of Mindful, two neuroscientists and the
magazine's editor lament the many scientifically baseless or
discredited concepts that show up again and again in today's
self-help blogs, books and talks. These notions include:
* Right brain vs. left brain. It's a myth that the former
is in charge of creativity and the latter the seat of
rationality. Both sides of the brain actually work closely
together on all complex tasks.
* Our "lizard brain." Dividing the brain anatomically and
functionally into three primitive. middling and higher-
level sections is "a 1960s-era story not widely accepted in
neuroscience today," says professor Amishi Jha of the
University of Miami.
* The brain's amygdala as our often misbehaving emotional
center and the prefrontal cortex as keeping it in line with
so-called "executive function." That's another simplistic
fairy tale, according to researcher Cliff Saron of the
University of California, Davis - a story line that nicely
suits an individualistic society needing productive workers,
* "We use just 10% of our brain capacity." No scientist has
ever espoused this, according to Jha.
Convenient, neat stories are not necessarily science was my
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