One of my favorite books about the brain and how we take in information is by cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham. The book has a memorable title: Why Don't Students Like School. (In April, I blogged about the book before reading it and linked to a review in the Wall Street Journal.)
What does learning, the focus of the book, have to do with conflict resolution? The two are inextricably bound together. As I said in a post about a year and one-half ago:
Today I see a interview of Willingham about Why Don't Students Like School in USA Today. It holds a couple of tips that can be helpful to us here. First, for those still thinking we need to communicate, teach, and persuade by using the visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles:
A: The idea is that people have different ways of learning the same material, or learning styles. A visual learner understands and remembers better by seeing, an auditory learner by hearing, and a kinesthetic learner by touching and manipulating. This idea has been tested repeatedly in the last 50 years and it doesn't work. People differ in their abilities and in their interests, but there is no evidence for differences in learning styles.
Second, here's advice on one excellent way to get information understood: Use stories! We already knew that (some posts at idealawg) but here's a reaffirmation by Willingham:
A bonus of storytelling: Stories hook our curiosity and thus have the potential to calm us down. Click to read about the relationship between curiosity and anxiety. (That's one of the reasons I include curiosity as the "C" in my CARVE Disputes Model™.)
Have you told a story today?