Don’t let the Nut Run the Conflict Resolution

From Stephanie West Allen’s blog on Neuroscience and conflict resolution .

In an earlier post, I mentioned a fear center in the brain and a method to facilitate its calming. That part of the brain is the amygdala. At Neurophilosophy, I learned that Dr. Joseph LeDoux, a leading expert on the amygdala and author of The Emotional Brain, has written a primer on the amygdala. The primer has much good information for those of you wishing to learn more about this part of your and your client’s brain.

More about the nut reference in a moment . . .

During the seminar on Neuroscience and Conflict Resolution last week in Denver, Jeffrey Schwartz talked often about the amygdala. At one point, he became the amygdala and I interviewed him as that reactive part of the brain—a part of the brain that, during conflict resolution, we do not want to be running the show.

In beginning the interview, I asked Jeff if he wanted to be called Mr. Amygdala or Dr. Amygdala. He told us to call him simply Amyg. Who knows? Maybe in Portland next month he will be just Amy. As you may be able to guess, some fun was included in the seminar learning.

On another neuroscience note mixed with some fun, Dr. LeDoux has founded a rock group, The Amygdaloids. He calls his musical genre Heavy Mental. One of his songs is called "All In a Nut," a reference to the fact that the amygdala is shaped like an almond and its name comes from the Greek word for that nut. You can listen to previews of the Amygaloid songs here. Here’s an article from The Scientist: "The Amygdaloids: Scientists who rock out." And their performance at Madison Square Garden. A longer clip of "All in a Nut" at Madison Square Garden. Here LeDoux blogs about the Amgdaloids.

Why, why, why do we feel so afraid?
Why, why, why do we feel so afraid?
Don’t have to look very far
Don’t get stuck in a rut
Don’t go looking too hard
It’s all in a nut
In your brain.

-excerpt from "All in a Nut" lyrics


Stephanie West Allen

Stephanie West Allen, JD, practiced law in California for several years, held offices in local bar associations, and wrote chapters for California Continuing Education of the Bar. While in CA, Stephanie completed several five-day mediation training programs with the Center for Mediation in Law, as well as a two-year intensive… MORE >

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