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Friday, March 16, 2012

Right Brain and Left Brain Thinking 

One of my favorite colleagues at Northwest Vista College is psychology professor Dr. Don Lucas. He is one of the most humorous people I've ever met, and he's also one of the most intelligent.

He's written a book on a subject that he's researched for many years, happiness.

Dr. Don is a gifted educator and also a friend who will tell you when you are on target, and just as comfortably, will also tell you when you are not. Isn't a friend like that amazing?

A few weeks ago I asked for his help, as I've done many times prior, including during my dissertation processes. I wanted him to weigh in on my project-based learning approach to teaching my Introduction to Mass Communication courses. Sometimes when I feel like I'm out on a limb, a good friend like Dr. Don can be helpful in regaining my balance.

During our most recent sit-down visit Dr. Don helped me understand that social research, such as the kind my students are engaged in most of the semester, can adequately employ social media to explore and probe questions in ways that are as important as those questions explored in quantifiable, scientific research. Don took a book from his library, 'A Whole New Mind' by Daniel Pink and loaned me the book, urging me to read the latest research on right brain and left brain thinking.

This morning's chapter, Story, was particularly interesting as it compliments Simon Sinek's work, and his ideas on approaching writing with the goal of reaching the part of the brain that sniffs out truth and trustworthiness: the "why" part of the idea.

In "A Whole New Mind" Pink reminds us of the importance of story. He writes about the notion that as facts become so widely available and instantly accessible, each one becomes less valuable. Supply and demand, once again. "What begins to matter more is the ability to place these facts in context and to deliver them with emotional impact."

This is a call to rethink the importance of storytelling in communication, in education, business and even the sciences. What is the difference between a fact and a story? To paraphrase E.M. Forster's famous observation, a fact is "The queen died and the king died." A story is "The queen died and the king died of a broken heart."

1 comment:

  1. Linda, I promised you a link to my niece's column in the paper, and this is the first one I have gotten since then:
    Hope you all did not blow away in the storms. Mary Ann