Why Are You Hearing More About Neuroscience At Work?


It seems like you can’t turn anywhere at work these days without somebody mentioning neuroscience. Whether it’s at the water-cooler, in the boardroom, or during after-work drinks, be prepared for it! Not that this is a bad thing. The findings from neuroscience are helping to shine a light on many aspects of human behaviour and decision-making that have profound consequences for organisations and the people in them.But where has all this come from?

Original neuroscience

Man’s fascination with the workings of the brain is no modern phenomenon. There were references to the brain and nervous system in Ancient Egyptian papyri dating to the 17th century BC, though the heart was considered the seat of intelligence back then. Interestingly we have retained references, such as memorising something “by heart” and in the widely-used phrase “emotional intelligence”. https://cyborggainz.com/f/neuro-grips-a-natural-way-to-biohack-your-brain

In more recent times, neuroscience developed in Europe through between the 17th and 19th centuries; studies of the brain started to become more sophisticated after the invention of the microscope and the development of a procedure in the 1890s which used a silver chromate salt to reveal the intricate structures of single neurons.Throughout the twentieth century new advancements were made as neuroscience started to come into its own as a distinct discipline. New findings were largely the result of working with brain-damaged patients, as neuroscience started to integrate with clinical psychiatry in the 1950s and 1960s.The Department of Neuroscience established at Harvard Medical School in 1966 was the first freestanding neuroscience department established in the world.In 1990, U.S. President George Bush famously declared the 1990s as the “Decade of the Brain”.

Ten years or so later, he would have been correct. At the turn of the millennium neuroscience received the equivalent of a huge shot of dopamine: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) became more widely available and its effect on neuroscience has been profound.This imaging equipment uses MRI technology to measure brain activity by detecting associated changes in blood flow.Essentially it is able to watch oxygen in blood flow to different parts of the brain; it then uses this as an indication of activity-and this produces the brightly-coloured images of brains at work that you may have seen. The technique has given rise to many more experiments, the findings of which are interpreted and often re-interpreted, and some of which find their way into ‘popular neuroscience’.