The most complex organ of the human body is the brain. It oversees every bodily function and lets individuals interact with one another. Research into the brain provides an in-depth look at human nature and an understanding of human behavior.
Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system. It explains why behavior changes under stress. These changes relate directly to fluctuating serotonin levels in the brain. In other words, stressors lead to the instability of serotonin levels. This impedes a rational decision on a resolution in a taxing situation.
What happens in a dispute?
Disputing parties often believe they have the bulletproof facts, the proper reasoning, and the soundest position in the disagreement. This frame of mind can intensify the conflict. Quite typically, one of the parties presents a constructed resolution and outlines what they deem a logical point of view. When this resolution is rejected, the presenting party is bewildered by their adversary’s conceived irrational reaction.
Unreasonable expectations and disappointment can form by assuming that one’s well-crafted argument and dispute resolution would never be rejected by the receiving party. When a proposal is rejected, the parties stop listening to any other views outside their own. When this occurs, getting the two sides to agree on a resolution is a daunting and difficult task.
The role of the mediator
A mediator evaluates the interaction and body language of the parties by contemplating the mediation style that will be most effective in resolving the dispute. Neuroscience provides sound research into the different methods to achieve this. Facilitating becomes a vital technique through the course of the dispute resolution process by allowing the mediator to be aware of the needs and interests of the parties.
The negotiating process commences by identifying what drives the parties’ thought process, understanding their relationships, and determining the compelling factors behind the dispute. The matter’s importance to each party is also considered. The mediator identifies the parties emotional and logical processes, allowing the parties to listen, acknowledge, and respect each other’s interpretation of the dispute.
These findings have enormous implications in a dispute resolution. Parties creating a resolution based on reasoning alone are destined to fail. The negotiation process involves understanding the tangible and emotional factors making up the dispute. Relying on a logic based argument creates unreasonable expectations, speculations, and opinions.
A mediator must create a vision for the parties to understand each other’s points of view. This allows the barriers separating the parties to break down, making for a sound decision. By creating a safe environment, the parties come to make the decision on their own accord. At this point, additional reasoning tactics and further persuasion are not necessary. People do not base their decisions on logic, people formulate decisions based on their well-being.
Anne Sawyer is an independent Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Consultant. In addition her private consultation practice, she is the Executive Director of the Southern California Mediation Association.
Her mission is to foster, support and promote mediators and other neutrals and to further increase peaceful resolution of conflicts. Raising public awareness as to the many values of mediation and increase its use to address a broad variety of public and private disputes in a confidential, safe and empowering process is her passion.