Evidence of a third faculty of the brain, the conative faculty, was announced on October 6, 2010 at a conference for business, education, and government leaders from nine countries and 35 states, hosted by Kolbe Corp.
The conative faculty of the brain triggers purposeful action (conation).
Kathy Kolbe, internationally renowned conation theorist, and Arizona State University professor Pierre Balthazard, an acknowledged expert in the brain activity of leaders, released preliminary results of a study of conation in the brains of community leaders.
Initial findings regarding the conative faculty, which triggers purposeful action in the brain, include:
- Conation is a separate, intrinsic faculty of the brain that is different from, but equal in power to, the cognitive and affective faculties.
- The brain works far more efficiently when it has the freedom to perform a task according to its natural conative patterns of action—the person's unique modus operandi, or M.O.
- Separate and distinct patterns of brain activity exist for each of the four conative Action Modes® as described in previous work by Ms. Kolbe.
- Human beings have an equal amount of power across the Action Modes.
Conation was found operating in all areas of the 117 subjects' brains.
Kathy Kolbe has been assessing behaviors related to conation for 30 years with a wide variety of subjects from around the globe. She developed protocols for the Kolbe/ASU study based on data sets from 500,000 people who completed the Kolbe A™ Index, a widely used assessment instrument.
"This supports my theory that conation is the one human factor that gives us equality as well as our unique character," Kolbe said. "You can manage your response to a situation, but your M.O. is made up of strengths that are hard-wired Action Modes in your brain."
Balthazard, whose work is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), analyzed the subjects using qEEG brain signal processing techniques.
Balthazard said, "Each conative Action Mode identified by Kolbe proved to be a distinct and different function with neural correlates that produced connectivity signatures in the brain that are distinct from known patterns of cognition and affect."
"Previous brain research looked primarily at things that weren't working well. Researchers studied disabilities and brain injuries," noted Dr. Balthazard. "By learning from healthy brains of high performing people, we've learned lessons that could be applicable to a broader population."
Discovering the signature for conative activity allowed the investigators to compare levels of efficiency in the brain while subjects were working against their innate M.O.s," Kolbe said. "Brains went into a dithering pattern, searching but seemingly incapable of discovering an alternative path to a solution."
The findings hold promise for continued innovation in fields like organizational and leadership development, personnel assessment, and behavioral health and education issues such as differentiating methods of learning.