Importance of Thinking Beyond Scientific Tenets

"I try to teach my TBI research students to get rid of scientific tenets, to let the door open to other possibilities."

It's called a tenet. Scientists are really exposed to this a lot. Physicians are exposed to this a lot, and a tenet means you've always done it this way, or this is the way you think science works, and every piece of information that comes in, you reinterpret it to fit the way you think the world works, and at least what I try to teach my students is you try to get rid of tenets because if you don't get rid of them, you won't get lucky, and every once in a while, Mother Nature will open the door, and she'll show you a little something new, and you don't have to be an Einstein or a genius. I've met very few geniuses in my career, and I'm certainly not one of them. But I've been very lucky in my career, and more importantly, I've known when I was lucky-- when I saw something that was really, really, really fun and really important, and that's what the resistance is--is in people who--we've seen this for 20 years, this is the way we've always done it. We can't think of it in a different perspective. It's not that I'm trying to resist to save my job, it's just human nature.
Posted on BrainLine October 24, 2011.

Produced by Noel Gunther, Ashley Gilleland, and Brain King, BrainLine.

About the author: David Hovda, PhD

David Hovda, PhD is the director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center. He is past president of the National Neurotrauma Society and past president of the International Neurotrauma Society.  He has served as chair of study sections for the National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke.

David Hovda