Sent: 09-03-2010 09:58:06
In this issue:
Return to full article list
HomeFree weekly newsletterSelf Managed Super Fund ArticlesContact usLogin
Brain Rules part 3
This continues my series on the 12 Brain Rules produced by Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant: Last time I outlined the first 2 rules, more are outlined here:
3. "Wiring" - Brains Are "Wired" Individually
The brain's neural connections are in constant flux. Your specific brain structure depends on your culture and other external inputs. A musician' brain has different cellular "wiring" than a scuba diver's. Key brain growth occurs up until the early 20s and changes can continue for decades. Many researchers have worked to understand intelligence and to map how the brain functions. Some believe there are multiple types of IQ. One person might be great at math while another excels at physical movement. Different parts of the brain are activated for different memories and skills, so your brain scan looks different than anyone else's, even your twin's.
The brain's attentional "spotlight" can focus on only one thing at a time: no multitasking.
We are better at seeing patterns and abstracting the meaning of an event than we are at recording detail. Emotional arousal helps the brain learn.
- What YOU do and learn in life physically changes what your brain looks like - it literally rewires it. We used to think there were just 7 categories of intelligence. But categories of intelligence may number more than 7 billion-roughly the population of the world.
- No two people have the same brain, not even twins. Every student's brain, every employee's brain, every customer's brain is wired differently.
- You can either accede to it or ignore it. Businesses such as Amazon are catching on to mass customization (the Amazon homepage and the products you see are tailored to your recent purchases).
- Regions of the brain develop at different rates in different people. We wrongly assume every brain is the same.
- Audiences check out after 10 minutes, but you can keep grabbing them back by telling narratives or creating events rich in emotion.
4. "Attention" - If It's Not Intriguing, Your Brain Isn't Interested
When you find something boring, you don't pay close attention and you can't retain the content - so when you're giving a presentation, capture the audience's interest as soon as you can. You want your audience to focus. Multitasking is a recipe for inefficiency and danger. In fact, multi-taskers are prone to 50% more errors and take 50% longer to finish a task than people who do one thing at a time. Studies say that chatting on your cell phone while you're behind the wheel of an automobile is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.
People remember emotional situations longer than calm ones for neurochemical reasons. During emotional events, your brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which is associated with attention and rewards; it helps you cement the memories. At stressful moments, the brain doesn't pick up details. It focuses on the big picture. If you're trying to teach someone, present "the key ideas and, in a hierarchical fashion, form the details around these larger notions." Provide information in 10-minute chunks and use entertaining hooks between those chunks.
- What we pay attention to is profoundly influenced by memory. Our previous experience predicts where we should pay attention. Culture matters too. Whether in school or in business, these differences can greatly effect how an audience perceives a given presentation.
- We pay attention to things like emotions, threats and sex. Regardless of who you are, the brain pays a great deal of attention to these questions: Can I eat it? Will it eat me? Can I mate with it? Will it mate with me? Have I seen it before?
- The brain is not capable of multi-tasking. We can talk and breathe, but when it comes to higher level tasks, we just can't do it.
- Driving while talking on a cell phone is like driving drunk. The brain is a sequential processor and large fractions of a second are consumed every time the brain switches tasks. This is why cell-phone talkers are a half-second slower to hit the brakes and get in more wrecks.
- Workplaces and schools actually encourage this type of multi-tasking. Walk into any office and you'll see people sending e-mail, answering their phones, Instant Messaging, and on MySpace-all at the same time. Research shows your error rate goes up 50% and it takes you twice as long to do things.
- When you're always online you're always distracted. So the always online organization is the always unproductive organization.
More next time.
This email is general in nature only and does not constitute or convey specific or professional advice. Legislation changes may occur quickly. Formal advice should be sought before acting in any of the areas discussed. Be aware that the information in these articles may become innaccurate with time. Responsibility is disclaimed for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. Particular investments are neither invited nor recommended and hence this publication is not "financial product advice" as defined in Section 766B of the above legislation. All expressions of opinion by contributors are published on the basis that they are not to be regarded as expressing the official opinion of any other person or entity unless expressly stated. No responsibility for the accuracy of the opinions or information contained in the contributor's articles is accepted by any other person or entity. Copyright: This publication is copyright. If you wish to reproduce this article you require a license, which can be purchased here, to do so.