Introduction - How the Brain Works

- understanding the brain will allow you to understand people and help them improve their performance

- our thinking, feeling, etc comes from the brain which is dominated by our primitive instincts, ie selfish, survival, etc

- 3 parts to the brain (see more later)

i) instinct, ie amydgala handles threats (fight, flight & freeze)

NB if under threat, cannot think straight as all the blood, energy, etc is drained from the mind to the heart, ie ready for action

ii) automatic, ie feelings (includes emotions, long-term memory, value judgements, gut feeling, procedural memory (habits, routines, etc)

iii) prefrontal cortex, ie thinking (conscious, logical, understanding, analysing, working memory, reasoning, recalling, inhibitions, etc). This part of the brain has limited storage and tires quickly.

NB The pre-frontal cortex can control the unconscious instinct and automatic part of the brain. Otherwise the later 2 dominates, eg 90+% of decision-making from the subconscious areas of the brain, ie instinct and automatic

Six primary drivers of the brain

i) Autonomy (control, etc)

ii) Certainty (structure, etc)

iii) Connectivity (social links/networks, etc)

iv) Equality (fairness, etc)

v) Status (position, recognition, etc)

vi) Safety (personal, etc)

NB Safety from threats will dominate the other drivers. The brain prefers to move away from threats and move towards rewards.

Everybody has a dominant primary driver.

(source: Diane Harner, 2017)

. Applying understandings about how the brain works and interacts with others will increase your effectiveness at work, home, etc. This involves

i) self-awareness (knowing yourself and how to manage your brain so that you get the best out of it)

ii) mindfulness (involves being able to pause before action, ie it gives you the space of mind to consider the various options and choose the most suitable one)

iii) interoception (awareness of your internal world and its signals).

These are important elements in modifying your behaviour in change.

NB Changing one's behaviour is hard, eg only 1 in 9 people who underwent heart surgery changed their life-style. Yet these people had the ultimate motivation, ie possible death. Thus changing other people's behaviour is even harder and changing a group's behaviour is harder still!!!!

. This involves the fields of neuroscience or biopsychology. Neuroscience includes

- the study of how people get along by studying brain functioning and social psychology. It is the interaction of brains by exploring competition, co-operation, empathy, social pain, self-knowledge, etc.

- the study of anatomy & physiology of the brain & its integration with other disciplines, such as psychology (the study of the human mind & human behaviour). It involves understanding that the brain (the physical organ) works with the mind (the human consciousness that thinks, feels, acts, perceives, etc).

- bringing into focus the science behind the art of change management by recognising the importance of the brain and how it works

. Since 1990s neuroscience was made possible by studying imaging of blood flows & electrical impulses in the brain via Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI).

. It is estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever lived are extinct. The activity of our brain is the key to our survival. Remember that there are 1 hundred billion neurons in the brain. It is suggested that our "ability to use symbolic reasoning" is the pivotal element of our mind and survival. This has been described as our ability to fantasize, ie to see things that we do not possess. This is linked with our ability to use words and language.

. The brain is designed to

i) solve problems

ii) survive

iii) be in an unstable, out-door environment

iv) to work in nearly constant motion

Search For Answers

designed by: bluetinweb

We use cookies to provide you with a better service.
By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies as set in our policy. I understand