Brain Bulletin #73 - Brain Without Walls

in Brain Bulletin

"I rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterwards." - Albert Einstein

Your brain thinks in pictures....for the most part.

Close your eyes and think of a horse. No stop, and really do this. Notice you thought of a picture of a horse. You didn't see the letters "h-o-r-s-e" floating nowhere in space. You saw a picture of a horse. Your brain thinks in pictures, not words. Case in point you never walk up to someone and say, "You know, I remember your name, but your face escapes me!"

Your brain creates pictures in your occipital lobe or "mind's eye." These pictures get stored in your brain. These pictures matter. A lot. Here's why:

Learning is connecting new information to what you already know. Your brain is always taking information in as it engages with the environment. You hear, see, touch, feel, smell, intuit. When your brain picks up this information it connects it to what is already stored in your brain...the pictures. Your version of reality is then created.

We check our facebook pictures, the family album, flip through magazine pictures. When was the last time you mindfully went through the pictures stored in your brain? And challenged them.

Your pictures create cognitive biases. To a large extent you become your pictures.

Remember: What you think, what you say, what you do is always based upon what you know...and what you know might be wrong.

In order for your brain to create a lasting change the picture needs to change. This will take some mindful effort on your part. I got to speak about this in some detail at the TEDxGreatWall Conference in Jinshanling, China. We were at the Great Wall. The 16 minute presentation is called "Brain Without Walls." Here's the link:

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My brain is enjoying summer in Vancouver. In July I spoke to a sold out crowd at the Vancouver Club on Leading with the Brain in Mind. I also, presented to the BC Lottery Corp., and spoke to lots of student groups on Studying Smarter, Not Harder. Also, lots of cycling, hiking, and yard work. It's great to get my brain outdoors.

In August I will be working with the trainers at the AIM Language Learning Institute, teachers at North Surrey Secondary School, and students and parents in Delta and Coquitlam.

My favorite book this month: "Everything is Obvious - Once You know the Answer" by Duncan Watts. An interesting look at how common sense often fails us.