Sunday, March 29, 2009
Why I Like Pictures More Than Words
Neuroscientists have labeled parts of the physical brain as the new brain, middle brain, and old brain.
The new brain THINKS-it processes rational data.
The middle brain FEELS- it processes emotions and gut feelings.
The old brain DECIDES- it takes into account the input from the other two brains, but the old brain is the actual trigger of decision.
The old brain is a primitive organ, a direct result of the basic evolutionary process. Some scientists refer to the old brain as the "first brain" as it appeared first, before the middle and new brain, and is the only one still present in reptiles. Recent studies show that the new brain also isn't fully developed in humans until the age of 24. The old brain is well-named as it dates back to about 450 million years ago. The old brain is concerned solely with survival decisions. The old brain is what decides what data will ever even reach the new brain, i.e., which decisions will ever be accepted for further processing. Neuroscience professor at USC says, "Emotion, feeling, and biological regulation all play a role in human reason. The lowly orders of our organism are in the loop of higher reason." In other words, survival-related functions play a role in the decision-making process. In Emotional Brain, Dr. Joseph LeDoux points out that the amygdala-located in the old brain-"has a greater influence on the cortex than the cortex has on the amygdala, allowing emotional arousal to dominate and control thinking."
So, with all this scientific evidence, the CHALLENGE IN SALES AND MARKETING becomes: how do we address a brain that is 450 million years old? Educators, sales people, and even politicians can testify how hard it is to convince people by simply using words. Words have been around for only about 40,000 years. Before that, man's communication was limited to a few grunts or gestures. It is even more difficult to try to influence your audience using written words. Why? Because written words have only been around for about 10,000 years. That means that the old brain is 45,000 times older than written words. The result- written words have not been around long enough, in evolutionary terms, to make an impact on our old brain. To motivate and inspire our old brain, we must first learn to speak an entirely new language. WHAT TO REMEMBER: researchers have demonstrated that human beings make decisions in an emotional manner and then justify them rationally. Furthermore, we now know that the final decision is actually triggered by the old brain, a brain that doesn't even understand words.