John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist. The neuroscience research in his book “Brain Rules” offers essential knowledge for us busy 21st century folks.
Some of his findings –
1. You’ve got seconds to grab someone’s attention and only 10 minutes to keep it. At 9 minutes and 59 seconds, you must do something to regain attention and restart the clock—something emotional and relevant. Also, the brain needs a break.
2. We are not used to sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. From an evolutionary perspective, our brains developed while we walked or ran as many as 12 miles a day. The brain still craves this experience. That’s why exercise boosts brain power in sedentary populations like our own.
3. Ever feel tired about three o’clock in the afternoon? That’s because your brain really wants to take a nap. You might be more productive if you did. In one study, a 26-minute nap improved NASA pilots’ performance by 34 percent.
4. Because we don’t fully understand how our brains work, we do dumb things. We try to talk on our cell phones and drive at the same time, even though it is literally impossible for our brains to multitask when it comes to paying attention. Driving while talking on a cell phone is like driving drunk.
5. If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a classroom.
6. If you wanted to create a business environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a cubicle.
7. Your brain is built to deal with stress that lasts about 30 seconds. The brain is not designed for long term stress when you feel like you have no control. Stress damages virtually every kind of cognition that exists.
8. When you’re always online you’re always distracted.
9. The human brain can only hold about seven pieces of information for less than 30 seconds! Which means, your brain can only handle a 7-digit phone number. If you want to extend the 30 seconds to a few minutes or even an hour or two, you will need to consistently re-expose yourself to the information. You have to repeat to remember.
10. The brain appears to be designed to (1) solve problems (2) related to surviving (3) in an unstable outdoor environment, and (4) to do so in nearly constant motion.