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What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About Compassion – Carolyn Gregoire

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Mounting evidence of the impact of contemplative practices like meditation (which we now know can, quite literally, rewire the brain) are finally bringing modern science up to speed with ancient wisdom. Mindfulness and compassion — the practices of cultivating a focused awareness on the present moment, and extending a loving awareness to others — are part of every religion and wisdom tradition, and we’re at last beginning to understand the profound impact that they have on the brain, says psychiatrist and mindfulness expert Dr. Dan Siegel………..

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Robotic Exoskeleton Helps People With Neurological Disorders – TECHNOLOGY IN BUSINESS

This robotic exoskeleton helps people get their mobility back. Harmony, the robotic exoskeleton, can assist individuals who have had strokes or spinal injuries.

 

 

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The Neuroscience of Depression in the Brain – Emma Allen

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Depression is a multifaceted and insidious disorder, nearly as complex as the brain itself. As research continues to suggest, the onset of depression can be attributed to an interplay of the many elements that make us human—namely, our genetics, the structure and chemistry of our brains, and our lived experience. Second only, perhaps, to the confounding mechanics of anesthesia, depression is the ultimate mind-body problem; understanding how it works could unlock the mysteries of human consciousness.

Emma Allen, a visual artist, and Dr. Daisy Thompson-Lake, a clinical neuroscientist, are fascinated by the physical processes that underlie mental health conditions. Together, they created Adam, a stop-motion animation composed of nearly 1,500 photographs. The short film illuminates the neuroscience of depression while also conveying its emotive experience.

“It was challenging translating the complicated science into an emotional visual story with scenes that would flow smoothly into each other,” Allen told The Atlantic.

“One of the most complex issues we had to deal with,” added Thompson-Lake, “is that there no single neuroscientific explanation for depression…While scientists agree that there are biological and chemical changes within the brain, the actual brain chemistry is very unique to the individual—although, of course, we can see patterns when studying large numbers of patients.” As a result, Allen and Thompson-Lake attempted a visual interpretation of depression that does not rely too heavily on any one explanation.

The film’s first sequence depicts the brain’s vast network of neuronal connections. Neurons communicate via synapses, across which electrical and chemical signals are exchanged. In a depressed patient’s brain, some of these processes are inefficient or dysfunctional, as the animation illustrates. Next, we see a positron emission tomography (PET) scan of a depressed brain, demarcated by darkened areas. Finally, the animation shows activity in the hippocampus and the frontal lobe. Abnormalities in the activity of both of these areas of the brain have been implicated in depression by recent research.

For Allen, one of the main objectives in creating Adam was to help dispel the notion that depression is a character flaw. “A common misconception is that the person is at fault for feeling this way, and that to ask for help is a weakness or embarrassing,” Allen said. “But depression has a physical component that needs treating.”

“The shame surrounding mental health still exists,” Allen continued. “In fact, in the case of Kate Spade, it was reported that she was concerned about the stigma her brand might face if this were made public.”

And who, exactly, is Adam? “Daisy lost a friend to suicide,” said Allen, “so the film is named in his memory.”

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Are Empathy & Musical Appreciation Related to Social Skills – Brenda Kelley Kim

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Are music, empathy, and social information processing in the brain related? A new study from researchers at Southern Methodist University-Dallas and UCLA suggests there is a connection.

The study looked at people who are “high empathy” meaning they are affected emotionally by the feelings of others and lower empathy people who are not as emotionally invested in the actions of others. The role of processing music in the brain is complicated, and many neuroscience research projects have looked at the relationship between how we encode music in the brain and our actions in social situations.

Zachary Wallmark is an assistant professor in the SMU Meadows School of the Arts as well as the lead author of the work. “High-empathy and low-empathy people share a lot in common when listening to music, including roughly equivalent involvement in the regions of the brain related to auditory, emotion, and sensory-motor processing.” They aren’t exactly alike however and the areas where there are differences are relevant to social situations.

Wallmark and his colleagues used previous research that showed about 20% of the population is considered highly empathic. Their responses to social and emotional stimuli are much more pronounced than those who have typical levels of empathy. In the study, people who were more empathetic, processed music in an area of the brain where social stimuli are processed. In these individuals, music is treated in the mind liked a “pleasurable proxy for a human encounter” or, in other words, like spending time with other people and interacting.

The study cohort was a group of 20 UCLA undergrad students. They underwent fMRI scans while listening to music they liked or disliked as well as pieces of music with which they were familiar or unfamiliar. An fMRI is a functional scan, meaning it captures images of the brain and its activity while the patient is performing some cognitive task. The participants chose the pieces of familiar music before the study began.

While many neuroscientists and music professionals have always posited that a connection exists between music and empathy until now no studies could document the differences in the brain. In addition to the differences between empathy levels and the social aspect of music, there was also a difference in levels of reward activity in the brain. Listeners who were more empathetic showed more activity in the brains reward center than those who had lower levels of empathy. Highly empathic individuals seem to feel the music more intently than others.

Marco Iacoboni, a co-author of the work, is a Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Director of the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Lab at the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center UCLA where the scans were carried out. He stated, “The study shows on one hand the power of empathy in modulating music perception, a phenomenon that reminds us of the original roots of the concept of empathy — ‘feeling into’ a piece of art.

On the other hand, the study shows the power of music in triggering the same complex social processes at work in the brain that are at play during human social interactions.” The research is published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. The video included shows how some perceive music as a “social fix.” Check it out.

If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.

Why Your Marketing Strategy Needs Neuroscience – Diana Davies

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Neuroscience marketing insights are what take content out of the routine and generic basket and move them into the basket that is driven with direction and purpose.

Without insights into your target audience, capturing and holding their attention is next to impossible. This leads to low engagement, shares, blog comments and retweets. The end result? Content creation and social media becomes a dreaded chore.

If you spend a few minutes interviewing your defined target audience you will end up with a toolbox full of neuromarketing insights. You start to know what your target audience is looking for and how to create it.

You will have keywords, key phrases, emotions, visuals and stories that engage their brain. Your marketing strategy will have focus and you’ll be less distracted by what your competitors are doing.

How do I collect target audience insights?

The first step in effectively applying neuroscience to a marketing strategy is to understand your specific target audience. Who are YOU trying to connect with and how are your services unique and focused on them?

Let’s start by thinking about the groups that make up your target audience. Most of you will have current clients, prospective clients, strategic partners and possibly a board or investors you’re accountable to.

Step two, think about how your business is unique in your industry and in comparison to your competitors.

Knowing how you’re unique provides a clearer understanding of the value that you bring to each of the relationships you have defined. The relationships between you and your clients, strategic partners and board of directors.

The next step is a bit more hands on – you need to get some insights from each of these groups by asking them questions and listening to their answers.

Start with short interviews – nothing too formal just set aside 10 minutes to reach out to a few people within each of your defined groups. Find out directly how they feel connected to you and how they perceive your services.

Surveys are also great way to collect insights if face to face or phone interviews are not an easy option.

Each group will have its own set of questions and answers to explore. Not only does it give you the answers you need in order to create strategic content. It also gives you the keywords, key phrases and emotions straight from the source.

This is all gold when it comes to neuromarketing – this is the data you need in order to effectively engage the brain of your target audience. Once you have these basics mapped out you have created the foundation of your neuroscience based marketing strategy. You can personalize your content with their keywords, key phrases and emotions.

Why brains love targeted marketing strategies

The old brain is the oldest part of the brain and is 100% focused on self and survival. This is why the insights gained from your interviews are so important. These interviews are sneak peeks into that “self” that your audience is sharing with you.

The mid brain developed next along the evolutionary scale and is related to emotion.

The new brain is the most recent addition to the human brain and is related to higher cognitive functions such as complex analysis.

The mid brain is the part of the brain that you actually want to direct your marketing efforts towards. The mid-brain is emotion driven. Many neuromarketing agencies such as Neuroset UK have repeatedly shown that audiences aren’t making logical decisions based on fact, they are acting on emotion.

The roots of the decisions being made by your clients, potential clients and strategic partners are emotional and emotion drives much of what we remember – particularly long term memory.

Within the mid brain you have the powerful combination of the sensory, the emotional and memory coming together.

The new brain, the only part of the brain you are consciously aware of, justifies the decision that has already been made by the old brain and mid brain.

This is where data and statistics come in handy. You won’t build a relationship targeting the new brain but sharing proof about your success and expertise will smooth the decision making process.

Use your data, statistics and facts sparingly – just like sprinkles on a cookie. Too much and it gets sloppy and ugly.

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Lead Your Target Audience with Emotion

Your interviews, surveys and research have given you insights into the experiences, needs, and emotions of your target audience – what is driving them and connecting them to you.

When you use the insights you have collected to create and customize your content they see themselves in your visuals and stories.
Your target audience gets a strong “you understand me” feeling.

It makes you seem familiar – you become safe and brought closer to their “self” to their old brain – because you speak their language using their keywords, key phrases and emotions.

Now, how do you get your personalized content out there AND found?

By engaging their brain.

You will create content using their keywords, their key phrases and mirroring their emotions to attract them.

Your insights and data will define the headlines; sub-headers; hashtags and labelled images you are going to create and share. Your insights and data will define the marketing materials you are going to create and the email campaigns you will launch.

Knowing your target audience, right down to each group that makes up your target audience and speaking directly with them in their language and echoing their emotions will set you apart from the crowd.

Let’s pretend for a moment that you have audience insights collected and that you’re ready to create some new content or repurpose some existing content on your website. Now what?

Use the emotions that were shared with you. Emotion can be triggered by emotive words, emotive visuals and even more enhanced by a combination of both.

Adding a few key words to an emotional visual will exponentially increase the immediate brain impact and how long the content is remembered.

Visuals are their own mini story

Stimulate the senses too. Have your visuals tell a story with a sensory touch. Find ways to engage all the senses like scent and touch with strategic visuals.

Just be sure the visuals you’re selecting reflect the audience you are trying to connect with. There needs to be a link between the written content and the associated visual that reflect the insights you have collected.

Brains immediately focus on visuals and will recall visuals more easily than any text you share.

[Tweet “Visuals are their own mini story #neuromarketing”]

Put pictorial superiority effect to work for you – create visuals that will catch your audience’s eye as they scan through their social media feeds. Create layers of detail and tell a cohesive story that involves food and has a sensory element.

Eye tracking studies show a high level of interest and engagement with these types of visuals.

Targeted Emotions and Visuals Create Epic Stories

When you take emotions and visuals and put them together you build some great storytelling potential. Stories are the most powerful way to draw people into your website and into a relationship with you.

Storytelling is the most effective way to engage both the old brain and the mid brain.

[Tweet “Storytelling is the most effective way to engage the brain”]

Share stories that reflect the “self” of your target audience, their state of mind and emotions using emotion words, sensory words and visuals.

Stay away from corporate jargon, acronyms and industry speak. Share stories using the language of your target audience.

Your stories don’t need to be long and complicated. Contrast captures the interest of the brain and holds it. This is your life before my services and your life after my services. Contrast renders your benefits obvious and easy for the brain to digest which makes the decision making process easier.

Why Your Marketing Strategy Needs Neuroscience

 

The holidays are the perfect time to get your marketing content ready to sparkle and shine. We are going to share the best in brain research so you can take your marketing strategy from bah-humbug to fa-la-la fabulous.

These tips will help your reach and have the kind of lasting impact you want with your target audience.

Does a brain targeted marketing strategy spark?

It absolutely does! Neuroscience marketing insights are what take content out of the routine and generic basket and move them into the basket that is driven with direction and purpose.

Without insights into your target audience, capturing and holding their attention is next to impossible. This leads to low engagement, shares, blog comments and retweets. The end result? Content creation and social media becomes a dreaded chore.

If you spend a few minutes interviewing your defined target audience you will end up with a toolbox full of neuromarketing insights. You start to know what your target audience is looking for and how to create it.

You will have keywords, key phrases, emotions, visuals and stories that engage their brain. Your marketing strategy will have focus and you’ll be less distracted by what your competitors are doing.

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How do I collect target audience insights?

The first step in effectively applying neuroscience to a marketing strategy is to understand your specific target audience. Who are YOU trying to connect with and how are your services unique and focused on them?

Let’s start by thinking about the groups that make up your target audience. Most of you will have current clients, prospective clients, strategic partners and possibly a board or investors you’re accountable to.

Step two, think about how your business is unique in your industry and in comparison to your competitors.

Knowing how you’re unique provides a clearer understanding of the value that you bring to each of the relationships you have defined. The relationships between you and your clients, strategic partners and board of directors.

The next step is a bit more hands on – you need to get some insights from each of these groups by asking them questions and listening to their answers.

Start with short interviews – nothing too formal just set aside 10 minutes to reach out to a few people within each of your defined groups. Find out directly how they feel connected to you and how they perceive your services.

Surveys are also great way to collect insights if face to face or phone interviews are not an easy option.

Each group will have its own set of questions and answers to explore. Not only does it give you the answers you need in order to create strategic content. It also gives you the keywords, key phrases and emotions straight from the source.

This is all gold when it comes to neuromarketing – this is the data you need in order to effectively engage the brain of your target audience. Once you have these basics mapped out you have created the foundation of your neuroscience based marketing strategy. You can personalize your content with their keywords, key phrases and emotions.

But before we jump into the content creation, let’s get to know the brain a little bit better.

Why brains love targeted marketing strategies

The old brain is the oldest part of the brain and is 100% focused on self and survival. This is why the insights gained from your interviews are so important. These interviews are sneak peeks into that “self” that your audience is sharing with you.

The mid brain developed next along the evolutionary scale and is related to emotion.

The new brain is the most recent addition to the human brain and is related to higher cognitive functions such as complex analysis.

The mid brain is the part of the brain that you actually want to direct your marketing efforts towards. The mid-brain is emotion driven. Many neuromarketing agencies such as Neuroset UK have repeatedly shown that audiences aren’t making logical decisions based on fact, they are acting on emotion.

The roots of the decisions being made by your clients, potential clients and strategic partners are emotional and emotion drives much of what we remember – particularly long term memory.

Within the mid brain you have the powerful combination of the sensory, the emotional and memory coming together.

The new brain, the only part of the brain you are consciously aware of, justifies the decision that has already been made by the old brain and mid brain.

This is where data and statistics come in handy. You won’t build a relationship targeting the new brain but sharing proof about your success and expertise will smooth the decision making process.

Use your data, statistics and facts sparingly – just like sprinkles on a cookie. Too much and it gets sloppy and ugly.

Lead Your Target Audience with Emotion

Your interviews, surveys and research have given you insights into the experiences, needs, and emotions of your target audience – what is driving them and connecting them to you.

When you use the insights you have collected to create and customize your content they see themselves in your visuals and stories.
Your target audience gets a strong “you understand me” feeling.

It makes you seem familiar – you become safe and brought closer to their “self” to their old brain – because you speak their language using their keywords, key phrases and emotions.

Now, how do you get your personalized content out there AND found?

By engaging their brain.

You will create content using their keywords, their key phrases and mirroring their emotions to attract them.

Your insights and data will define the headlines; sub-headers; hashtags and labelled images you are going to create and share. Your insights and data will define the marketing materials you are going to create and the email campaigns you will launch.

Knowing your target audience, right down to each group that makes up your target audience and speaking directly with them in their language and echoing their emotions will set you apart from the crowd.

Let’s pretend for a moment that you have audience insights collected and that you’re ready to create some new content or repurpose some existing content on your website. Now what?

Use the emotions that were shared with you. Emotion can be triggered by emotive words, emotive visuals and even more enhanced by a combination of both.

Adding a few key words to an emotional visual will exponentially increase the immediate brain impact and how long the content is remembered.

Visuals are their own mini story

Stimulate the senses too. Have your visuals tell a story with a sensory touch. Find ways to engage all the senses like scent and touch with strategic visuals.

Just be sure the visuals you’re selecting reflect the audience you are trying to connect with. There needs to be a link between the written content and the associated visual that reflect the insights you have collected.

Brains immediately focus on visuals and will recall visuals more easily than any text you share.

[Tweet “Visuals are their own mini story #neuromarketing”]

Put pictorial superiority effect to work for you – create visuals that will catch your audience’s eye as they scan through their social media feeds. Create layers of detail and tell a cohesive story that involves food and has a sensory element.

Eye tracking studies show a high level of interest and engagement with these types of visuals.

Targeted Emotions and Visuals Create Epic Stories

When you take emotions and visuals and put them together you build some great storytelling potential. Stories are the most powerful way to draw people into your website and into a relationship with you.

Storytelling is the most effective way to engage both the old brain and the mid brain.

[Tweet “Storytelling is the most effective way to engage the brain”]

Share stories that reflect the “self” of your target audience, their state of mind and emotions using emotion words, sensory words and visuals.

Stay away from corporate jargon, acronyms and industry speak. Share stories using the language of your target audience.

Your stories don’t need to be long and complicated. Contrast captures the interest of the brain and holds it. This is your life before my services and your life after my services. Contrast renders your benefits obvious and easy for the brain to digest which makes the decision making process easier.

Where is your target audience?

Have you ever wondered how your potential clients are making their decision between you and your competitors?

We know from neuroscience that it is not the new brain driving your business relationships. It is the unconscious part of the brain.

Placing your content focus on your high quality work and stellar credentials is not going to build a relationship with your target audience. Make it a priority to start building up your target audience knowledge and insights and then apply them to your marketing strategy.

Do not try to create content that speaks to everyone – it will not work.

Take the time to understand your specific target audience and these insights will give you the emotion, visuals and stories your marketing strategy needs. When a visitor lands on your website it will be warm and welcoming, like a hot cup of cocoa.

Are you ready to take your strategic marketing to a whole new level? Why not watch our free 30 minute neuromarketing training. You will learn marketing emotion, how to create powerful visuals and how to craft stories with lasting brain impact.

If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.

The Neuroscience of Attention & Why Instructional Designers Should Know About It – Raluca C

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You know all those classic arguments couples have that begin with “I told you but you never listen!”? In truth, the listening part is not the issue, the remembering (or absence of) is the real problem. Paying attention is no easy thing and grabbing and holding someone’s attention is even trickier.

A fairly recent study calculated that the average attention span of a person has dropped from twelve to eight seconds, rendering us below the focusing capabilities of goldfish. Apparently this decrease is due to the fact that Heavy multi-screeners find it difficult to filter out irrelevant stimuli — they’re more easily distracted by multiple streams of media.

On the plus side, the report found that people’s ability to multitask has dramatically improved. Researchers concluded that the changes were a result of the brain’s ability to adapt and change itself over time and a weaker attention span is a direct consequence of going mobile.

What instructional designers should know about brain wirings…

For e-learning designers who face the challenge of creating quality modules that facilitate information retention and transfer it’s important to know how the brain works when it comes to attention – this being the first step in any learning process.

When faced with the challenge of processing the huge amounts of information it is being presented with, the brain brings forth several control measures. First it prioritizes the different types of stimuli – it chooses what information to recognize and what to ignore as well as establishing a hierarchy of what item deserves how high a level of concentration.

The brain is also wired to connect any new information to prior knowledge to aid the understanding of a new idea as well as to get a better picture of broader concepts.

Last but not least, the amount of time a person spends focusing on a certain topic is also important – some things can be learned in a few minutes, others take much longer than that and also require some pause.

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Since concentration means effort and that is no favorite of anyone’s, it’s important for difficult information to be presented in an engaging way.

… And about the cortexes involved

What neuroscience tells us is that in order for people to start paying attention, the stimuli need to make the cut. The brain’s capacity to discern between these stimuli is located in two different areas: the prefrontal and parietal cortexes.

The first is located behind the forehead and spanning to the left and right sides of the brain and has to do with conscious concentration. It is an important wheel of the motivational system and helps a person focus attention on a goal. The parietal cortex lies right behind the ear and is activated when we face sudden events requiring some action – it is what kept the human race alive through numerous encounters with those who considered us dinner.

Of course, throwing in a really big threatening dinosaur at the beginning of an e-learning module is not the way to go but it helps to keep in mind that people become focused when action is required of them or when they see how a certain learning experience might help them achieve a personal goal.

How attention relates to memory

Attention is a cognitive process that is closely related to another very important aspect of learning: memory. A certain learning intervention is deemed successful when the participants are able to remember and apply what was taught. Otherwise it can be the best experience ever but with no real knowledge value.

The brain’s permanent goal is to filter the stimulus that is the most immediately relevant and valuable, so it is easiest to pay attention when information is interesting. Take televised documentaries for example. If the presentation, the script, the imagery and the voice-over are all working together, even the life of armadillos who don’t do much over a few months period can seem utterly fascinating.

For effective learning to take place, participants must focus their attention on the learning activity. It is the designer’s job to help them do so by including various elements and levels of interactivity. Simply presenting the information can prove highly counterproductive since typically the mind wanders up to 40% of the times we read something.

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Tips for getting learners’ attention

There are, of course, a lot of great ways to get and keep learner attention. Here are a few examples:

  • Using emotionally charged storytelling – there is nothing as engaging as a good narrative, emotionally spiked at its most important points;
  • Getting the learners involved with the content – interactivity is a must if the goal is to get people on board with learning;
  • Using great visuals – the reason for our decreasing attention is that we are assaulted by imagery; carefully choosing what and how learners see has great barring on their involvement with the program;
  • Linking new concepts with familiar ones – the brain works by making connections between what we already know and what is novelty to us. Designers should facilitate this process by including the best suited comparisons in the content;
  • Keeping it simple – if something is interestingly presented, people will search for more information on their own. Cluttering screens does not help them learn more but prevents them from taking away what is essential.

Bottom line

If the learning material is not engaging, learners will have a hard time paying attention and that will lead to poor results. In order to create interesting material, instructional designers need to be mindful of what neuroscientists have to say about how the human brain works and include meaningful situations and opportunities throughout the modules.

If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.

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