Brain Research and Seven Valuable Insights for Life and Business
Why neuroscience can improve your life and your money
Natural disasters are not only devastating, but they can also produce changes for the better in our social and individual behavior, whether it is a hurricane, an earthquake, or a pandemic like the Coronavirus.
The island of Puerto Rico suffered the ravages of Hurricane Maria in 2017, causing more than 3,000 human losses, material disasters, jobs losses, lack of drinking water and electricity.
Maria ruined the Puerto Ricans. It also devastated another population: the inhabitants of Cayo Santiago, also known as Monkey Island, which is the natural refuge of more than 1700 Rhesus macaques.
In his book “The Leader’s Brain,” Michael Platt says that the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton Business School have since studied the impact of immediate and persistent stress on monkeys’ brains.
The monkey population survived in its entirety. Although macaques show signs of exposure to stress, they teach us how to better deal with disasters and protect ourselves.
Perhaps the most important lesson is that social support is essential to cope with disasters successfully. The macaques not only became more tolerant of each other but also became more friendly. It is still surprising that after more than three years, the monkeys continue to give and receive social support, to leave behind the memory of disastrous experiences.
iPhone vs. Samsung
I have a friend who is an expert in marketing who lives in love with his iPhone, and it is as if his mobile were a person. He says that his Smartphone is practical and intelligent, and when he does not remember where he left it, he sweats, screams and panics. It seems that he has lost a son.
Recent research in neuroscience shows us more and better what it is that captures customers’ attention, makes them buy, and leads them to have greater loyalty to a brand.
This investigation showed how Apple and Samsung users talk about their mobiles as other people and give them human traits such as practicality, sexuality, or friendship. Our brain responds better to those people with whom we have the best connection.
Study participants were assessed with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) while watching positive, negative, and neutral messages on both brands.
This technique takes snapshots of brain blood flow, which is comparable to brain activity.
“Apple users showed empathy for their brand: areas of the brain related to reward activated by the good news about Apple, and the bad news triggered parts of the brain with pain and negative feelings. They were neutral on any information about Samsung. That is what we see when people feel empathy for other people, particularly their family and friends, but don’t feel the joy and pain of people they don’t know.
On the other hand, Samsung users did not show an increase in activity in either area when they received positive and negative news about their brand. Interestingly, however, the excellent information about Apple activated the pain areas. The reward areas started with the rival company’s bad news, known as “schadenfreude” or “reverse empathy.” Samsung has a huge problem to solve.
The disconnection of Samsung customers shows that they disengage socially and emotionally linked with the brand. It can make the company users change for another brand that is more connected with its buyers.
Apple, of course, has been building a connection with its customers for years. The customer experience is consistent across products, apps, retail stores, marketing messages, and websites.
The following are the seven valuable insights about the utility of neuroscience:
1. Improved teamwork and sociability
Humans evolved to be social animals that need to live in a community, especially in times of crisis.
Leaders can use neuroscience to promote teamwork. Encouraging two minutes of uninterrupted eye contact between two people, collaborating on the same puzzle, or watching a movie together, activates people’s mirror neuron systems and fuels synchrony. When rowers are physically synchronized, their brains are too. When team members feel connected, they score in the top 20% of engagement and have 59% less turnover.
2. Enhances creativity
Neuroscience reveals that everyone has creative ability.
Each person’s brain contains an “innovation circuit” that seeks novelty and triggers experimentation and creativity. To put it into action, get up from the desk.
Creative output increases by an average of 60% when walking.
Try napping, daydreaming, meditating, doing the dishes, or cooking a recipe. Each work team member must reserve free time several times a year, use his imagination freely, experiment, and create new ideas for the workplace or the company itself.
3. Simplicity is the key to better communication
For the ideas to be understood and remembered, the first thing is that they are simple, which does not mean short and sweet, but rather, something that is both simple and deep.
4. Improvement of the decision-making process
Neuroscience helps leaders improve decision-making more consistently. The brain processes decisions in the same way. For example, if you want to buy sports shoes. You see one green brand of sneakers and others from another brand. Which one should you buy? You weigh the pros and cons, make a decision, and then evaluate the results. Later assess how you feel and draw conclusions.
If it is easy, a quick decision appears, but it will take more time if it is more complex. Neuroscience advises to move away from the fact and reflect on it.
Leaders can use positive reinforcement, which activates the chemical reward system when employees receive recognition for doing something very well. The practice of mindfulness can be favorable in improving the ability to decide quickly and accurately.
5. The power of lifelong learning
As we age, cognitive skills decline, and our memory worsens, so games that train memory can be helpful for a better life in old age.
6. New advances to achieve a better life and better performance
The rate at which scientists discover more about brain function, well-being, and performance (physical and mental) will increase rapidly. Combining advances in neuroscience with technology, including wearable devices, sensors, machine learning, data science, shows that the possibilities seem endless. Intelligent devices already measure brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG), which provides information on what motivates people, their emotional drives, how they might react under pressure, and which colleagues can better do teamwork.
7. Cure or improvement of many diseases
Insights from individual brain data can detect moods and help improve people’s mental health and help paralyzed patients control their advanced prosthetics. There is already a market for so-called “neuroenhancers,” drugs that claim to improve memory, concentration, and impulse control, generally improving brain function. Doctors use the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) technique to provoke or suppress parts of the brain to treat depression, migraines, fibromyalgia, and addictions.
With these techniques, of course, essential concerns about ethics and privacy arise. Benefits include:
- Helping patients cope with chronic conditions.
- Preventing people from hurting themselves or others.
- Hiring people who are better suited for jobs.
As the US military does, through experiments with advanced neuroscience, they help your staff achieve peak performance.
Whatever the money payoffs, leaders must balance the benefits with particular ethical behavior.