Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Persuaders

Dr. Paul Maclean has proposed a triune theory of Brain. According to this theory brain structure can be divided into three parts


Click on image for a clear view

  • reptilian brain
  • limbic sytem
  • neocortex
"MacLean, now the director of the Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behaviour in Poolesville, Maryland, says that three brains operate like "three interconnected biological computers, [each] with its own special intelligence, its own subjectivity, its own sense of time and space and its own memory". He refers to these three brains as the neocortex or neo-mammalian brain, the limbic or paleo-mammalian system, and the reptilian brain, the brainstem and cerebellum (see above diagram). Each of the three brains is connected by nerves to the other two, but each seems to operate as its own brain system with distinct capacities."
http://www.ezls.fb12.uni-siegen.de/mkroedel/paul_maclean.html


This knowledge of brain functions is essential for designing effective teaching methods. In fact most of the teachers are intuitively aware of this. They know that there is short term learning and there is deep learning that involves the whole brain or at least involve the limbic system and the neocortex.

The marketers are already using this knowledge . The PBS did an entire show called "The Persuaders" that included the interviews of some of the best Marketers like Dr. Clotaire Rapaille a child Psychiatrist turned Marketer.

You can watch his video interview by clicking at the menu item "Watch Online" as shown in the clip below on Dr. Clotaire Rapaille interview page on the PBS website and choosing the fourth video titled "The Science of Selling" within the popped up window.

clipped from www.pbs.org
homewatch onlineanalysisforumdiscussion

blog it

Our primal nature is the boss of the self. It overrides all the thoughtful and deliberate decision making by neocortex if there is a conflict between the limbic system and the cortex. The limbic system make us do things that satisfy our base nature. It is also responsible for our physical survival.

We are not rational beings as logical positivists would make us believe but closer to rationalizing beings who use reason to justify our actions that really are instigated and controlled by the limbic and reptilian parts of our brain.

6 comments:

Keith & Dom said...

Hi Javed,
Great blog, and great posts recently - nice to see someone out there who's interested in the brain, learning, and technology.

Oleg Kucheryavenko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oleg Kucheryavenko said...

Probably the most serious misconception about brain evolution is that theories of evolutionary change are necessarily highly speculative (Striedter, 1998). Direct observation of the process of brain evolution is usually not possible, but objective criteria for evaluating theories do exist. While nearly everyone seems to have a theory, not all theories are equally well informed, i think.

Javed Alam said...

Oleg

Triune theory is simplified intrepretation of the avaialable data. Jan Pankesapp's book affective neuroscience makes a good case for it by comparing the brain structure from different species. Brain does act in bi mode that is thought processes and emotional/motivation are localilized in two separate part of the brain. Thought and language is in the upper part and emotion/motivation in the lower most primitive part. There is constant talking between all parts of the brain but let us say amygdala the tiny part of the brain that controls most of the fear response.

Here is a book that goes over some of this

http://tinyurl.com/6mkea8


Cognitive realm that is mostly upper brain is useful as long as it is supported by the lower brain that is emotion/motivation. In case of conflict it is the lower brain that takes over to decide whether to fight or flight.

It may be oversimplification but largely that is what is happening inside the brain.

By the way scientist do not like engineers because engineers simplify science to find the dominant pattern and then use it to design some device that does something useful.

Thomas Lewis said...

That's Jaak Panksepp you're talking about, I believe. His book, Affective Neuroscience, is excellent.

Javed Alam said...

I have read the book by Jaak Panksepp on affective neuroscience. It is really a good book to read to get away from pure cognitive neuroscience side of things.

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