Got Brains?

“If you were interviewing applicants to fill a corporate job, aside from the obvious
core competencies, what specialized knowledge would impress you?”

We asked this question of three Speedlearning classes of about 32 students each at a Fortune 100 company. All 96 expected a through understanding of computer usage, Internet research know-how, experience in constructing a presentation, and producing financial reports.

We were surprised by the questions on coping with corporate stress, how to motivate a team to be creative, and finally a basic understanding of how
the Brain works. Did the potential executive understand brain specializations?

Left and Right Brain

Here are some scientific facts that were common knowledge by corporate executives.
How many of these facts are new to you?

1. Humans are classified as ‘Homo sapiens sapiens’, meaning: twice-wise. We are a subspecies of Homo, which includes all races.
2. Define Chunking: a unit of memory. We chunk telephone numbers to make it easier to remember. Not – 5155427500, but 516-542-7500.
3. Humans have a 3-pound (1,400 grams) brain with 324 square inches of convolutions, the outer layer of the Cerebral Cortex. It’s the size of a newspaper page and has a convex surface of coils and folds.
4. Brain is divided into four lobes, a rounded projecting part of the brain:
a) frontal lobe: seat of conscious thought and mood, planning and reasoning.
b) temporal lobe: site of speech, memory and hearing. Includes speech
and vision.
c) occipital lobe: (back of head). Visual processing center, including
motion perception, color discrimination and visuospatial processing.
d) parietal lobe: sensory information from eyes, ears and touch. Includes
manipulation of objects.
5. Did you know that only mammals have a NeoCortex, the new thinking
brain specializing in information-processing.

Get this: the Homo sapiens sapiens has the largest neocortex of
all the mammals permitting an almost unlimited capacity for learning new
skills and strategies.


The secret of human domination of the planet Earth is our ability to adapt to surviving and thriving in the heat of Africa and the icy conditions of Iceland.
Let’s define adaptation. It’s any change in structure or function of an organism
that makes it better suited to its environment. Evolution uses the eons of generations
to take useful mutations and reproduce them in the genes.

The purpose is our survival to produce new members of our species. Natural selection has time, thousands of generations to create variation in the gene pool.

Dr. Scott Williamson at Cornell University, Google PloS (Public Library of Science
Genetics), June 1, 2007, produced research indicating Adaptation does not have
to take millions of years.

Humans originally migrated from Africa 15-100,000 years ago. The change required
biological improvements including skin pigmentation adapted to non-African climates and sunlight levels. Williamson’s team showed 101 changes in the human genome based on biological modifications through recent Natural Selection.

Examples are the ability to digest lactose (milk) products and tolerate infecting new
pathogens and surviving. The secret is passing on these biological improvements to
their progeny and species.

Like compound interest, even tiny changes permit a survival advantage. This is the meaning of Survival of the Fittest, a genetic variation others in your species are
denied, causing your genes to survive into the future generations.


Did you know until 2007, scientists could not isolate consciousness in the brain?

It is at the site of the Central Thalamus.

If you question any group of educated (college graduates) about how humans
have conquered the planet, the collective answer (62 told us) is the education of our
reasoning, planning and logical brain.

The scientific research over the past 40 years clearly indicates that we do not use
our thinking brain all that much. In reality, conscious mind has the ability to
process 16-60 bits of information per second (Hertz).

Compare that to our Nonconscious brain (Ventral Telencephalon) our Basal Ganglia, and Brain Stem, which processes 11 million bits of information per second.

We are pumping blood, breathing, using our immune system, and having a heartbeat, 24/7 while thinking is an isolated activity.

Our brain uses its high Bandwidth to process Sensory and Motor information received from the visual, auditory and kinesthetic senses, including the olfactory (smell) and gustation (taste).

Dr. Robert Ornstein, Stanford University, and author of The Evolution of
Consciousness said, “What evolved is not complete understanding but a strategy
for doing the right thing… and doing the right things doesn’t require much
rationality or deliberation.”

Ornstein says, “The mind needs quick action to survive dangers and be prepared to
fight or flee in order to produce future copies of its genome.” It’s not thinking, but
behaviors, proven mental routines that experience has validated. Analysis is too slow, is his message. Trust your visceral reaction and right-brained intuition.

He winds up saying, “The mind works through a few simple combining processes,
using the evidence available to it to make the best guess possible.”


All the aforementioned may well be scientific facts, but it doesn’t sound or feel right,
we hear from our students. Here it is in a nutshell, our brains and bodies were
designed for surviving in the African savannah, not in cities. We are built for
quick decisions, hunting and collecting fruits. Stress is killing our species because
we are not wired for urban living.

Whatever enters our consciousness is overemphasized because we are biologically
engineered to produce a rough-and-ready reality. No? Then we did not survive to
pass on our genes.

We suffer from distorted thinking, unrealistic expectations and faulty self-perception because our brains and body are reacting for the wrong environment.
We need Stressbusters and simple strategies (schemas) that produce pleasure and
avoid pain.

How to improve your personal productivity up to 39% and Ace school and
win corporate promotions.

Would it help you in your career or school to read three (3) books, articles and
reports in the time it takes others (your competitors) to finish one? How about doubling your long-term memory permanently?

Ask us about SpeedLearning strategies and schemas.

See ya,

copyright © 2008

Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by
Barron's. Business partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of
Speed Reading, graduating 2 million, including the
White House staffs of four U.S. Presidents.