PS: This might be a little cheesy but don’t underrate the power of empathy.
If you want to know the latest on the way in which the hemispheres of the brain go about their business watch this fantastic RSA animation. Psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist explains how our ‘divided brain’ (but probably not divided in the way you think!) has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society.
It’s the time of year for making lists. And then losing them. And then making more lists and ignoring them. And it’s almost the time of year for making resolutions. So what are you going to decide to do, or to undo in 2012? As a starter here’s a list from Dorie Clark in a seasonal article in the Harvard Business Review.
- Responding like a trained monkey.
- Mindless traditions.
- Reading annoying things.
- Work that’s not worth it.
- Making things more complicated than they should be.
I’m particularly attracted to her first point. She’s talking about emails and the way in which we get continually sidetracked by waves of incoming nonsense. What are we doing? I spent many a happy hour at university messing about with different sorts of ‘reinforcement’ schedules and fooling various rats (and the occasional pigeon) into behaving like a complete turkey! Yep, variable reinforcement schedules (read: emails of varying degrees of urgency plopping into your inbox at unpredictable intervals) make us all behave like Pavlov’s pet dog.
So let’s get a grip and stop it. If you must, check your email every 90 minutes or so. Strangely things will proceed as normal: the sun will rise, the Earth will rotate, politicians will continue to irritate you etc. There, I feel better already. Happy Christmas and a less monkey (rat, pigeon and dog-like) New Year!
Photo credit: Michael Elliott/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Having difficulty squeezing everything I need to do into the standard 24 hour day at the moment. So as you can imagine this article on sleep turned up just in time:
It seems you probably need more than you think and it’s difficult to catch up when you haven’t had enough. You need eight hours! Over a period of a number of weeks those who only get six-hours end up as impaired as people who have been kept awake for 24 hours – the brain equivalent of being legally drunk. Gulp!