Setting up Your Goals: A Neuroscience Perspective

No matter what your project is, it all starts with a simple, yet complex task: goal-setting; nowadays neuroscience may prove of great help, by understanding how exactly your mind works and how you can trick it into achieving positive results. How exactly Can you set up your goal?

Positive Attitude

This is primordial, no doubt about it. Actually, there is no need for scientific studies to understand why good results are achievable only if you are positive and confident about your project and its success.

If you do not believe in your objectives, you will soon lose motivation, and we all know how that impacts any sort of activity.

Basic Goal-Setting Principles

Going back to neuroscience, here are some things to keep in mind when you set your own goal:

  • Specificity. A goal should target a very specific result. If you simply decide to “make money”, your brain will not be able to focus on this goal, because it does not have a well-defined pathway to that goal. On the other hand, if you set up multiple specific goals, defining exactly how are you going to make money, you will find it much easier to stick to them.
  • Perseverance. No matter what your project is, setbacks will probably occur, at one point. This obviously, causes doubts about the goal that you set. Not to mention various collateral distracting factors. All these cause an internal conflict, so you do not know if it is still worth pursuing your initial goal. This is mainly due to your body producing lots of cortisol, a stress hormone. Do not let it take over, stay focused!
  • Stay positive, no matter what happens. It is not just about having a positive attitude when setting up a goal, but also about keeping it while you pursue it. Experts in neuroscience say that, as you perceive the goal as being closer, your brain secretes more dopamine, a stimulant that overpowers cortisol.
  • Find allies. Share your goals with other people around you. Family, friends, coworkers, they can all help you keep the positive attitude, up to the final success.
  • Balance. You should always acknowledge the importance of your goal, but it should not rule your life. Getting distracted is bad, but so is over-thinking. Over-thinking will probably make lots of doubts to appear and cause enough stress to demotivate you. Neuroscience teaches us to always find our inner balance.

Conflict Resolution: Neuroscience-Based Solutions

When it comes to mediation and solving various kinds of conflicts, neuroscience can play a great role. This is because any conflict is, basically, a conflict between two brains. Understanding how they work can provide you the key for ending the whole thing.

Conflict as a Reaction to Perceived Threat

Think that, no matter how civilized we are, beneath our facade, there is still something of our caveman ancestor. Many of the mechanisms through which we respond to daily challenges (at work, in traffic, at home), are similar to those employed by our ancestors to survive in the wilderness.

When a potential threat (to your life, job, reputation etc.) emerges, your organism has a natural stress mechanism. Neuronal and hormonal impulses put all our body under alert.

From here on, neuroscience distinguishes between two possible responses:

  • Flight – you choose to run away, to avoid the potential threat by simply escaping. In an organizational context, this leads to submission or other ways of bypassing the conflict.
  • Fight – you opt for confronting your adversary.

When the two parties choose the latter solution, open conflict arises. Such conflicts can involve two individuals, an individual and a group (worker and coworkers, leader and team), or two groups (management and employees).

Most people feel that it is just about being stubborn and not being able to understand that the other one might also be somehow right, but actually, there are much deeper mechanisms that fuel conflict. Simply speaking, adrenalin takes over the organism, displacing reason in the process of decision-making.

Principles of Conflict Resolution

How exactly can you solve a conflict using neuroscience principles?

  • Identifying perceived threats. As mentioned above, conflict is a response to a perceived threat. A good mediator should be able to identify the threatening factors for both parties involved.
  • Making both parties acknowledge their irrational behavior. This is the most complicated part of the job. By gaining the trust of both sides, a mediator needs to make them more open to other solutions and push them, gradually, towards empathy, rationality and fairness. It is simply a matter of letting other areas of the brain get activated.
  • Negotiation. The solution to any conflict is reaching an agreement that is the most favorable possible for both parties. Basically, it is about eliminating the threat factors. When the threat is gone, so are stress and conflicting behavior.

It may sound easy, but it is a rather complex job. However, by understanding some basic neuroscience principles, the chance to obtain a positive solution significantly increases.

Neuroscience and Creative Writing: Understanding Your Reader’s Mind

What could possibly have neuroscience to do with writing an article? Well, it does! For understanding your written text, any reader will use his senses and his brain, i.e. his central nerve system. So, having a basic knowledge about how this system works might prove of great help for any writer. Or, even better, why not getting some dedicated advice from specialists in this field?

Sensory Reception Types

You may not be aware, but the process of receiving the information from a written text is quite different from one person to another. There are different types of sensory preferences, and, in order to have the widest audience possible, you need to appeal to all these categories.

  • Kinesthetic learners have a lot of energy. They like action and not just sitting down and wasting time with an endless text. According to neuroscience specialists, they make up about 57% of the human population. How to please them? Simply write short (less than 800-word articles), concise and with clear key points.
  • Visual learners focus mostly on images, layout, graphics. Around 34% of your readers belong to this category. Concise writing, with suggestive and colorful images added to the text is the ideal solution for attracting such readers.
  • Auditory learners focus on processing each word. They basically repeat all your text using their internal speech. 9% of all people fit in this category. Use keywords and be sure to check out your grammar and typewriting. These readers immediately spot any mistake.

Cognitive Processing Types

It is not just about the way your readers receive the text, but also about how their brains process it. There are two big categories:

  • Sequential thinkers are realistic, love order and logic and are attracted to the practical aspects of any information. According to neuroscience experts, they form the majority of the human population, with around 60%. A logical organization of your article, with key points and care to grammar, typewriting and text logic are essential for attracting this audience.
  • Global thinkers like to get the whole picture. They use their imagination to extract all sorts of ideas and patterns from raw information. 40% of your audience fits into this category. Key points offer them an anchor for their imagination to interpret the text.

Passion

One thing you should never forget is that people love emotional involvement. Being passionate about the subject you are writing about creates a relationship with your readers. They feel that you actually want to share your knowledge with them.

Having these simple, neuroscience-based considerations in mind, you will surely be able to write great articles, appealing to any kind of audience.

Neuroscience

Neuroscience is the branch of science that deals with the study of the nervous system. The nervous system comprises of brain, spinal cord, and neurons in the human body. Neurons are basic functional block of the nervous system.

Our brain is the most complicated object in the whole universe. It is the single organ that controls the body as all the things we do or happening in our body is performed and controlled by our brain. Even our thoughts and dreams are being created by our brain .Scientists who study this are called Neuroscientists. They are doing research on 100 billion nerve cells in the brain.

In neuroscience, the study is done on

  1. How brain work on different situations and environmental conditions.
  2. Structural and functional development of nervous system.
  3. Study and cure Neurological Disorders.

The research on brain and its functions can be found from the time of ancient Egypt. They thought heart is the reason for intelligence, so they used to remove the brain from the bodies at the time of mummification. After some centuries, Greeks physicians challenged historical views and stated that brain is the main reason for intelligence. Study on brain started in a matured manner in the 18th century after the microscope invention took place.

Major branches of modern neuroscience

  • Affective neuroscience – Emotional Behavior of Neurons
  • Behavioral Neuroscience – Effects of Brain on one’s behavior
  • Cellular neuroscience – study of forms and properties of neurons at cellular level
  • Clinical Neuroscience – studying disorders
  • Cognitive neuroscience – study of cognitive functions in humans (behavioral/computational modelling)
  • Computational neuroscience – how brain computes and functions, maths and other studies
  • Cultural neuroscience – cultural and belief impact and effects on brain and its response
  • Developmental neuroscience – development of brain from cellular level
  • Molecular neuroscience – study of Individual molecules in nervous system
  • Neuroengineering use of engineering technology to replace or repair neural system
  • Neuroimaging – diagnose the diseases related to brain and check the brain health
  • Neuroinformatics – acquire the data, share it, store it and model it.
  • Neurolinguistics -  Brain control in language speaking
  • Neurophysiology – Relationship between brain and its functions with the body parts.
  • Paleoneurology – study of the brain using fossil
  • Social Neuroscience – study of social process and behaviors with relating to the brain
  • Systems neuroscience – behavioral functions in nervous system.

The Society for Neuroscience was started in 1969 and is the world’s largest organization of scientists committed to understand brain and nervous system and share their knowledge to promote the awareness in its education.