6 months ago I met a human who sent me on a journey that ended up exploding a few things I thought I knew about my brain and how it worked.
Her name is Jackie Dhaeyere and her background is in market research. Market research with a very healthy dose of neuroscience thrown in.
To be honest, I didn’t know much about neuroscience 6 months ago, and while I know a lot more today, it’s still not enough for me to even pretend to be an expert. While we’re on the honesty theme, while I’ve participated in a few focus groups, I don’t know much about market research either.
I asked Chat GPT (yup, I did that) how it would define ‘neuroscience’ and it returned with 3 long paragraphs. So I did a little consulting with Google, and settled on this:
The ultimate goal of neuroscience is to improve our understanding of the brain and nervous system, and to use this knowledge to understand the structure, function, and development of the nervous system, as well as the neural basis of behavior, cognition, and emotions.
Sorry! What did you say?
The piece that hooked me enough to begin this adventure was Jackie explaining to me that the human brain processes around 11 000 000 bits of information per second. I thought that was really impressive until she ended her point with this….
However, your conscious brain can only process 40 to 70 bits of information a second
Read that as many times as you want, I’ll wait for you…..
It means the vast vast vast majority of information that you and I take in every second, is being processed by our unconscious brain. Our conscious brain, in comparison, is pretty darn pathetic. If you don’t believe me, Google it (Chat GPT was very wordy and didn’t want to commit on the first pass). We’re nowhere near the ‘we only use 10% of our brain’ performance that we’ve been told we are. As a percentage, our conscious brain is processing 0,00045% of the total information our complete brain is dealing with.
That means that the decisions we make, the thoughts we have, the memories we draw from, the innovation we bring to the table, the rationalisations we apply to explain what’s happening around and to us, the feelings we generate, all of these and more, are by the longest way, mostly sitting in our unconscious / subliminal brain. What complicates that even more, is that neuroscientists tells us that our conscious brain doesn’t even have neural pathways / links to all of our unconscious brain. So even with the world’s best hypnotist or therapist, there’s no way to fully or completely understand what’s going on in our heads.
In Jackie’s world of market research, you can appreciate why a partnership with neuroscience surely must become the Holy Grail. How can you trust anyone in a focus group to tell you the reason why they chose that burger, or pants, or store, or time to shop, or investment, or share, or movie to watch, or person to marry? When you’re getting feedback from someone it’s their conscious brain that’s doing the talking, on behalf of their unconscious brain that’s doing 99.9% of the heavy lifting. When was the last time you felt completely connected to your unconscious brain? Exactly!!
Market Research without modern science heavily grafted in, must surely be hopeless?
Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behaviour
I asked Jackie for more information, and she handed me a book by Leonard Mlodinow called Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior.
The book is described like this:
Over the past two decades of neurological research, it has become increasingly clear that the way we experience the world—our perception, behavior, memory, and social judgment—is largely driven by the mind’s subliminal processes and not by the conscious ones, as we have long believed. In Subliminal, Leonard Mlodinow employs his signature concise, accessible explanations of the most obscure scientific subjects to unravel the complexities of the subliminal mind. In the process he shows the many ways it influences how we misperceive our relationships with family, friends, and business associates; how we misunderstand the reasons for our investment decisions; and how we misremember important events—along the way, changing our view of ourselves and the world around us.
It’s left me feeling distinctly insecure about my mind, my thoughts and how I see the world. It’s truly become an exciting adventure for me. I’m enjoying every moment a new or old thought pops into my conscious mind, and I find myself questioning everything.
A great read, and a wonderful new pathway, full of interesting things.
Download and read Jackie Dhaeyere’s article, Delving Deeper, by clicking on the image below: