Thursday, 26 June 2008

How the brain works according to Dr. John Medina and Wii


Keeping up with bloggers is a hard thing to do when time keeps on ticking away, but one of the inspiring bloggers I enjoy keeping up with is Dennis Coxe’s Sailing by the Sound blog.

In one of his last posts he got me on to this presentation by Garr Reynolds based on the bookBrain Rules’ written by Dr. John Medina. The presentation is a lot of fun, really focused on the essence of how the brain works and specifically how presenters can make a presentation much more thrilling for their audiences. The only downside is when the presentation falls into the “10% oral/ 30 visual/ 65% oral and visual" trap; which has been discussed and mentioned by many but here is the Cisco side on that = non-scientific numbers)

A book that also relates to this topic is the book "Beyond Bullet Points" by Cliff Atkinson.This great author focuses on the importance of the narrative to make a successful presentation.

Okay but back to the presentation of Garr Reynolds, it is an amazing one! Just to give you some pointers on what you will see once you go through the presentation, here are 3 of the 12 rules from Dr. John Medina:
  • Exercise boosts brain power;
  • We don’t pay attention to boring things;
  • Vision trumps all other senses;
Unfortunately internet interruptions (or other interruptions) seem to give a 50% decrease in attention span and in time effective completion of any task. So sorry, AWAY with ‘office islands’ (IMHO) and mails and phones when you need to think. Just go to a secluded site and think while exercising each time you feel stuck. After 10 minutes most of your audience attention drops, so do something emotionally relevant to keep their attention.

This presentation also mentions the importance of patterns or reoccurring ideas. On the other hand pushing too much information into someones brain also does not pay. Connect the dots and repeat. And John Medina goes on that “there is no greater anti-brain environment than the classroom and cubicle.” (here, here)

Unfortunately again I am pointed out on the importance of exercise and yes I do not always like to do any physical exercise, but I sooth my brain by telling myself that I walk enough (I walk for at least 1 hour a day, otherwise I do not reach my office).
Luckily a couple of friends bought a Wii and so yesterday I went over to them and I had myself a hell of a workout without even knowing it while playing 'boxing' (a lot of muscle pain today). So although my computer work limits my physical exercise, my soon-to-be-purchased Wii computer console will help me in exercising. I know, you doubt the amount of exercise a Wii can give. Well, just look at this short boxing clip (I am the one ducking and eventually loosing, but WAW what an exercise). (the comments are in a local dialect and my excuses for whomever can understand them).


video