Ever wonder how the brain affects everything that has to do with your business?  Keep reading...

I’ll be doing a four-part series on the brain and business.  The breakdown will be as follows:

  • Post #1:  Brain 101 – a brief touch on some key brain parts we’ll be referencing in the series
  • Post #2:  Two Brains in One – a look at the fast and slow systems at work in your brain
  • Post #3:  Implicit vs Explicit Memory – how we form our sense of “reality”
  • Post #4:  Brains and Business – what does this all mean for your business?

Please note:  Post 1-3 will be more science-based, and Post 4 will bring it all together.  Be sure to check out all four posts! 

Post #1:  Brain 101

Here we’ll introduce some key brain parts that we’ll be referencing in subsequent posts.


(Image source: click here)

Brain Parts(1):

  • Cerebral Cortex - plays a key role in memory, attention, perception, cognition, awareness, thought, language, and consciousness.  
  • Hippocampus - forms new memories; detects threats.
  • Amygdala - a kind of "alarm bell" that responds particularly to emotionally charged or negative stimuli.  Automatically and consistently scans people we encounter to determine whether they are safe and trustworthy, or if they pose a potential threat.  (Click here to read the post, Fear and Marketing, for more information on the amygdala).
  • Thalamus - the major relay station for sensory information.

Basic Brain Facts(2):  

  • Your brain weights roughly 3 lbs.
  • It contains 1.1 trillion cells, including 100 billion neurons.  A typical neuron fires 5-50 times/second.  Each neural signal is a bit of information.  The number of possible combinations of 100 billion neurons firing or not is approximately 10 to the millionth power. 
  • Though your brain is only roughly 2% of your body weight, it uses 20-25% of its oxygen and glucose.  

Three Brains(3):

In the 1970s, neuroscientist Paul MacLean described the human brain as a three-part system that embodies our evolutionary connection to both reptiles and lower mammals; a brain within a brain within a brain.  At the core is the reptilian brain, relatively unchanged through evolutionary history, responsible for activation, arousal, homeostasis, and reproductive drives.  The paleomammalian brain (or limbic system), which is central to learning, memory, and emotion, wraps around the reptilian brain.  The highest layer, the neomammalian brain or cerebral cortex, organizes conscious thought, problem solving, and self-awareness.  MacLean suggested that our three brains don't necessarily communicate well together because of their differing "mentalities" and the fact that only the neomammalian brain is capable of consciousness and verbal communication.

ENGAGE:  Be sure to check out Post #2 (of the four-part series): Two Brains in One for a look at the fast and slow systems at work in your brain.

GO FURTHER: To learn more about the brain, click here(1,2) to pick up Rick Hanson's Buddha's Brain.  To read more about the three brains, click here(3) to pick up The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy by Louis Cozolino.