Sunday, June 9, 2013

Brain Pictures

Your thoughts, words, and what you read or hear create internal mental pictures in working memory. In essence you can think of pictures a brain language. It thinks in pictures. The subconscious brain layers don’t use language – they do perceive the pictures placed in working memory and tend to follow them. When the brain hears, “Don’t touch the stove,” the first picture is that of touching the stove. “Don’t” is supposed to notify the brain that the desired behavior is opposite from the first picture. Negatives require a two-step process and some brains totally miss the “don’t” while others hear the word but have difficulty reversing the picture (e.g., if you aren’t supposed to touch the stove what are you supposed to do?). An adult might say, “Duh,” to that question but it isn’t so simple in a developing brain (and it isn’t even so simple in some supposedly “mature” brains). I find it much more effective to always say what behavior you want (e.g., “Keep Your hands away from the stove.” Although speaking in positives, a one-step process, is generally more effective, the problem is that most people grew up hearing negatives. “Don’t forget your homework,” “Don’t be late for work,” “Don’t argue with me!” and so on. It is a personal journey to alter your speech style and it can be done. More tomorrow about “stop” instead of “no.”

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