(Influence) Book Review : The Evolution of Consciousness

The Evolution of Consciousness by Robert Ornstein

Sometimes it’s good to get away from reading sales books or studies on buying habits and dig a little deeper. This book is deep. Let me admit that I don’t think it’s possible to summarize a book that takes us on a journey from Australopithecus, thru Homo Hablis, Homo Erectus to the modern day Homo Sapien man and then into the brain on 1 page. So I’ve noted some of my favorite highlights:

Heat Sink: How the brain adapted from the ‘horizontal’ plane to the ‘vertical’ (i.e., dissipate heat) since 1 to 2 degrees above normal will effect brain function. By standing upright, human beings were able to reduce the skull (i.e., the brains) surface area which then absorbed 60% less heat.

Great Quote: “Negative emotions have a different information value because the number of threats is much great than the number of pleasures.”

Physical arousal system: Increase in secretion of norepinephrine in bloodstream by the adrenals activates internal organs. Heart rate, blood pressure and blood volume to the muscles and face increases. Pupil size increases along with respiration, perspiration, and salivation. “Fear is an innate shortcut to action” Emotions, such as fear, act as the drivers – entrepreneurs of the system.

Neuron – The fundamental unit of the mind fire when something ‘different’ happens and DON’T respond when they are continuously stimulated (i.e., selective adapation). They adapt to constant sound, weight, pressure or changes in the world. Neurons respond to first occurrence of an event, less to later changes.

Brain Power – We are using 1% to 2% of our brain for ‘thoughtful acts’ and the rest is being used to monitor and control other body functions. So to say we don’t use 95% of our brain is erroneous.

Probing the Cerebral Cortex – less than a million years old, is about 1/8th of an inch layered in thick with columns that act as ‘data processing centers’. The left and right hemisphere are connected by 300 million neurons called the corpos callosum which is less than 4 million years old.

History of Brain Scans:
• 1875: English Scientist Richard Catton used a galvanometer to detect electric currents in the brain with a probe into a human skull.
• 1925: Hans Berger developed first system for recording brain electricity that did not require an open skull. Alpha wave = 50 microvolts.
• 1965 Scientist Benjamin Libet discovered that prior to physical movement gradual shifts in the electrical potential appear in the brain (i.e., readiness potential). It begins to appear about a half a second to 3 seconds before the beginning of the movement. The electrical impulse needs to be active for at least .5 seconds before one is aware (i.e., neuronal adequacy).

Great analogy: EEG machines are not precise measure. Similar to listening to the noise in an area of NYC with 250 satellites orbiting while trying to eavesdrop on a conversation. The activity of the cortex is the area best represented by the EEG (surface measurements).

Memories: An imagination is a reconstruction based on current situation or context; it is not fixed. We use units of memories (chunks) to store information OR we use a ‘code’ to increase our memory capacity. Context or a Schema helps us recall more information.

If you want to understand how we’ve think and how our brain works…this book will provide great insight!

Victor Antonio, Sales Influence
“Finding the Why in (How People) Buy!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: