Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Dr John Medina - Keynote

Molecular Biologist
We don’t know how the brain works to pick up a glass of water and drink it or write your name
-        The gap has been filled with lots of mythology
-        10% of your brain is being used is rubbish, it’s 40-50% when you are at rest
Human brain designed to solving problems in outdoor settings in changing conditions
-        Classrooms and offices are the antithesis of this

How to create a successful presentation:
1.      The attentional spotlight
2.      Three characteristics
3.      Integrating text and pictures

1.      The attentional spotlight
This is where you can filter everything else out around you and focus on one thing
Attentional spotlight theory – the brain is a generator and the speaker is the spotlight controller
-        Generator effects: Time of day; Quality of Sleep; State of Hunger
-        Spotlight: Emotional stimulus;
Two key parts of the brain in the Attentional Spotlight:
A.     Medial Parietal – scanning across your vision to determine if you have seen what you are seeing before and whether it is important
B.     Brodmann Area Ten (BA10): Allows you to switch attention to something. Only allows one switch at the time.
Because BA10 can’t switch more than once at the time – therefore you can’t multi-task

2.      Three known characteristics
A.     Chunking (temporal property)
a.      If you present a string of information, your brain looks for a pattern and then tries to create patterns
b.      Your brain wants to be given time to break up the information, store it and then take in the next amount of information
                                                    i.     How long is this? 10 minutes before the brain checks out. Attention builds up over time up to 10 mins but then drops off after 10 minutes
                                                   ii.     Give 10 minutes presentations – or break it up in to 10 minute chunks

B.     Meaning before detail
a.      Human brain processes meaning before detail. It looks at the Tiger’s mouth and not the individual teeth
b.      6 questions of meaning for the brain
                                                    i.     Will it eat me?
                                                   ii.     Can I eat it?
                                                  iii.     Can I have sex with it? (reproduction rather than just fun)
                                                  iv.     Will it have sex with me?
                                                   v.     Have I seen it before? (pattern matching)
                                                  vi.     Have I never seen it before?
c.      Resilience – Trauma at the genetic level – genes are better at protecting you from trauma. You shouldn’t describe the science – describe the resilience and why it matters
d.      Pattern matching – if you detect patterns your brain gives you a ‘dopamine lollipop’ ie a reward for
e.      Have to give your audience an emotionally competent stimulus every 10 minutes

C.     The importance of narratives
a.      Don’t know why the brain likes episodic memory but it does!
b.      You need 3 ingredients: 
                                                    i.     Timeline
                                                   ii.     Character (maybe you)
                                                  iii.     Event – often social but crisis
c.      63% of speech is recalled with a story. 5% recalled a statistic
d.      “The King died and then the Queen died” – brain loses attention
e.      “The King died and then the Queen died of grief” – Brain lights up – you have a story
Rules for the hooks
-        ECS should be short
-        ECS should be relevant – even illustrative
-        ECS more memorable if you can turn it in to a story

3.      Integrated Text and Pictures
Text and pictures should be present and if possible move
Rules
A.     Limit the amount of text – brain still wants to go through individual words and letters of the individual words
a.      The eye spends time looking at each letter and then the first and last letter. The brain doesn’t get better – words act as a cognitive bottleneck
b.      140 characters is similar to the amount of text information is put on to a slide
                                                    i.     Replace text with picture
                                                   ii.     50% is vision, 2% auditory and 8% to touch (% of cortex through surface area)
c.      256 images shown vs 256 words – wait 3 days and test with a set of images of what was seen before and not. Pictures correct 90% - Text only 10%. For a year it is 63% for images, text is c. 10% still

The little that we know about brain science allows us to tweak presentations to make some improvements – it’s not fully known yet though!

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