The Brain Summit, hosted by Emergenetics International, was held in Assisi, Italy on October 5-7th. I had the pleasure of attending the summit and met many colleagues. The information I obtained in the conference not only grounded my previous learning on Emergenetics, but also furthered my understanding of the neuroscience behind this tool. As you may know, Emergenetics is an assessment that discovers one’s thinking and behavior preferences. It is valuable in increasing communication effectiveness and fostering more effective team work.
I was particularly inspired by the keynote, a neuropathologist named Mary Case, who acts a scientific advisor to Emergenetics. In her speech entitled “Neuroscience Updates Emerging Layers of the Human Brain “, she shared pertinent aspects of her research as follows:
Art history reveals that Michelangelo and others of his era may have known more about the human brain than previously thought.
In the famous fresco “The Creation of Adam”, which adorns the Sistine Capel, the anatomic features of the midsagittal and lateral surfaces of the brain are embedded. The article “More Than A neuroanatomical Representation in the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo Buonarrotti, A Representation of the Golden Ratio” describes Michelangelo’s vast knowledge of anatomy and how the Golden Ration 1.6 was used in his work. It was amazing that he had such knowledge back in the 15th century.
Network theory challenges conventional analysis about brain functions
Conventional analysis about the brain is that there are levels of organizational structure in the brain, and that each level performs certain functions. In contrast, network theory posits that no one area or network of areas in the brain stand out as particularly more connected during awareness of the target. The whole brain appears to become functionally more connected following reports of awareness. In this new model, something happens in each level of the brain, new elements are created, and new characteristics emerge through connections forged.
Mapping the human brain
The book The Future of the Brain states that there are three fundamental truths which make the brain more challenging to understand:
The 85 billon+ neurons in our brain share several hundred subcategories/types.
We have yet to discover many of the organizing principles that govern all that complexity.
Many of the behaviors that seem characteristically human don’t have straightforward animal models.
Anatomical, functional and connectional are three different perspectives of mapping our brain.
Behavioral social norm is emerged through network
Social norm used to be created through local interaction, institutions, bias and information feedback. When network is extended to homogenous ones, a newer behavioral social norm has been created through network connectivity. It emerged spontaneously and with a few 2nd factors; such as institutions, incentives and social benefits.
My mind went wild while listening to Mary’s keynote. One insight was that much behavior demonstrated by Millennial can be explained by the social connections granted to them through technology. The generation is a production of the spontaneous social interaction enabled by social media. As a result, their brains are wired very differently from older generations and might grow faster than other generations through constant social connection. This insight fascinated me and inspires me to deepen my study on the subject.