Day#249: The Old Brain, Mid brain and New Brain

Day#249: The Old Brain, Mid brain and New Brain

Hey Uxers and today I wanted to chat about how we make choices, often people want to believe that all the decisions they make are to their best of their ability and are made logically. However if you understand how the brain works you will see there are a lot of decisions made and fueled by less logical drives. We often make instinctual decisions without Old brain, our mid brain is responsible for most of our decision making and the mid brain is where we are driven by emotion. The new brain is the logical part of our brain and this is most recently developed in our evolutionary biological structure hence the name referring to this structure as our “New” brain. Below I will differentiate the three different parts separately and then you will understand it all a bit easier, something else that is noteworthy is that size doesn’t matter when it comes to the brain. We see this as clear as day when it comes to the size of the human brain in comparison to that of an elephant’s brain, the elephants brain is certainly much larger than ours however the actual volume of the brain being its size does not differentiate its ability to comprehend logic so to speak. It is the density of the neurons that refers to the brain’s abilities and as humans we house a more dense array of neurons vs our elephant friends. Check out the video below where Seth Godin a popular speaker discusses the Lizard brain, the lizard brain is often referred to as that because of how lizards are animals that often only act on impulse relating to the fact that they only have the Old brain biologically.

I really enjoyed this speech and felt the situation where people only want to become involved at the end of a project and make changes very similar to a situation I have been in. I think with the advances of project management not only being used for software development it has ensured stakeholders are more involved as the project evolves but as Seth Godin indicates having a document discussing that “After this point you are happy” may help to deter these types of situations should they arise a lot.

The Old Brain

The old brain is the instinctual part of our brain, and this deals with fight or flight or freeze as well which is often left out of the options and is a valid response in a lot of traumatic situations. The Old brain can also be seen as your body’s caretaker responsible for your breathing, and other basic needs and wanting like eating, going to the toilet and sex. Basically your Old brain runs things for you as a teenager and you spend a few years trying to take back the control thereafter haha

The Midbrain

The Midbrain is the part of the brain that is often known for the control of emotions, it is also your mid brains job to assist with value judgments. Value judgements are when one makes a snap judgment about something and then has a “feeling about X”, and finally the midbrain is also responsible for dishing out the rewards that you want. When you eat something delicious or have sex it will be the midbrain that will release endorphins etc. When we make decisions it is often from the Midbrain and then justified by the New Brain. We are so good at convincing ourselves that we make logical decisions that often people won’t even admit to a decision being one that was made emotionally, it is certainly possible to entice ones New Brain to come to the party and this is what you will want to work on for the workplace obviously.

The New Brain

The New Brain is related to making logical accurate decisions based on reason, it may not always be consulted first in every situation but there are ways that we rationalise it. One of them is after a decision is made by the Midbrain is that we look for logical reasons on our decision. It is at this point that our New brain comes in to ensure we don’t feel guilty or change our minds. A way to solve this on a platform will be to have all the required information for a user that they would need, it is not to say that this is the process for everyone. You can work on involving your New brain earlier and there are interesting workshop ideas to awaken each part of your brain when they are most needed etc.

All in all the brain has always fascinated me and always will, looking forward to sharing the last few months of my Uxergirl 365 days of UX with you, happy researching until next time

Bye for now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *