How do you write a text message? How do you find a name in your mobile phone contacts list? How to enter an appointment there? I am sure each of the readers will be able to answer these questions.
How is the brain constructed? What is the responsibility of each of its parts? How to make it work better? I guess most of us do not have the answers.
In the courses I give, I dedicate a small section to explain how this machine, the brain, works.
I do of course not pretend to cover in a few minutes researches that took hundreds of man-years to complete, but I find that a few data well-organized about the structure of our brain can help us “take control” and start use it and the large potential it hides in a better way.
Therefore, for those who have no time or will to collect pieces of data from different sites, I present a summary about our brain, relating it to the ability of fast reading in general, and 3-dimensional reading in particular.
3 brains, 4 lobes, 2 hemispheres
In 1952 Paul McLean introduced the idea of the 3-parts brains, that is: that we have 3 brains and not just one. The brains, that developed while humans evolved, are built one on top of the other.
The first is the reptilian brain, common to us and to reptiles. In the scientific community, it is also named “brain stem”, it is connected directly to the spine and it is responsible for all the native functionality having to do with survival. The second brain created in the evolutionary process was the intermediate brain, or early mammals brain. It is better known as the limbic system, and this is the “emotional” brain. The third brain is the new mammals brain, the part that makes us superior to other mammals, it is named the Neo-cortex and it is the location of abstract thought, strategic management and creativity.
During the course you will get acquainted with the parts of the brain and how to utilize this knowledge for speed reading more in depth.
The Brain’s world of communication
The brain is built out of Neurons; this is a general name for cells that are electrically activated in the nervous system, cells responsible for transmission and processing of data. All the data is transmitted in the brain through electrical pulses and Neurotransmitters.
This is where the synapse is essential: this is the tiny gap through which neural signals pass from one neuron to another. A neural signal that arrives to the synapse causes release of a chemical named Neurotransmitter that releases an electrical signal in the adjacent Neuron. Some of the brain cells have more than 15000 synapses.
As data comes in from various sources through the 5 senses, the brain needs to encode it into one language, common to all parts of the brain. The brain “talks electric language”.
How will all this be expressed while reading?
Assuming that the 3 brains are expressed in all of us, we need to consider on one hand the disturbance they will cause if we ignore them, and on the other hand we can make sure that each brain will supply us its special qualities to support the building of the ability for fast reading.
The brain trunk is responsible for our survival functionality. We are normally not aware of it and take its functioning for granted. But it is the correct functioning of the breathing, digesting etc. that enable us the “luxury” of logical thinking, learning, reading. When we want to be focused on reading and read our book or study material quickly, we should take our body into account:
- We’d better not eat too much before that, so as not to divert energy to digestion, but we should also not let hunger divert our attention from the reading.
- Similarly, regarding other needs – we’d better visit the toilet before starting to implement the technique.
- Our body contains about 69% water; we’d better refresh it and drink enough.
- We should sit in a comfortable posture, so as not to divert our attention. We should make sure we have the right lighting, and most important – from time to time take a deep breath and ensure a flow of oxygen to our brain.
Dr. Ronny Paz from the neuro-biology department in Weitzman institute tells us about the importance of the limbic system during the process of reading:
- If we wish to remember what we learn and wish not to have emotional blocking related to reading, we should correlate speed reading to positive emotion
- It is therefore important to accentuate every success in reaching the objective of the reading
- It is also important that we have a clear objective when reading, as the objective will provide the emotional fuel that will enable us to stay with the reading material.
The NeoCortex is where the understanding of reading, creation of connections between different new ideas and between them and data we already know happens. We have to take into account both hemispheres, and allow each of them space for expression. (In the article “What should we do to increase the speed of our reading”, published in our Internet site, I detailed what can be done practically for speed reading).
The NeoCortex is the human-specific brain part; there we find our potential as homo-sapiens, that is – the possibility not to submit to our “animal” impulses, to our desires and needs.
The knowledge gained by reading can help us develop that part of the brain. The 3-dimensional reading, and the speed-reading ability it contains, helps us to learn better and faster, making use of this wonderful partner of ours, the brain, the fastest computer in the world.
During the course we will explore numerous techniques to empower the brain for speed reading.
“it is not sufficient to have a good brain. It is more important to use it well”