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Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina - Book Review
As we discuss the concepts of what it takes to understand behavioral analysis, oftentimes, we have to discuss what happens in our brain as our sensory systems receive information. We also spend a good amount of time describing the most important of the senses to a trained observer which is sight. To aid in our understanding of these complex systems, we spend a good amount of time researching books and articles, which describes these processes. One standout book, which has become a valuable resource for us, is Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina.
Rare do you find a book that is relevant, factual, and fun to read, but that is exactly what you get with Brain Rules. Dr. Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, only uses science that has been published in peer-reviewed journals and has been successfully replicated. This is excellent, because it prevents us from using Bad Science.
In Brain Rules, Dr. Medina outlines 12 interesting ways to understand how our brain works. Each one of the rules has a direct application to our understanding of behavioral analysis. I will briefly give an overview of each of Dr. Medina’s 12 Rules:
Rule #1 Exercise - In this chapter, Dr. Medina discusses how as human beings we were designed to be active. Exercise is an essential part of our long-term health, well-being, and intellect! To be a professional, exercise must be an integral part of a training program.
Rule #2 Survival – This chapter describes how our brains have evolved from simple to complex functions from breathing, and respiration to critical thinking and reasoning. For the combat profiler, our main focus is the actions of the limbic system and our reactions towards our survival.
Rule #3 Wiring – This chapter describes how our brains are wired together. We get a deeper understanding of the neural highway that connects the different parts of our brain. This knowledge of the brain helps us understand how we can affect learning with the knowledge that every brain is wired differently.
Rule #4 Attention – Dr. Medina describes how our attention works. How multitasking is a myth and what methods we can employ to keep and maintain our attention. This rule has been vital in our teaching methods as we attempt to use stories, and jokes to captivate our audiences. He also helps to explain how focusing on one object at a time is how our attention works. With this understanding, we can affect our employment methods and use two or more individuals, or utilizing a guardian angel as a combat multiplier can be an advantage to the combat profiler.
Rule #5 Short-Term Memory – This rule describes how our short-term memory needs repetition to remember. We also use the concept of the emotion-memory link to solidify memories when given the opportunity. In our training, it is also important to simulate the environment in which we can retrieve the information. We discuss building correct File Folders, or storages of correct memories, utilizing as many senses as possible. So, when in a combat environment, we can recollect the file folders necessary for immediate action.
Rule #6 Long-Term Memory – This chapter reinforces the use of repetition to transfer memories from short-term to long-term. This is vital to the professional warrior because it requires him to periodically reinforce the material, which is taught. During our courses, we hand out easy-to-digest information cards, which summarize the main points of each profiling domain. This gives our students the opportunity to refresh the concepts we discussed.
Rule #7 Sleep - This chapter discusses how important and vital sleep is to cognitive function and “soaking” in information you learned in that day. Often when we teach, we will ask students if they have any questions, we usually get the most questions on the topic to following day. This is because they had time to think about what they had learned.
Rule #8 Stress – This chapter talks about what goes on in our brains, and bodies as we experience stress. The release of adrenaline and cortisol, in small doses aid in our immediate survival, but chronic stress can be harmful. Managing stress can be obtained by the knowledgeable, well-trained, professional warrior.
Rule #9 Sensory Integration – This chapter discusses how our sensory systems work together. How our brains receive information from sight AND sound to produce a better understanding of our environment. Utilizing MORE senses will aid in our learning and solidify memories.
Rule #10 Vision – Dr. Medina discusses how as humans our most dominant sense is vision. However, we do not see with our eyes, but with our brains. We apply this concept when we teach students by using more pictures and videos to stimulate a better learning environment.
Rule #11 Gender – This chapter discusses how male and female brains are wired differently. The information provided can aid the combat profiler when eliciting information from males and females.
Rule #12 Exploration – This chapter discusses how we develop our brains by exploring the world around us. This gives us an understanding of mirror neurons, which we learn by watching someone else. It is important, when discussing certain topics to SHOW correct action. When we demonstrate a technique or introduce an optic to our students we utilize a format called E.D.I.P. EDIP stands for Explain, Demonstrate, Imitate, and Practice. This method allows us to take advantage of the “mirror” neurons that Dr. Medina describes.
We HIGHLY recommend this book in our reading list because it will give you an easy understanding of the Human Brain.