By TONY OLEJNICKI inspired by Dr. Michael Anderson
I was inspired by Dr. Anderson research documented in his book After Phrenology: Neural Reuse and the Interactive Brain and his explanation of modern understanding of how the brain works. I connected that immediately with work of Dr. Marc Hamilton on the office immobility a basis of the QLS Program. It was a Eureka moment for me when I fully understood how both concepts can revolutionize the Quality Lifestyle for most of the people.
Michael Anderson is a modern day Leonardo Da Vinci with a diverse background with no dogmatic views on what is suppose to be true. He started as a pre-med undergraduate at Norte Dame followed by a Ph.D. in philosophy and postdoc in computer science specialized in Artificial Intelligence.
The research by Dr. Anderson measured, quantified and applied new angle on how the brain works. He discovered that our minds are connected to the physical world by interacting, touching and manipulating things rather than storing things in ‘memory’ and recalling computer-like on demand. We are all familiar with a fallacy that we are using only 10% of our brain and this is why we have geniuses, who can use 100%. Nature is very efficient with resources so why should be so wasteful with the brain? And of course, it is not.
At first approximation, we know that the brain is a collection of very specialized organs dedicated to some very particular kind of processing or kind of perceptual mode such as vision, touch, language etc. The neurons connect and form partnerships, which can get stronger or fade. This is called neuroplasticity.
This was a foundation for a next step called neural reuse which explained how these specialized areas collaborate.
Dr. Anderson has connected these two stories in 15 years of research and discovered that these two mechanisms interact, collaborate and form sophisticated organizations which lead to the complex brain functionality.
Parts of the brain involved in things like motor control or basic perception are also important to the higher order of thinking like language and mathematics. It is well documented that the task of naming tools activates places involved in motor manipulation.
People with vision when reading Braille while blindfolded use vision parts of the brain but if reading with eyes open uses a different part of the brain.
The brain has some storage capacity and stores mental representations, affordances, for future manipulations. If we look at a doorknob we instantly associate it with a rotation. In mathematics, we solve algebraic equations based on patterns and precedents.
The chess player resolves his moves based on few successful patterns he remembers and associates them with the current pattern. He doesn’t need to remember a large number of patterns just a few making sense. The computer, on the other hand, relies on millions stored patterns and matches them a current pattern.
The language and mathematics are a collection of affordance manipulation tools. The language is super powerful as it allows us to manipulate each other affordances, which is going to change their behavior, including their verbal behavior. So our language development is deeply rooted in our social interactions.
Living in a frugal nature we face ‘USE IT OR LOOSE IT’ paradigm every day. This is why sitting in a chair for 8-10 hour per day leads to sedentary conditions and intellectual deterioration.
1 hour of vigorous exercise per day by no means compensates for 8-10 hours sitting. It slows deterioration process to some extent but it is too hard for most of the people and therefore not sustainable.
The QLS Program design based on office immobility studies and validated by neural research is a sustainable way to prevent sedentary conditions and improve mental cognition, creativity, and productivity.
Tony Olejnicki – an engineer, writer, motivator and exercise physiologist specializing in high altitude training – is the creator of IMA (Infinite Mountain Adventure), an inspirational company helping professional working in an office environment to improve life quality and experience a motivational Himalayan adventure.
Contact IMA for a free consultation about the personalized transition QLS Program to mobility in your workplace.
(1)Brain Science Podcast Episode 124: Neural Reuse and Embodied Cognition
(2) Dr. Michael Anderson, After Phrenology: Neural Reuse and the Interactive BrainAfter Phrenology: Neural Reuse and the Interactive Brain, MIT Press.