Neurosociology is an aggregate study of the Human Condition.
That sounds both simple … and confusing … at the same time. Which tends to be the nature of the human condition. We desire diversity. We love to examine creativity. We set goals for a better future – growth, accomplishment, many forms of success. Yet everything within our 200,000 year history demands sameness and abhors change. Thus, humanity has always endeavored to understand how we function in order to overcome our self-imposed barriers to success.
Every species of plant and animal on planet earth is guided by genetic predispositions and environmental boundaries. Only humanity has found and continues to discover means to overcome those boundaries. The boundaries remain, we adapt or alter the conditions or create tools to overcome them. Humans are social beings, and it is in groups – families, teams, tribes, communities – that we continue to achieve monumental success.
In order to succeed in a world rapidly changed by technology, and affected by microscopic and macroscopic environmental factors, we need to learn to recognize ourselves and our alternatives far more clearly. Our strengths and our weaknesses. The threats and the opportunities. And to tackle them as have our ancestors – by accommodating positive change and adapting – ourselves and our environments.
Fields of Study
In order to understand individual and group motivators we need to blend a vast array of studies within the fields of:
- psychology – individual behavior
- physiology, neurology, and neurochemistry – genetic motivations and boundaries
- sociology – group characteristics
- anthropology and history – social foundations and motivations
During the 20th Century, most research focussed on external observation, behavior, and identification of anomalies. In the 21st Century we have access to understanding of the human genome, and the actual functioning of the human brain and mind (thanks to functional MRIs and other emerging medical technologies). We can begin to better understand, and expand, the boundaries of the Human Condition.
Recent Lessons Learned
… Or perhaps just better understood and confirmed:
- Change is Pain – the same neurotransmitters fire when change is mentioned or considered as when we are exposed to physical painful stimulae.
- Conflict – all social conflict arises from differences in perception, perspective, or design. Mirror neurons fire in less than .1 to .2 seconds, causing us to interpret the actions of others, accept or reject ideas, or people long before we are consciously aware. First impressions do make a difference – even more significantly than once understood.
- Communication channels – humans are incapable of multi-tasking. Instead we fast-switch. The human brain contains between 80 and 100 Billion neurons. We use about 2,000 in each conscious cycle (and millions subconsciously) at a rate between 1 and 100 cycles per second. Most sensory stimulae are captured subconsciously. When humans consciously communicate, we can handle between 20 and 30 channels of communication before we have to disconnect our focus from one channel set and fast-switch to another. Use the formula N times (N-1)/2 where N is a number of people communicating (including yourself). If N = 6, the number of channels is 18. If N = 8, the number of channels is 28. Teams of 8 or fewer individuals are the most efficient. Watch all the sub-discussions and distractions start when a meeting – or dinner party – exceeds 8 people…
- A tribe according to sociologists is a group of 20 to 250 people with a common goal. The ideal size tends to be around 75, above which tribes start to splinter as goals diverge. Recent brain studies show that the human brain ideally associates about 75 objects in a memory group, before outliers are mentally filed as part of a different association.
- And the lessons … and their bountiful applications toward greater human success … continue to multiply.