Tag: Cognition


Humantific at Google New York City

Elizabeth Pastor Presents!

Humantific CoFounder Elizabeth Pastor gave an informal Humantific talk today at Google here in New York City.

Lots of interest in the NextDesign Geographies Framework… Design 1,2,3,4.

Lots of interest in Upstream and Downstream methods.

Lots of interest in learning more about how to bring understanding of cognitive/thinking styles into cross-disciplinary team consciousness.

If you would like Elizabeth to come and give an inspirational Humantific talk to your in-house group on topics such as SenseMaking for ChangeMaking, Building Inclusive Innovation Culture, Upstream Challenge Framing, or Rethinking Design Thinking, feel free to send us an email: kickitup (at) humantific (dot) com.

If you are an organizational leader and would like to join our Friends of Humantific LinkedIn Group feel free to send us an email. 🙂


Study Confirms Brain Blending


Long taught in leading Innovation Bootcamps a recent two year study by neuroscientists Jared A. Nielsen and Jeffrey S. Anderson at University of Utah confirms the notion that we are all a “blend” rather than strickly right-brained or left-brained.

The facinating research published in the journal Plos One focused on studying the brain activity of 1,000 people ages 7 to 29 years while lying quietly or reading.

With the outcome of this study being creatively redepicted by numerous bloggers with various agendas it is also worthy of note, in the interest of accuracy, what the study was not focused on and was not investigating.

This study was not focused on looking at thinking or problem solving preferences, i.e.: the notion of adult humans having preferences for certain types of thinking activities over others.

This study was not focused on looking at the organizational implications of thinking preferences, i.e.: the effects of preferences on values, rewards, processes, behaviors and cultures.

This study was not focused on looking at the implications of thinking preferences in the context of innovation, i.e.: the effects of preferences on an organizations ability to build innovation / change-making capacity.

View the study here in Plos One Journal




Creating CLEAR Instructions 5 Tips


New research findings supporting longstanding Visual SenseMaking practices:

Recently published in Scientific American MIND: A Recipe for Motivation: Easy to Read, Easy to Do

“Psychologists are very interested in the complex interplay of effort, motivation and cognitive crunching—the ease with which we think about a task in our mind.”

Two psychologists at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor decided to investigate this idea [Mentally Palatable Instructions] in their lab. Hyunjin Song and Norbert Schwarz wanted to see if they could motivate a group of 20-year-old college students to exercise regularly.

They gave all the students written instructions for a regular exercise routine, but they used a simple yet ingenious method to make the how-to instructions either cognitively palatable or challenging: some received instructions printed in Arial typeface, a plain font designed for easy reading; others got their instructions printed in a Brush font, which basically looks as if it has been written by hand with a Japanese paintbrush—it is unfamiliar and much harder to read.

There are many ways to make something mentally palatable—or not. You can use clear, straightforward language or arcane vocabulary words; simple sentences or convoluted sentences with lots of clauses.

The findings were remarkable. Those who had read the exercise instructions in an unadorned, accessible typeface were much more open to the prospect of exercising: they believed that the regimen would take less time and that it would feel more fluid and easy. Most important, they were more willing to make exercise part of their day.”

5 Humantific Tips for Creating CLEAR Instructions

1. Consider Information Overload
Keep in mind that reading your instructions is only one of many streams of information your audience is digesting today.

2. Consider Cognitive Priorities
If you make your instructions clear then your users can spend their not unlimited brainpower on more value creating innovation focused tasks.

3. Think Chunks
Break your instructions down into easily digestible chunks.

4. Think Visual
Recognize that not all humans navigate complexity via words alone. High quality visual models accompanying text can ease and accelerate cognition.

5. Think Systems
Try not to create instructions that have no visual relationship to anything else that the users are accustomed to. Think of your instructions as part of a system.

For more information regarding how Humantific UnderstandingLab services can help your organization contact programs (at) humantific (dot) com