Mathematics and the human brain
In one of my math classes, our professor mentioned some interesting studies by John Von Neumann and when I researched further, I found a study where he showed connections and similarities between our brain and mathematics. I have been studying mathematics for 7 years now, and lately, my interest in the connection between the brain and my field of study has increased. Given the complexity of our brain and the large number of calculations it performs in a short period of time, I became all the more curious to look into it more deeply.
How the brain works is still a mystery to many today. The human brain has a complex structure: to grasp the scope of this computing machine, one must realize that the brain is a vast network of densely interconnected cells consisting of about 171 trillion brain cells – about 86 billion neurons and another 85 billion non-neuronal cells. Between the neurons alone, there are about 10 quadrillion connections – that’s a 10 followed by 15 zeros.
I’m going to give you a little task.
Imagine biting into a lemon. How does that feel to you?
Even if you just imagine biting into a lemon, you have that sour taste in your mouth, you start producing saliva and immediately remember what it feels like.
But how can our brain recall memories and connections at any time?
So I did some further research regarding the connections between our brain and math. In one of his studies, Rick Hugainr, director of the Johns Hopkins Department of Neuroscience, presented memory as a neural connection. “Memories are who we are,” Huganir says. “But the formation of memories is also a biological process.”
He also mentioned, that even when we learn something as simple as a person’s name, we make connections between neurons in the brain. These synapses create new circuits between neurons, essentially rearranging the brain. The sheer number of possible connections gives the brain unimaginable flexibility – each of the brain’s 100 billion neurons can have 10,000 connections to other neurons.
Surprisingly, researchers are now exploiting the properties of certain types of cortical neurons and processes in the field of deep learning and artificial intelligence.
Our second brain hemisphere provides us with a brief change of pace – this is where emotions are primarily processed.
But how does the left brain perform compared to the right?
Our brain can essentially be divided into two areas – the rational brain, which is controlled by the prefrontal cortex, and the emotional side, which is controlled by the limbic system. All decisions related to goal setting, problem-solving, and planning are influenced by our prefrontal cortex, which is the rational brain. But the moment you get angry because someone was mean to you is more a task of your emotional brain.
There are some interesting theories about these distinctions.
The theory of the Elephant and the Rider
Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist at New York University, compares an elephant to the emotional side of our brain and the rider to its rational side.
It may seem that the rider is usually in charge and controls the elephant, but whenever a conflict arises between the two, the elephant wins. This theory is a metaphor for the emotional and the rational side of our brain.
Task: Can you imagine eating a chocolate cake in the middle of the night? Or putting off a confrontation to watch Netflix?
This is our emotional side winning over the rational. Behavioral changes occur when the elephant and the rider move together to achieve the goal. As the saying goes: “Direct the Rider, Motivate the Elephant, and Shape the Path”
Can my brain be reprogrammed for positive change?
There are so many other examples that confirm that people can reprogram their minds with strong positive emotions. I recently came across the book “The Choice” by Dr. Edith Eger. She was deported to Auschwitz in 1944 when she was 16 years old. Now 94 years old, she is a psychologist and has dedicated her career to treating patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
*Successful psychologist and world-renowned speaker Dr. Edith Eger is one of the last survivors of the Holocaust. Her harrowing story is a deeply moving testimony to the triumph of humanity over hatred and shows us that in life we always have the freedom to choose. In 1944, at the age of 16, Edith Eger was deported from her native Hungary to Auschwitz. There she had to suffer unimaginable things: She saw her mother go into the gas chamber and afterward had to dance in front of Josef Mengele. It’s a miracle that Edith survived the horrors of the National Socialist camps. In the USA, she built a new life for herself alongside her husband and became a psychologist and therapist. *
“Suffering is universal,” Edith says. She adds, “Victimhood is optional. It comes from within. We don’t become victims because of what happens to us, but when we choose to hold on to our victimization. A victim would normally say – why me? But a survivor would say, “Now what?”. She believes that her mind cannot be controlled by anyone but herself.
There is more scientific evidence that our brains can adapt to change throughout our lives. As the name suggests, neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to adapt.
Now the next big question is: Can we rewire our anxiety-related memories or traumatic experiences in life and form new connections in our brains? Research on neuroplasticity has shown us that our daily behaviors can have measurable effects on brain structure and function, which can enable healing and recovery from psychiatric disorders (Hellerstein, 2011).
A combination that makes the difference
The Emotional Training Program consists of various elements: Harmonies, Affirmations, Relaxation Exercises, and Negative & Positive Scenes (for addiction programs only).
The Harmonies are powerful emotional exercises that reduce anxiety and stress, boost self-confidence, and stimulate metabolism. The spoken visualizations and the film music composed especially for them trigger strong emotions in the listener and lead quickly and permanently to a positive change in behavior.
Why does this combination work?
There is a lot of scientific evidence that visualization, affirmations and music have a great impact on our brain, and our thoughts.
“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” ” – Earl Nightingale
And here are additional important rules for formulating your personal affirmations;
Do not use negations. Because the subconscious mind is not able to classify a negation.
To learn more about this, you can buy Dagmar Herzog’s e-book on “The Power of Emotions” or “Mental Slimming Training”.
“What you imagine, you create.” -Buddha
Your subconscious mind responds well to images. Visualization is a great way to program your mind with positive, encouraging images. Try spending 10-15 minutes a day imagining positive scenes that show you and your life experiences.
Music According to studies, music has various positive effects on our brain, such as the following.