Mirror Neurons

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This is the 48th episode of the Mind Your Noodles podcast. In this episode, discusses a relatively recent discovery – mirror neurons. Sign-up for The 95 Method education and training program at Mind Your Noodles.com/training.

Show Notes

Mind Your Noodles – Episode 48

Mirror Neurons

Mirror Neuron – Definition

Positive Attitudes vs. Bad System – Who Wins?

Non-Monetary Rewards and the Brain

Compassion Fatigue

Methods to Engage People, Improve Systems and Energize Customers



Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:06] Take care of the brains that take care of you with the Mind Your Noodles podcast. We keep you up to date on the latest neuroscience research and practices to keep your brain healthy and strategies to help your organization be brain friendly.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:27] Hi, I’m Tripp Babbitt, host of the Mind Your Noodles podcast, and this is the 40th episode we’ll be talking about mirror neurons in this episode.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:38] So I was I was doing some research on organizational neuroscience. And one of the things that kept coming up and actually I’ve seen this and several of the books that I’ve read is this concept of mirror neurons. Now, it’s relatively recent discovery, if you will, came out in the nineteen ninety two paper.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:01:02] An experimental brain research is is where the paper was is located and that basically what mirror neurons do is they’re hard wired pieces in our brain are limp, they call limbic synchrony and they’re highwire hardwired into our brain so that we mimic things.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:01:26] So let me give you some examples. Be probably the best way to explain this. So if you’ve sat in a group and one person yawns and, you know, then another person yawns and then pretty much everybody’s yawning after a period of time, this is the effect of mirror neurons. Another scenario that helps explain it is, you know, when you’re watching a movie I was watching actually Blue Bloods last night and lady gets hit by a van. I mean, it’s was shocking and jarring and it’s almost like I felt it while the mirror neurons actually, from what you observe, imitate in your brain. The same effect as if it really happened. And this is the really interesting thing about neurons in our brain can mimic these things almost instantaneously. You know, as we observe something that’s going on now, obviously mirror neurons play a role. And as with imitation and learning and people have actually talked about it as potentially a gateway into mind reading. Now, a lot of critics associated with that. And there’s not enough evidence from the research I’ve been reading and from the people that I follow in the neuroscience community to say that the mirror neurons are part of a mind reading type of scenario. But, you know, as am I reading about the mirror neurons, they play a tremendous role in our ability to learn because we learn to mimic things. If we can think in terms of a baby watching you and observing you and will mirror a lot of the things that you do. So it becomes a very important thing from a mimicking standpoint.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:03:22] Now, operational definition wise, it’s watching someone do some kind of action. The neurons fire as if they are actually doing it. That’s in essence the M.O. of a of the mirror neurons. So, you know, a lot of people, I think kind of extrapolate out when we’re talking turns that mirror neurons. This is where a lot of the people use these. Now, with this relatively new research to say, well, if you smile, somebody else will smile back. Well, that’s relatively true. Or if you joke, you know, there’s a lot of things associated with the mirror neurons where we’re extrapolating, where maybe there is an actual research, research associated with it. Now, I’m not disputing that somebody smile, somebody else smiles type of thing. But where I see it more often than not is. All you have to do is display a positive attitude. And, you know, that is catching well with other people. And I think it is to a certain degree. But if you’re working in a poorly designed system that doesn’t allow you to, you know, be curious and it’s kind of, you know, do your job, you can be as positive as you want. If it’s crappy system, it’s crappy system. And people that’s going to wear people down, they might say, oh, well, that person’s nice.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:04:56] And but I think organizations have a tendency to overvalue someone’s ability to just have a positive attitude. And that’s one of the reasons why I focus so much on building when we’re building a brain friendly organization that the system allows and unlocks parts of the brain so that you can be brain friendly from the standpoint of not just a positive attitude, because this is all kind of singularly focused on. Individual folk as well. Things are falling around up about you. But if you have a positive attitude and all that, same people don’t like that. I’m just saying it doesn’t go far enough. If your if you’re someone I’m managing has a very positive attitude, it can certainly have some great effect. But you’ve got to have method, too. You’ve got to have theory. You have got to have something to offer others and just a positive attitude to move folks forward.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:05:56] So a lot of the reasons why focus in on the system that’s designed, that that’s allowed. Because if it’s a crappy system, no matter how positive an attitude, you are gonna wear you down ultimately. So there’s a lot of connection, you know, and association with. You know, if you’re watching a movie seats, you know, one of the characters maybe you just kind of liked as the movie went. Also, then they get shot or something. And so this this feeling of kind of empathy, this these mirror neurons firing, firing off have a lot to do also with the social aspects that we’ve talked about quite a bit.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:06:39] And so we’re looking for ways to be more social and our environments and people kind of place a lot of emphasis on empathy. Oh, if you’re a leader, you need to be empathetic. I think we’re all empathetic to a certain degree. But again, it gets back to the system that we work in. So I just kind of wrote something down. It basically says, as I was, I was as I was reading these about mirror neurons. I said some folks place great emphasis on positive outlooks and see these people as extremely valuable. You know, where sunnier disposition type of mentality. And I just wrote. I disagree. You have to have an organizational system with methods that move us closer to strong social systems because with 70 percent of employees, more get more engaged and energized and using implying the skills that we have and developing new ones. So it’s it’s tapping into all of those things that we have around curiosity and wanting to explore and doing something bigger than ourselves from a purpose perspective.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:07:57] Those are all things that your system needs to be able to have. And I just don’t think that one person can have enough fact as the system that you’ve built will have on an organization as a whole, that this starts to get into some of the things that we talked about back in episode 30. Also, when we talk in terms of that rewards are brain friendly, non-monetary rewards that are more effective than monetary rewards because we value things were imitating and we’re learning social skills and being empathetic and things of that sort. We want to focus in on the non-monetary types of rewards. But I don’t want to dispute at all. And I’ve talked about this before. Yes. Give me a million dollars and I’ll be, you know, very happy. But it’s very short term in nature. And I don’t think any of us would turn down a million dollars. But typically in a bonus or reward situation, nobody’s giving us a million dollars. So might give us a thousand dollars or five thousand dollars or ten thousand dollars, but that the more effective long term types of rewards that we we want to have an organization are the things we talked about an episode 30 about the social types of things that if we get clarity about what the future is, if we give up personal control over our participation in our work and how it’s designed and made up, that people treat us fair, that they’re honorable, that there’s equity within the organization.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:09:45] These are very brain friendly things. We also talked about caring for others and our ability to connect with others and employees and customers for that matter. And, you know, one of the things I read an article I was was doing another article while I was researching this about something called compassion fatigue. And I believe that this is really something that exists within an organization, especially for a customer facing types of employees. Remember, I’ve talked about our systems are so designed with the functional separation. Work into different areas that we get a call into a contact center. The person who’s helping you wants to be helpful. They want to see see things through the end and know that you were taken care of.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:10:41] But that rarely happens really in a contact center. I mean, we’ve all experienced that call a cable company or H. Fact company personally.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:10:48] Initial we initially talked to we probably never talk to again, but it’s this you become emotionally overwhelmed. Somebody is mad on the phone because they didn’t get what they want. I mean, it does. There’s a burnout factor. And we’re talking back to the last two episodes about cortisol and the burnout that you get associates associated with, you know, being emotionally overwhelmed all the time.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:11:15] And so we have to design these systems where we’re helping a customer and that we know or can’t see it come through to the end. Otherwise, it’s just kind of like an open ended thing and it goes off to another department. And we never know until maybe the customer calls back and it starts screaming at us for, you know, I talked us so and so and they weren’t able to help me at all. And, you know, your company is ridiculous. And that and those types of comments that really where I knew as far as a contact center person, it’s a rough job. And it’s not just the contact centers, it’s anybody that’s customer facing that is going to be on the frontline of and get the ire of a customer that didn’t get what they wanted out of out of your system. So this is why am I so focused on building this training that I’m record making the recordings on now is giving you the tools to be able to build a brain friendly organization so we can have innovation that unlocks your curiosity and you’re willing in your oneness to explore rather than just do your job types of, you know, rules and procedures and things of that sort. Being able to connect back with the customer and a lot of the beginning portions of the training have to do with the customer lens and being able to see the customer and you know, how things are able to come to an end.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:12:56] And are. Are we saving? Are we serving a greater purpose in what we’re doing? That we’re realize our blind spots associated with our decision making. We’ve got to have methods for these things. We also have to have methods around how we use data and the data analytics associated with it. And then also how do we design the organization so it is responsive to customers. So we don’t have compassion fatigue where we’re we’ve burnt out our empathy and our cortisol is overwhelming our system, too. All these are have negative effects on the organization. But like I said, if you read anything in neuroscience nowadays, you’re probably going to see something on mirror mirror neurons and they haven’t been around for a lot. A lot of people, when they first get something like mirror neurons, think that this is going to be, you know, we get into the mind reading type of thing and and all of that. But it’s certainly something that you should know. For me, organizations, some a conversation that we just had and I think it will be helpful to you knowing that mirror neurons are functioning. Highwire They’re hardwired in our system. They help us learn. Alter our life there. It’s a constant thing. And helping to develop new neurons and new new synapses that are basically form new thinking and and new skills and things of that sort.So that’s it for this week.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:14:44] Hi, this is Tripp Babbitt. I’d like to inform you that I will be releasing some of the videos of how to use the ninety five method in order to achieve a brain friendly organization within the next month and a half. There’ll be some free videos to give you a sense of what the training is about, and then also a little of the background behind the training itself. So if you’re interested and be notified of any updates as far as the training availability, the pricing that I’ll be releasing the next month and a half or so. Then sign up at Mind Your Noodles dot com forward slash training.


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