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Study: Emotion Rules the Brain's Decisions

The evidence has been piling up throughout history, and now neuroscientists have proved it's true: The brain's wiring emphatically relies on emotion over intellect in decision-making...

"The study is a very nice application of recent knowledge we've acquired about healthy cognition and emotion," says neuroscientist Antonio Damasio of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles...

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Discover How to Successfully Market Your Business with Twitter

By Jonathan Jordan, Business Coach

Just about 12 months ago, I knew nothing about Twitter. Now I have over 61,000 followers – and I attract about 200 new followers every day.

Originally, in order to figure out what worked, and what didn’t work, on Twitter, I created a test account for my dog; KatieBichon is her Twitter user name. Through testing and measuring, trail and error, I grew KatieBichon’s account to over 7,000 followers in less than 6 weeks. Now KatieBichon has become a minor celebrity in Twitter and a spokesperson - spokesdog - for a number of dog-related charities. (Currently, KatieBichon has over 47,000 followers.)

After achieving success with KatieBichon, I focused on my business’s “real” Twitter account, MindfullyChange. Unexpectedly, this resulted in a 1,700% increase of traffic to our business website, Of course, as traffic increases to our website, so does our business. Our Twitter strategy is more than paying for itself.

The 3 key areas of focus in growing and managing a Twitter account:

1. Acquisition of Followers
2. Quality of Updates (Tweets)
3. Responsiveness & Influence

1. Acquisition of Followers

This is the main key to successful use of Twitter. Few or no followers will result in few or no responses regardless of the quality of your updates. Therefore, acquiring followers is essential to market and/or be influential in Twitter.

The main way to acquire followers in Twitter is to first follow others. Of those you follow, many will follow you back. So who you follow determines who will follow you back. Therefore, it is very important to select Twitter accounts you really want to follow you. For example, when growing my dog’s account I searched for veterinarians in Twitter then followed their followers. I figured that people following veterinarians probably had an interest in animals and would be likely to follow a dog – apparently, this strategy worked. The level of response to your updates is greatly dependant on having the right people following you. Do not blindly follow just anyone on Twitter.

1. Quality of Updates

Surprisingly, by testing and measuring, I have discovered that actual Twitter updates (Tweets) attract few new followers. I estimate that well designed updates attract maybe 17% more new followers. However, good quality updates retain followers and make them more likely to “click” on links provided in the updates, which is a key element in responsiveness. The higher the quality of your updates, the more influential you will be in Twitter. Quality updates can include useful tips in your area of expertise, links to online articles and blogs that would be of interest to your followers, humor, motivational quotes, and public-service type announcements. What you had for breakfast is really not appropriate for an update. With the right mix of content your followers will begin to look forward to your Tweets.

3. Responsiveness & Influence

If you’re using Twitter to grow your business and/or attract visitors to your website or blog, responsiveness and influence are key to your success. Without responsiveness or influence you are probably just wasting your time – and the time of your followers. Responsiveness is measured by how many people do what you want them to do. For example, if you want people to click a link to an announcement on your website, the more people that do so the greater the responsiveness. One way influence can be measured is by the number of “retweets” your updates receive. A retweet is when someone else on Twitter repeats your update so it is seen by that person’s followers, too. Wouldn’t it wonderful to have others retweet your updates that promote your business, website or blog? Essentially, they are marketing for you and it costs you nothing!

In order to prevent Twitter and other social media activities becoming a huge distraction to you and your business, it is a good idea to keep your business purpose in mind. Always focus on what it is you’re attempting to achieve and measure your results to make sure you are achieving those goals. And don’t forget to have some fun along the way!

For more information about how you can be successful in Twitter, contact me now… or phone +1 (321) 214-5824

Brain Functions That Improve with Age

(For the original article, click here)

"Can I still compete?"

It's a question many of us increasingly ask as we reach middle age.

We watch younger colleagues master new computer systems with ease or pull all-nighters with nary a hair out of place and — quite naturally — we're concerned.

Luckily, recent research in brain science suggests that perhaps we should fret less.

Over the past few years, neuroscientists have begun to zero in on the brain's changes in middle age, and what they've found is encouraging. Results of long-term studies show that — contrary to stereotypes — we actually grow smarter in key areas in middle age which, with longer life spans, now stretches from our mid 40s to our mid to late 60s.

In areas as diverse as vocabulary and inductive reasoning, our brains function better than they did in our 20s. As we age, we more easily get the "gist" of arguments. Even our judgment of others improves. Often, we simply "know'' if someone — or some idea — is to be trusted. We also get better at knowing what to ignore and when to hold our tongues.

Not long ago, a mid-level executive told me how he'd recently changed the way he deals with younger colleagues. When gathered to discuss a problem, he keeps his "mouth shut'' and listens. Even though — more often than not — he has a good solution, he waits. He does not speak.

"I find it works best if I let the younger workers talk first, wrestle with the problem in their own way,'' he told me. "Then after a while, I say what I think might work. I'm not sure why, but this seems to work best and to help us all learn and solve the problem better.''

In fact, though he did not realize it, the executive was using the best parts of his calmer and more experienced middle-aged brain to help him manage his situation — and get better results.

It's true that by midlife our brains can show some fraying. Brain processing speed slows down. Faced with new information, we often cannot master it as quickly as our younger peers. And there's little question that our short-term memories suffer. It's easy to panic when you find you can't remember the name of that person you know in the elevator, or even the movie you saw last week.

But it turns out that such skills don't really matter that much. By midlife our brains have developed a whole host of talents that are, in the end, just as well suited to navigating the modern, complex workplace. As we age, we get better at seeing the possible. Younger brains, predictably, are set up to focus on the negative and potential trouble. Older brains, studies show, often reach solutions faster, in part, because they focus on what can be done.

By the time we reach middle age, millions of patterns have been established in our brains, and these connected pathways provide invaluable perspective — even when it's subconscious. For instance, some middle-aged managers I've spoken with talked about how solutions seem to "pop'' into their heads "like magic.''

It doesn't come from magic, of course, but from the very real — and often unappreciated — talents of our middle-aged brains.

Barbara Strauch is a deputy science editor and health and medical science editor at The New York Times and author of The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind (Viking), coming out in April.