Discover a deeper level: Cognitive stimulation

Such is the overloaded and deeply competitive nature of our world, the need to understand how we learn plays a crucial role in helping people connect and engage with branded products and services.

To understand how to action this in creative work, we must first understand the basics of what we are dealing with; the human brain. From here we can discover what triggers engagement – paramount for Next-Gen Creativity.

Tuning out? Sort of…

We adapt very quickly to the stimuli that is presented to us. As we are presented with more and more forms of communication, we start switching off to messages that fail to stimulate us.

You will have experienced this yourself many times, scrolling past blogs, posts, adverts and so on. As this is happening, without even realising it, we are effectively training ourselves to become immune to the types of communication that we don’t need. This doesn’t mean that our brain completely ignores the stimuli that it’s presented with, sometimes this is stored for later reference.

Due to this, there is a very real need for people in the creative industry to understand how the brain is working, so that we can address the challenges it faces and become effective communicators.

Basic understanding

I will try to explain what is happening in basic terms:

The brain operates in two different states; pilot and autopilot. When we are operating in our pilot state, like choosing to engage with this article rather than skim read, we are choosing to learn. This cognitive process takes up vast amounts of energy. Once we have sufficient experience in something, this learning is transferred into our autopilot state.

Maybe you caught yourself reading that last paragraph twice, as you choose to engage with it. Maybe you were already engaged. Here’s an example of auto pilot working that you may be familiar with:

Did I…

A classic example autopilot being engaged is thinking; ‘Did I lock the front door on my way out just now’, only to check it and discover you did lock it. As you engage pilot mode the brain teaches you that you did in fact, lock the door. The fact that you acted twice to do the same thing, is evidence that two parts of your brain were operating at different points.

It’s much easier for us to operate using autopilot so the brain naturally finds the quickest and most energy efficient route to enable this to happen. Not only does autopilot free us up so we are able to continue learning and tackling new challenges that we face every day, it also requires a lot less energy which helps us to grow and develop as people.

The challenge

The challenge we face is coming up with ideas that will activate the pilot part of our brain. We can achieve this by stimulating the brain to learn. As we are naturally curious and want to learn (even if we are not consciously aware of this), this is nearly always possible.

This is understanding is part of our next-gen creative process, which is built in to every project, and it happens before visual design starts.


Written by: Simon Bell

Director, Sensation Creative Limited

If you have a project in mind, and would like Simon to take a look at it, you can email him directly:

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