Last week, the Haberman Ilett Women’s Network hosted an event at which the speaker was Dr Helena Boschi, a psychologist who focuses on applied neuroscience in the workplace and the author of the recently published book ‘Why We Do What We Do’.

Introduced by Liz Perks, who founded the Haberman Ilett Women’s Network, Helena covered a number of interesting and entertaining topics, many of which particularly resonated with the audience:

  • Why we see what we expect to see – we filter information that comes in through our senses and we give it meaning based on the data we have already stored
  • How emotions drive many of our decisions and how we justify these decisions via post-hoc rationalisation
  • Why our attentional ability is limited and requires focus (much like a torch spotlight)
  • How much of our brain is visual and why language needs to be kept clear, simple and memorable
  • Why our brain has a negative bias and why it is important to foster positive relationships around us to maintain high levels of resilience

Alongside the humorous examples and exercises, Helena also talked about the effect that today’s world is having on a human brain that simply is not equipped to deal with the stress of modern life.  Rapid technological advances and associated increasing demands, coupled with pervasive social media, are contributing to rising incidents of anxiety and mental illness at home and at work.

To mitigate against the pressures of working life, Helena emphasised the importance of sleep, regular exercise, nutrition and environment.  Our biology and psychology are intertwined and one affects the other.  Exercise and good quality sleep help us think more clearly and we should never make an important decision when we are hungry!

Finally, Helena explained how attitudes are contagious and why it is important to consider the various touchpoints in our life. Every time we say and do anything it has an impact on the brainpower of those around us.  We can all choose what kind of a contagion we would like to be!

Thanks to everyone who attended and a special thank you to Dr Helena Boschi for such an interesting and informative session.  We look forward to seeing everyone at the next Haberman Ilett Women’s Network event.  Please email if you would like to be added to the mailing list.