Tweets are from the Reptilian Side of the Brain

NOTE: This article was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Thank you Twitter for providing a microphone for the human reptilian brain.

Tweet technology allows people to type a sudden thought (often not well formed) at any time, or any place on their always present cell phones.

This ease of expression means that most tweets are a reptilian or “fight-or-flight” emotional response from someone’s amygdala which is a small (emphasis on the word “small”) mass of gray matter inside the brain.

These tweets are impulse responses instead of well thought out responses from the reasoning brain (the large neocortex).

Creative Brain and the amygdalaThe primary role of the amygdala is the processing of emotional impulses including fear, anxiety, and aggression, it is not for communicating with other humans.

When impulse-based tweets come from national or corporate leaders it can result in irresponsible messages that can lead to mass confusion and start the spread of harmful rumors. When these tweets come from friends or loved ones, it can result in hurt feelings and sadness.

If President Lincoln were alive, he would say, “Before you send an angry tweet, write your tweet carefully (using a quill pen) on a piece of paper, then throw it into the trash can.”

President Lincoln

To rephrase Winston Churchill’s quote, “If I had more time, I would have written a better tweet.”

The bottom line is “Think before you tweet,” so that you don’t have to recover from an offensive tweet with, “I meant say that you are a mother forklift.”

If you have a comment, please send me an email since I do not read tweets.

Curtis Panasuk teaches corporate creativity workshops to make your teams better out-of-the-box problem solvers.

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