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New #Painting! The #brain and negative vs positive thoughts #sciart

When someone says to you “Don’t look over there.” What’s the first thing you do? You look over there (or at least have a strong desire to)! Of course, because for our minds, it’s easier to process something positive rather than negative.

Let’s test this…You do NOT want to read the rest of this post….

There are several interesting things that happen to the brain when we’re faced or are thinking about negative versus positive thoughts. We’ll get to that in a bit within this post and you are welcome to add your thoughts to the comments section.

Cognitive Dissonance
20″ x 20″
Acrylic on Canvas
2013 ©Michelle Hunter

About the Painting
There are a few things happening within this painting.
The brain is divided into two lengthwise. On the right side of the brain are words we can associate as positive like “Can,” “Yes,” “Welcome” and “Good” (these words could just have easily been on the left side also). As these words approach the brain, they are being absorbed. That can be seen around the words “Can” and “Welcome.”
On the other side of the brain we have negative words like “Can’t,” Shouldn’t” and “Bad.” Those words are crashing into a brick wall as the brain does not want to accept these terms.

When I first started the painting, I just intended to have the letters work into each other, like “Good” is connected to the word “Should” through the common letter “o.” Then I started thinking about that a little more. Usually when we’re children, it seems like we’re always told not to do something. While that was probably in our own best interest so we don’t break something or don’t get hurt, there is probably a more constructive way to get the message across. As noted at the beginning of the post, what are you most likely to do when you are told not to do something – you want to do it! Why is that you shouldn’t? With that in mind, I formed the letters as building blocks that children usually play with. Perhaps instead of saying “Don’t do ____[Fill in the blank]_____]” a request can be framed as “How about you do this instead, and this is why.…” or “This is really dangerous because….”

About the Brain and Negative/Positive Thoughts
There are several interesting things that happen to the brain when we’re faced or are thinking about negative versus positive thoughts. We’ll get to that in a bit within this post and you are welcome to add your thoughts to the comments section.
One aspect of negative thoughts is how they limit you. Not just in thinking “I can’t do __[fill in the blank]____” but also with we feel that we have to make an impulse decision based on fear. Imagine you are faced with something scary, like we are witnessing an incident happening or feel like an incident is about to happen. What do you do in that moment?
Such a setting can trigger our flight or fight response. Forget all the possibilities of getting out of the situation if we were in a clear mindset, we just want to get the hell away. Our options, as a result, become limited; any other options for escaping a situation don’t matter. That’s one of the reasons a brick wall is running along the side of the brain being hit with negative words. We’re in a fight to protect ourselves so nothing from the outside (no other opinions or considerations) is going to make it into my thoughts.
DETAIL – Cognitive Dissonance
20″ x 20″
Acrylic on Canvas
2013 ©Michelle Hunter

Another aspect is that it’s easier for the brain to process positive thoughts versus negative. For some people, their minds actually ignore the negative leaving them with just positive or neutral thoughts. 

The information we are exposed to goes through a process involving our frontal lobe in a effort to decide if this information will influence a decision we have to make. Information that in line with how a person already feels could be weighted more than information that is contradictory. Our brain can certainly be bias whether we are aware of that or not. Think about it…..

Now I’m sure you don’t want to share this post with one other person right?

Happy thinking!

Michelle Hunter 
Exploring Neuroscience Through Art
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