«The heart doesn’t feel. What really feels is the brain.» Neuroeducation, entrepreneurship and talent.

Fabricio Ballarini, neuroscientist speaks with Juan Carlos Cubeiro, Head of talent of Manpower Group

Fabricio Ballarini

The heart doesn’t feel. What really feels is the brain. The heart only beats. The surprise generated by an impact activates the record button in our brain. Memory is in the neurons. When you try to transfer short-term memory to long-term memory through surprises, the result is an increase in memory capacity. We can manipulate memories through surprise for educational purposes.

There are at least two types of memory: short-term (from 20 to 30 minutes) and long-term (which lasts for years and perhaps a lifetime). One can save emotional information: the first kiss, the first job, an attack. This is saved in the long-term memory. Short-term memory can be manipulated with surprise.

Memory is not individual. It is in other people. Information can be saved in others, people who are close, relatives, co-workers, etc. At times, meeting childhood companions gives rise to memories we thought were forgotten. We are social beings and need to be in contact. We have a collective memory, as a society, and also as a planet.

In the field of education, should we cause stress to improve performance? At some point we need certain levels of stress, so that students, when they leave school, can deal with daily problems. Acute stress, however, impedes learning. The stress of a surprise examination can be very detrimental when it comes to recollection, however much a student has studied the subject. Instead, taking mock exams before the real exam relieves stress.

Although much appears to be known about curiosity, in reality it is very little. Using gamification or positive stimuli, taking part in a project, generating motivation and curiosity, all improve learning. When we create, when we analyse, we use the whole brain, both hemispheres, and we are using 100% of our brain all the time. States of curiosity generate a network of activity.

As we grow we lose curiosity and capacity for surprise. Everything becomes routine and routine feels good because it takes stress away. We gain in peace of mind but lose out in curiosity and surprise. In schools that generate projects and new ideas, if the subject is taught differently every year, the learning improves.

Memories are stored in neuronal connections. Our brain is very good at associating information, but not at storing it. A mobile is much better for storing information. We should associate the learning intertwined in subjects. We have a lot of available information, which is a great advantage but also a considerable disadvantage. We are involved in transacting memory with mobiles and Internet. Within 10 or 15 years nobody will want to store information. Ideas are associated through knowledge that we have stored. We should understand that although learning is not the same as memory, we do need memory for learning. We must emphasise the importance of memory.


Juan Carlos Cubeiro

The potential of visualisation: the prophecies you make for yourself are then fulfilled.

Unappreciated talent depreciates and shrinks.

We need to find our passion, our primary emotion.

Teachers should excel by example, and from that point onwards the magic of life continues.

Educating means hope.