20th Oct 2014

THECUBE has been researching how neuroscience can help education and innovation for the last four years and we are now launching our first application of our theory. We will be teaching cognitive skills based on neuroscience to students in the Publishing Course at London College of Communication.

This century is presenting us with ambiguous problems, which do not have one specific cause or can be  solved by a linear format. The main cause for these type of problems is that industries are crumbling at a rate faster than our brains can assimilate the changes. This is causing fear, confusion, and a halt of innovation across all industries.

The objective is to prepare the students for this type of disruption with cognitive tools and with innovating experts in the field from THECUBE community.

As a collective we will be teaching a total of 10 lectures for the third year BA in Publishing students, they crux of the lectures will be neuroscience, innovation, and enterprise.

For this week, we brought in Alex O’Byrne from WeMakeWebsites, who has been a member of THECUBE since its first year. WeMakeWebsites are focusing on the mechanics behind publishing digital content.

There is not a business that has not been affected by the digital age. Publishing, is one of the industries that has been significantly dismantled by the rise of digital technology. However, instead of cursing progress we must embrace it and ask, what can we do with online content that we could do before to attract more readers and enhance their viewer experience?

According to Alex here are the top ideas you can do

  • Make the content interesting, relevant, and in a format that is specifically desirable to your audience. For example, Buzzfeed appeals to the “bored at work network”, therefore the content has to be quick and entertaining.
  • Make the content easy to share. There is no point to have content out without the easy accessibility to sharing tools.
  • Create a format which trends the articles that your audience is finding most interesting.
  • Play with the format and use the tools, which are available to digital content.  One of the best examples to date is Pitchfork’s Daft Punk interview.
  • Avoid disruptive advertisement. Tie to the content, which means make it relevant as in the case of TED or VICE. The other choice is to have sponsored links as in the case of Buzzfeed.

Resources // Pitchfork /WeMakeWebsites

Neuroscience and digital perception – 27th Nov 2014

In our first lecture at LCC with the third year BA in Publishing, we uncovered the mechanisms behind perception and their correlation to publishing. There is a current impulse to fear the mental consequences of the digital era, with many programmes and books advocating digital detachment. However the important question is not how does the digital world harm us, it’s how will it change us. The brain has had millions of years of evolution in which time it has had to adapt to every changing environment. We have come a long way from simple bacterial organisms to humans, therefore a new bit of technology is no hard task for the brain.

Understanding how mechanisms like perception are changing will help us understand how to best serve the viewing audiences. Part of perception is attention, what we give our attention (top down) is dependant on what we prioritise. How we set hierarchy for top down attention is  dependent on things like culture, interests, and past experiences. Therefore, we the way see and perceive the digital world is still very much guided by our current non digital existence. This means that we still highly influence the digital content more than it influences us.

However, this is not for long, as the brain works like a feedback loop, it is also changing by how digital content is laid out. We are learning to scan versus gaze, which is breaking up how we take in information. The other mechanism that is changing is saccade frequency as we are having to intake more and more information in shorter periods of time.

Where the real change will start is when the digital natives start to interact with digital content as they will not have to translate one world to the other. They will simply create content directly to digital.