How does brain works?

The brain likes to minimize energy usage because the brain developed at a time when metabolic resources were scarce. So there is a slight discomfort involved in putting effort into thinking, or any other activity that uses metabolic resources.

Prioritizing is one of the brain's most energy-hungry processes.

As soon as you repeat an activity even just a few times, the basal ganglia start to take over. The basal ganglia, and many other brain regions, function beneath conscious awareness.

The stage is what you focus on at any one time, and it can hold information from the outside world, information from your inner world, or any combination of the two. Once actors get on the stage of your attention there are lots of interesting things you can do with them. To understand a new idea, you put new actors on the stage and hold them there long enough to see how they connect to audience members—that is, to information already in your brain.

To make a decision, you hold actors onstage and compare them to one another, making value judgments.

These five functions, understanding, deciding, recalling, memorizing, and inhibiting, make up the majority of conscious thought.

The main mental processes relevant to getting work done are understanding, deciding, recalling, memorizing, and inhibiting.

Understanding a new idea involves creating maps in the prefrontal cortex that represent new, incoming information, and connecting these maps to existing maps in the rest of the brain.

Making a decision involves activating a series of maps in the prefrontal cortex and making a choice between these maps.

Recalling involves searching through the billions of maps involved in memory and bringing just the right ones into the prefrontal cortex.

Memorizing involves holding maps in attention in the prefrontal cortex long enough to embed them in long-term memory.

Inhibiting involves trying not to activate certain maps.

You were born with the capacity to create internal representations of the outside world in your brain, called "maps." (These maps are sometimes called networks or circuits. Maps develop based on what you pay attention to over time.

Minimize danger, maximize reward’ is the organizing principle of the brain.

Certainty is a primary reward or threat for the brain. Autonomy, the feeling of control, is another primary reward or threat for the brain.

Your brain automatically orients toward events, people, and information that connects to what you have valued positively.

Expectations are the experience of the brain paying attention to a possible reward (or threat). Expectations alter the data your brain perceives. It's common to fit incoming data into expectations and to ignore data that don't fit. Expectations can change brain functioning; the right dose of expectations can be similar to a clinical dose of morphine.

You use one set of brain circuits for thinking about people who you believe are like you, who you feel are friends, and a different set for those whom you view as different from you, as foes. When your brain decides someone is a friend, you process your interactions using a similar part of the brain you use for thinking about your own experience.

One of the first things to discover upon exploring the brain is just how much it appears to be like a machine. So much of your mental activity is automatic, driven by forces out of your control, often in reaction to predefined goals, such as maintaining status or certainty.

--David Rock