“T-R-E-E” A composition of symbols ever so subtly depicted in black against a lighter contrast. It signifies nothing until it is confronted by an individual who fathoms the English definition of the term. The definition: A woody perennial plant, having a single stem rising to a considerable summit and bearing tangential branches at particular distance from the land. However, when two individuals perceive the word “tree”, the representation etched in their mind is dissimilar from one another. In addition, the cerebral representation may be revised when the term is stumbled upon at a separate instance. The word may not have changed, nor does the sound of its pronunciation, yet the semblance may! How can that be explicated?

As one comprehends the word, memoirs transpire into consciousness contingent on the former encounters. Synaptic fibers discharge through the brain, swiftly migrating through pre-molded neuronal networks; inciting the most vivid memories of that specific object. The brain is not stagnant, it is constantly morphed based on novel assimilation of experiences. Hence, subject to the path the signal voyages in, different memories may be recalled in any given moment in time.


Go ahead and picture a tree in the forest.

Now, I want you to picture a fallen tree in that forest.

Most individuals would have envisioned two separate trees in this case, one that is standing straight, and a “different” tree that is horizontally positioned in the forest. This is due to the efficiency of our synaptic connections; firing through networks that previously imprinted the images of each scenario. Rarely does one deliberately and laboriously commits to mentally “restructuring” the first mental image in order to satisfy the task at hand. The level of brain function necessary to perform the task is more strenuous than ‘passively’ recalling an image of a fallen tree that one previously encountered.

The brain often functions ‘passively’ to be more efficient.


34 thoughts on “Brain Efficiency

  1. I happened to picture the same tree but in two different positions but as I read that most individuals would have pictured two distinct trees I had to ask myself why? Using evolutionary biology type thinking I would have to suggest that the tree that has fallen could be a ill or dead tree, that which was once a living tree and is no longer a tree in a living sense. So the default idea of tree is going with that which is in full vibrancy. I think the next thing to try to discover would be ideas on what a tree looks like and how much nurture has to do with what is pictured vs what is not? A tree in Africa might be different than a tree in the Andes depending one individual experience.

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  2. I love learning about how the brain works.My brain is so much smarter than I am and sometimes it’s too smart, doing things I don’t want it to do, making connections I wish it wouldn’t make. I pictured two trees – going for the efficiency, I guess 🙂

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  3. Now you are an inspiration to me, this post was amazing.I pictured fallen tree as horizontal and yes a vivid image of a beautiful tree (sort of Banyan tree) when I read that definition. Loved to know more about our Brain. Thanks for such a post. Looking Forward to read more from you! Take care. 🙂

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  4. Pingback: Brain Efficiency – Truth Troubles: Why people hate the truths' of the real world
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