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Who are you?
We are a Boston-based nonprofit that is building a culture where people can talk about their differences on conversation as a time. With project work around the world, we teach people to address conflict around deeply held differences and hold dialogues in which bitter adversaries are able to discuss highly-emotional issues such as abortion, civil war, immigration, child labor and sexuality.
What do you need?
We are producing a series of training videos for communities engaged in conflict. The full series will be used by professionals in the conflict resolution field, while a special edition will be distributed to communities who desperately need the ability to talk about challenges that are dividing them.
We need illustrations of the brain that will be animated in a way that illustrates the following principles; the different areas of the brain need to be clearly drawn and labeled. We'll be using animation to show the different areas of the brain taking over during a difficult conversation and the ways connections are broken when we're in flight/freeze mode.
Why do we attack, withdraw or freeze during times when clearly we would be better served by remaining calm and thoughtful? We have a triune brain. The brainstem, limbic system, and prefrontal cortex play important and very divergent roles in how we react; which of the three is in charge depends on the level of perceived threat.
The brainstem, which is sometimes referred to as the reptilian brain, prompts a flight-fight-freeze response to danger. Its the most primitive area of the brain, focused on basic survival needs such as food, shelter, reproduction and safety.
The limbic system, or mammalian brain, is associated with emotions and attachments. It gives meaning to our feelings, and evaluates whether a situation feels safe. In certain situations it may trigger fearful memories. Because it sometimes cannot differentiate between a past danger and a safe present, it can replay its response to a previous dangerous event during a harmless moment.
The [pre-frontal] cortex, unique to primates, is the most evolved part of our brain. It is here that we create a sense of self, develop insight and empathy, and form moral judgments. This area enables us to pause before we act, reflect, and focus our attention.
The thoughtful behavior typical of our day-to-day life requires connection (vertical integration) between all three parts of the brain as well as communication between the emotional left and rational right hemispheres.
Ideally, the prefrontal cortex assimilates all the information it receives and responds by sending neuronal messages to the other parts of the brain and the body. When the limbic system senses danger, it will override the prefrontal cortex, and send alarms to the entire system. These alarms influence how we feel, think, and act.
When our pre-frontal cortex is active and in charge, the brain is at its most effectiveit is able to reflect, organize, be creative, think, and listen. Yet, when we become flooded, and feel extreme threatwhen we most need to be able to thinkour reptilian brainthe one thats wired to fight, flight or freezehijacks our thoughts, feelings and behavior.
In that state, we cannot access our thinking brain; were unable to listen and learn. We shut down and become paralyzed. We are not receptive to new information. This affects our capacity for a constructive exchange!
Feel free to include text in your illustrations. Any additional creative elements (such as arrows, etc.) are welcome.
Who Is Your Audience?
Our audience consists of students, dialogue participants in communities and in corporate settings, dialogue professionals and practitioners.
Talking about the process of dialogue can be highly abstract and academic. We're aiming to add illustration and animation that will both enliven the videos with action and color, while deepening the viewer's understanding of some of the more complex ideas. The illustrations should be lively, bright, fun, and smartly detailed.
We Like These Examples
Check out the green head!
We Absolutely Must Have
High res is a must. We need each element of the illustration to be separate, so preference will be given to illustrations that provide layers or separate files.
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