Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Voice actors and the Edge Effect.

Last week during a vigorous house-cleaning event I unearthed a book I had read so long ago I didn’t even recognise it. Or at least, so much has happened since then that it seemed like a long time ago. The book is The Edge Effect by Eric Braverman, and it is about the influence of brain chemistry on personality, memory, attention and overall health.

The Edge Effect by Eric Braverman, M.D.

Braverman asserts that there are four basic natures among humans, each one dominated by a different neurotransmitter (dopamine, acetylcholine, serotonin or GABA). The extensive Nature Assessment questionnaire in the book allows you to determine your nature, and with this information you can learn how to restore your system to balance (since we all seem to be out of whack in this mentally and physically stressful world).

There are many books on the market that claim to hold the key to restoring us to health, and after a while one becomes rather numb to these claims. But I have long felt that brain chemistry is the “final frontier” of medicine, that it truly does hold the key to so much of what can ail the body as well as the mind. I was interested to review my scores on the Nature Assessment and to remember that according to those scores I have an acetylcholine nature, which includes 17% of the population. This is what Dr. Braverman has to say about me and my kind:

A balanced acetylcholine nature is intuitive and innovative. You take pleasure in anything involving words, ideas, and communication, and are able to share your enthusiasm with others. This nature makes for ideal counselors, mediators, think tank members, yoga and meditation instructors, religious leaders, and members of public service organizations. Brain speed impacts the creative function, so artists, writers, advertising professionals and actors are all likely to be acetylcholine dominant. An educator with an acetylcholine nature would gravitate toward teaching art or literature; an accountant would gravitate toward specializing in forecasting and projects, and a plumber might find himself teaching in a trade school.

Well, I didn’t teach art or literature, I taught biology, although I always had the feeling I should have been in the humanities. That may be what made me good at teaching biology though – it was hard for me to understand it, so after I had finally wrestled the subject to the ground, I was able to explain it in a way that a non-scientist could comprehend.

We are in the very early stages of understanding the brain, and I imagine that the information in Braverman's book is going to seem simplistic in a few years, but I find it very intriguing. Fellow voice talent, if you happen upon a copy of Braverman’s book and take the time to answer the questions on the Nature Assessment test, stop back and let me know how it turned out. I’m curious to know if we’re all in that 17% together!

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