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Editor’s Note: Network Upgrades

The brain is a network,” writes Lisa Feldman Barrett in her new book, Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain. This insight might not sound like a breakthrough, but it underpins a new understanding about how people process thoughts and emotions. It also has implications for how we communicate with each other and the power that has over our actions and even our health.

As a network, the brain is a “collection of parts that are connected to function as a single unit,” writes Barrett. This network is not a metaphor, it’s a description. It means that the system is more than a sum of its parts. The brain can morph into a variety of neural patterns, each with a specific activity and function.

“Complexity empowers a brain to act flexibly in all kinds of situations. It opens a door so we can think abstractly, have a rich, spoken language, imagine a future very different from the present, and have the creativity and innovation to construct airplanes and suspension bridges and robot vacuum cleaners,” Barrett writes. It also allows us to create art—in images and words.

A perhaps more surprising lesson is that each person’s brain network is affected by the brains of other people. “If you raise your voice, or even just your eyebrow, you can affect what goes on inside other people’s bodies, such as their heart rate or the chemicals carried in their blood stream,” according to Barrett.

Humans are unique among all animals in that we can regulate each other’s brains with words, as well as with actions. The brain regions that process language also regulate our internal organs. Barrett writes that “a kind word may calm you…a hateful word from a bully may cause your brain to predict threat and flood your bloodstream with hormones, squandering precious bodily resources.”

These brain facts are interesting in isolation, but together they explain a lot about our interactions in 2020: proximity to others resulting in pandemic risks, interaction with peers that suddenly became remote, celebrations with loved ones that now cause stress rather than joy.

This all makes our communication, especially through the written word, even more critical. Your brain does not deceive you—this issue of Security Management is different. It reflects the commitment of ASIS International to push forward in 2021 to communicate in a way that is customized, targeted, and more relevant than ever.

The new artistic direction creates a magazine that is bolder, bigger, and more contemporary—the brighter color reflected in a clean, simple, easy-to-navigate design. You will receive a print issue six months out of the year, with much more digital content on the alternate months.

New, expanded digital content will include more online exclusives, targeted newsletters on relevant topics and verticals, and more breaking news.

As 2020 has taught us, the world around us changes quickly. Security Management is here to provide the news, information, and context necessary for our smart brains to make equally smart decisions.

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Teresa Anderson
Editor-in-Chief

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