Learning on how to learn Notes

Importance in learning

Practice makes permanent. When you're learning, what you want to do is study something. Study it hard by focusing intently. Then take a break or at least change your focus to something different for awhile.

During this time of seeming relaxation, your brain's diffuse mode has a chance to work away in the background and help you out with your conceptual understanding. Your neural mortar in some sense has a chance to dry.

Research has shown that when you first try to put an item of information in long term memory, you need to re-visit it at least a few times to increase the chances that you'll be able to find it later when you might need it.

This process, use a technique called spaced repetition. this technique involves repeating what you're trying to retain, but what you want to do is a space this repetition out. repeating a new vocabulary word or a problem solving technique for example over a number of days. Extending your practice over several days does make a difference.

Research has shown that if you try to glue things into your memory by repeating something 20 times in one evening for example, it wont stick nearly as well as if you practice it the same number of times over several days.

Sleep has also been shown to make a remarkable difference in your ability to figure out difficult problems and to understand what you're trying to learn.

Interview with Dr. Terrence Sejnowski

So what do you do to help yourself learning more easily when your looking at something completely new? experiments. and i, i'm a firm believer in learning by doing and learning by osmosis from people who are experts.

I found that there isn't a simple way to keep yourself attending something that you're not interested in. but i have found a little trick to waylay the speaker and that is by asking a question and the interruption often gives rise to a discussion that is a lot more interesting.and it actually follows the general principle which is that you learn more by active engagement rather than passive listening

Have there been any special techniques you've acquired over the years that help you focus, learn or create more effectively? I find that being in a creative environment where other people are creative is a way of enhancing your own creativity.

Often that process can boosts the creative process and the facts, i think that you know having other people around to bounce your ideas off is really for me a very important part of doing science.

Tests are like any other skill. You can learn them, you can learn to be a better test taker. and you have a lot of good ideas about that. I've discovered that the what you need things to avoid , for example dont get hung up if you can't answer a question. go on to the next, because you can always come back and in face, often the answer to the problem that was holding you back may actually pop in to your brain later on in the test.

Would you say... that success isn't necessarily come by being smart?I know a lot of smart people who are not successful. but i know a lot of people, who are very passionate, persistent, a lot of success in life is that passion and persistence of really staying the course staying working on it and not letting go and not giving up.

Interview with "Benny the Irish Polyglot"

You've talked about how children have one big advantage ? can you tell us what that advantage is? And I find children, that's the, their main advantage is that they're, they're okay with just saying something. And they're not going to over analyze everything that comes out of their mouth. The good news is, this is not an inherent advantage that is built into them, and not built into us. It's just kind of the way children act, and we can learn from that. We can learn to, try to have some fun with our language. Laugh at the fact that we're making mistakes, and realize people are a lot nicer that you think and they're going to be very patient with you.

People sometimes have a history of failure when they've tried to learn a new languages, what do you say to someone whose is failing when they're learning a new language, and have you ever felt like giving up in your language studies.

So my suggestion is people get into speaking the language immediately. I give tips for people to speak from the very first day, and then that may work for you it may not work for you. But you try something else and if you still say after trying this out for a few weeks, I'm still not making any progress at all. Then that doesn't mean you're not a good language learner, it means you're using a system that is not good for you. If you're studying a lot, and you're not making progress, you may need to abandon a study based approach, and try to interact with the language a lot more.

You mention that, that rote rehearsal, just repeating a word over and over again, for example, is not a good way to remember. What is a better way? I highly recommend people consider using mnemonics, because this kind of glues the word. To your... to your memory. So for instance, in that example with the German tisch. I would think to myself, okay let's imagine, a table made out of tissues. So I have you know, a table made out of kitchen roll or whatever it is, and I put a drink on it, and the table collapses, the drink spills everywhere, I have to get all of this, all of these tissues and I have to wipe it up because it's created a huge mess. So what that does, is it puts this association in my mind of visualizing a table made out of tissues, so that when I'm speaking German, and I want to say table, I can just think for a second, the table was made out of tissues, and I have that association. So, you have a link that connects the words you want, to, to the words you want to say, to the translation. Now, the thing is, you don't need to do this forever, because you only need the association a couple of times. And then the word just becomes a natural part of you.

Interview with Dr. Robert Bilder

When you're trying to learn something new, and you speak publicly, sometimes you, like everyone, is criticized for it. What advice do you have for handling this kind of criticism?

And they said leadership is the ability to disguise panic. And I think that if I had to think of all of the occasions I've had when I've had great concerns about what was going on, or about handling criticisms, and I think that it may only be through repeated experience that one learns how to cope with that a little bit better.

Some people would say that it's only when you experience some discomfort that you're actually accomplishing some kind of change. So, to the extent that one wants to make progress, it's necessarily going to involve some degree of discomfort.

That's the nature of change. Physical change in the brain has to involve some work and that work has to involve some, some discomfort.

You have some very interesting insights regarding creativity and being disagreeable. Could you give our viewers just a little bit of insight about that.

Our various models of personality, or temperament or character. But they pretty much all boil down to five factors, and these have been very reliably seen over time. And the way that I find easiest to remember those five factors is to use the acronym OCEAN, which stands for openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticisim. And now that we've looked at that personality characteristics of people and then tried to relate their personality characteristics to their degree of creative achievement. We find that there are two correlations here one of them's not surprising at all. Openness to a new experience is associated with great achievement. But then we find something that's perhaps not quite as intuitive, there is a correlation also with agreeableness but that correlation is negative. So it means that people who are less agreeable or more disagreeable tend to show higher creative achievement. And I think that we might consider this to be a facet of nonconformism. Those who tend to challenge the status quo, challenge models, and don't believe things just because other people have said them. I think that these are our folks who are more likely to be creative achievers.


Chunking is the mental leap that helps you unite bits of information together through meaning. Focusing your attention to connect parts of the brain to tie together ideas is an important part of the focused mode of learning. It is also often what helps get you started in creating a chunk.

Basically, a chunk means a network of neurons that are used to firing together so you can think a thought or perform an action smoothly and effectively. Focused practice and repetition, the creation of strong memory traces, helps you to create chunks. The path to expertise is built little by little, small chunks can become larger, and all of the expertise serves to underpin more creative interpretations as you gradually become a master of the material. In other words, as you'll see later, practice and repetition in building chunks aren't all you need to become a truly creative master of the material you're learning. Chunking helps your brain run more efficiently. Once you chunk an idea, a concept, or an action, you don't know need to remember all the little underlying details. You've got the main idea, the chunk, and that's enough.

When you're first trying to understand how to work a problem, you have a heavy cognitive load. So, it helps to start out with a work-through example. It's like first listening to a song before trying to play the song yourself. Most of the details of the worked out solution are right there and your job is simply to figure out why the steps are taken the way they are. They can help you see the key features and underlying principles of a problem. One concern about using worked out examples in math and science to help you in starting to form chunks, is that it can be all too easy to focus too much on why an individual step works and not on the connection between steps. That is on why this particular step is the next thing you should do.

One of the most common approaches for trying to learn material from a book or from notes is simply to reread it. But psychologist, Jeffrey Karpicke, has shown that this approach is actually much less productive than another, very simple, technique. Recall. After you've read the material, simply look away, and see what you can recall from the material you've just read.

Using recall, mental retrieval of the key ideas, rather than passive rereading, will make your study time more focused and effective. The only time rereading text seems to be effective, is if you let time pass between the rereading, so that it becomes more of an exercise in spaced repetition.

Merely glancing at a solution and thinking you truly know it yourself is one of the most common illusions of competence in learning. You must have the information persisting in your memory if you're to master the material well enough to do well on tests and to think creatively with it. In a related thing, you may be surprised to learn that highlighting and underlining must be done very carefully. Otherwise it can not only be ineffective, but also misleading. It's as if, making lots of motions with your hand can fool you into thinking you've placed the concept in your brain. If you do mark up the text, try to look for main ideas before making any marks. And try to keep your underlining or highlighting to a minimum. One sentence or less per paragraph. On the other hand, words or notes in a margin that synthesize key concepts are a very good idea.

Allowing you to see whether or not you really grasp an idea. If you make a mistake in what you are doing, it's actually a very good thing. You want to try not to repeat your mistakes, of course, but mistakes are very valuable to make in your little self tests before high stakes real tests. Because they allow you to make repairs and you're thinking flaws bit by bit mistakes help correct your thinking, so that you can learn better and do better.

Seeing the big picture

The Value of a Library of Chunks

Basically, what people do to enhance their knowledge and gain expertise, is to gradually build the number of chunks in their mind, valuable bits of information they can piece together in new and creative ways.

When you're trying to figure something out, if you have a good library of these chunks, you can more easily skip to the right solution by metaphorically speaking, listening to whispers from your diffuse mode. Your diffuse mode can help you connect two or more chunks together in new ways to solve novel problems.

In building a chunked library, you're training your brain to recognize not only a specific concept, but different types and classes of concepts so that you can automatically know how to solve quickly or handle whatever you encounter. You'll start to see patterns and simplify problem-solving for you and will soon find that different solution techniques are lurking at the edge of your memory.

There are two ways to figure something out or to solve problems. First, through sequential step-by-step reasoning and second, through a more holistic intuition. Sequential thinking where each small step leads deliberately towards a solution, involves the focused mode. Intuition on the other hand, often seems to require this creative diffuse mode linking of several seemingly different focused mode thoughts. Most difficult problems and concepts are grasped through intuition, because these new ideas make a leap away from what you're familiar with. Keep in mind that the diffuse modes, semi-random way of making connections means that the solutions it provides should be very carefully verified using the focused mode

Overlearning, Choking, Einstellung, and Interleaving

Overlearning can have its place. It can produce an automatically that can be important when you're executing a serve in tennis or a perfect piano concerto. If you choke on tests or public speaking, overlearning can be especially valuable.

This focusing on the more difficult material is called deliberate practice. It's often what makes the difference between a good student and a great student.

the German word einstellung means mindset. Basically you can remember einstellung as installing a roadblock because of the way you were initially looking at something. This kind of wrong approach is especially easy to do in sports and science, not to mention other disciplines, because sometimes your initial intuition about what's happening or what you need to be doing is misleading. You have to unlearn your erroneous older ideas or approaches even while you're learning new ones.

Understanding how to obtain real solutions is important in learning and in life. Mastering a new subject means learning not only the basic chunks, but also learning how to select and use different chunks. The best way to learn that is by practicing jumping back and forth between problems or situations that require different techniques or strategies. This is called interleaving.

You want your brain to become used to the idea that just knowing how to use a particular concept, approach, or problem-solving technique isn't enough. You also need to know when to use it.

Interleaving is extraordinarily important. Although practice and repetition is important in helping build solid neural patterns to draw on, it's interleaving that starts building flexibility and creativity. It's where you leave the world of practice and repetition, and begin thinking more independently. When you interleave within one subject or one discipline, you begin to develop your creative power within that discipline. When you interleave between several subjects or disciplines, you can more easily make interesting new connections between chunks in the different fields, which can enhance your creativity even further.

Optional Interview with Dr. Norman Fortenberry - Lear

What were some of the most, most worthwhile tricks and approaches that you used to help you study and learn most effectively?

the first and foremost was to recognize that what worked in high school will not work in college. In high school, you're taught to, well actually, most of Pre-K, you're taught you're to do your own work, study alone, etc. That is deadly. In college, at least in engineering schools, the expectation is that you're part of a group. The expectation is that there are course notes and course bibles that are all over campus. There's an expectation that you have access to resources that if you don't have access to, you're in deep trouble. So you have to make sure that you live up to that expectation by making the connections to the people who have the resources that you need to succeed. The key lesson in, in collegiate study, at least in engineering school, is you are part of a team. And if you don't have a team, you find a team. If you are a team, you maximize the team. But you have to be part of the group.

How did your approach your studies so that you could find things in a way to keep yourself from being intimidated

And so, that was they key was to remember the objective is to learn the material. The objective is to finish the class. Even in grad school, the objective is to get the degree. And you keep your eye focused on the prize, and you fight it out, and you get through.

How could you have avoided this scenario, and how did you keep going in the face of facing failure and, and hardship?the thing is to recognize when one is making a reasonable choice and when one is not making a reasonable choice. Now, how did I persist? I buckled down and studied very hard, again with the study groups. And I spent a lot of extra time going over material, two and three different ways to make sure that I understood it

Do you have any practical suggestions for our viewers, who are trying to learn how to learn?

In terms of using as many different modes of input as you can. See something. Write it out by hand so that you've got the muscle memory, repeating it back to yourself. See it, say it, spell it, whatever.

The mechanical act of writing helps you to internalize that material, as well as going back over the notes again, helps you to internalize that material. So, multi-mode input is critical for learning.

Again, with the study groups and challenging each other, because what you, what you think you know, you find out when you try to explain it to somebody else, that's why teaching is one of the best ways to learn.

And so you have to take the time to explain it, teach it, whatever, to somebody else as a way to make sure that you, in fact, have what you think you have in terms of your learning.

Interview with Scott Young, a "Marco Polo" of Learning

if you feel that tension, that stress that you're not quite sure how to finish it, only then will you really remember how to do the problem for the future. So if you don't have that feeling of not being sure how to do it and that strain, I think it's hard to really improve your knowledge.

So for me, I've kind of adapted that into this idea of taking a blank piece of paper out and writing as if I'm trying to teach someone else what this idea is all about or what this process for solving a particular type of problem is all about or what it means. What I find happens is that you usually get to points where you have some friction, where you have to be too vague or you can't really be as exact and precise as you want to be, and those are usually the things that you don't understand. So, you can go back to your notes, you can go back to the textbook, look up that exact spot and figure out,

He always said that it's very important that the first rule is not to fool yourself, but you are the easiest person to fool.

So, the mind doesn't learn abstract things very well. It works a lot better when you have something very concrete you can point to and say, "Oh, this is how it works." Math and science is often full of things that are just pure abstraction. They only connect very loosely to things we can touch and feel. So, what I try to do is find simple analogies or metaphors and try to test them or see how to make them fit with the thing I'm trying to learn. So, it's kind of like looking through your mind for examples or stories or things that you are familiar with and like fitting a jigsaw piece into a puzzle, trying to figure out what's the right piece.

Someone who really understands it can help you out or you can just do what I did and just try to fit different puzzle pieces and see what fits, because even if you don't find a good puzzle piece, you can still learn a lot more that way

It'll be more easy to motivate yourself, you have more interest once you're better at it. You can get better at it by encouraging yourself to take on little steps, little mini projects. Once you complete that project, you build more confidence. With more confidence, you can do more things, you can understand more things and it becomes more interesting

Introduction to Procrastination and Memory

Procrastination can be a single, monumentally, important keystone bad habit, a habit, in other words, that influences many important areas of your life. If you improve your abilities in this area, many other positive changes will gradually begin to unfold. Procrastination shares features with addiction. It offers temporary excitement and relief from sometimes boring reality.

The higher you go in your studies however, the more important it is to take control of procrastination. Habits that worked in earlier years can turn around and bite you.

Habit is an energy saver for us. It allows us to free our mind for other types of activities. You go into this habitual zombie mode far more often than you might think, that's the point of habit. You don't have to think in a focused manner about what you're doing while you're performing the habit, it saves energy.

Every habit develops and continues because it rewards us. It gives us an immediate little feeling of pleasure. Procrastination is an easy habit to develop because the reward, moving your mind's focus to something more pleasant happens so quickly and easily. But good habits can also be rewarded. Finding ways to reward good study habits is important for escaping procrastination.

Habits have power because of your belief in them

Surf is Up: Process Versus Product

Process means, the flow of time and the habits and actions associated with that flow of time. To prevent procrastination you want to avoid concentrating on product. Instead, your attention should be on building processes. Processes relate to simple habits, habits that coincidentally allow you to do the unpleasant tasks that need to be done.

By focusing on process rather than product, you allow yourself to back away from judging yourself, am I getting closer to finishing? And instead you allow yourself to relax into the flow of the work. The key is when a distraction arises, which it inevitably will, you want to train yourself to just let it flow by. Of course, setting yourself up so that distractions are minimal is also a very good idea.

Harnessing Your Zombies to Help You

To understand that, it helps to go back through the four components of habit, and we analyze them from the perspective of procrastination.

The first one is the cue, recognize what launches you win to your zombie procrastination mode. Cue's usually fall into one of the four following categories: location, time, how you feel, and reactions, either to other people or to something that just happened.

Number two, the routine. Let's say that instead of doing your studies, you often divert your attention to something less painful. Your brain wants to automatically go into this routine when you've gotten your cue. So, this is the reaction point where you must actively focus on rewiring your old habit. The key to rewiring is to have a plan. Developing a new ritual can be helpful. Your plan may not work perfectly at first but just keep at it, adjust the plan if necessary and savor those victories when your plan works. Don't try to change everything at once. The Pomodoro technique can be especially helpful in shifting your reaction to the cues.

Number three, is the reward. Many people find that setting a reward at a specific time gives a solid mini deadline that can help spur work. Also remember that the better you get at something, the more enjoyable it can become.Number four is the belief, the most important part of changing your procrastination habit is the belief that you can do it. You may find that when the going gets stressful, you long to fall back into a old more comfortable habits. Belief that your new system works is what can get you throughDeveloping and encouraging culture with like-minded friends can help us remember the values that, in moments of weakness, we tend to forget

Juggling Life and Learning

Try to write this daily task list the evening before. Why the evening before? Research has shown that this helps your subconscious to grapple with the tasks on the list, so you can figure out how to accomplish them. Writing the list before you go to sleep enlists your zombies to help you accomplish the items on the list the next day. If you don't write your tasks down on a list, they lurk at the edge of the four or so slots in your working memory, taking up valuable mental real estate. But once you make a task list, it frees working memory for problem-solving

Mixing other tasks up with your learning seems to make everything more enjoyable and keeps you from prolonged and unhealthy bouts of sitting. Over time, as I've gained more experience, I've gotten much better at gauging how long it takes to do any given task. You'll find yourself improving quickly as you become more realistic about what you can reasonably do in any given time. Make notes in your planner journal about what works and what doesn't.

Planning your quitting time is as important as planning your working time.

Time after time, those who are committed to maintaining healthy leisure time along with their hard work outperformed those who doggedly pursue an endless treadmill. Of course, your life may not lend itself to such a schedule with breaks and leisure time. You may be running on fumes with two jobs and too many classes. But however your life is going, try to squeeze a little break time in.

Eat your frogs first in the morning. Try to work on a most important and most disliked task first. At least just one Pomodoro as soon as you wake up. This is incredibly effective. You need to sometimes make changes in your plans because of unforeseen events, of course, but remember the law of serendipity. Lady Luck favors the one who tries. Planning well is part of trying. Keep your eye on your learning goal and try not to get too unsettled by occasional roadblocks.

Summary on proscrastination

Learning well often involves bit by bit, day by day building of solid neural scaffolds, rather like a weightlifter builds muscle with day to day exercise. This is why tackling procrastination is so incredibly important. You want to keep up with your learning and avoid last minute cramming. So, with that, here's an overview of the key aspects of tackling procrastination. Keep a planner journal so you can easily track when you reach your goals and observe what does and doesn't work. Commit yourself to certain routines and tasks each day. Write your plan tasks out the night before so your brain has time to dwell on your goals and help ensure success. Arrange your work into a series of small challenges. Always make sure you end your zombies get lots of rewards. Take a few minutes to savor the feelings of happiness and triumph, which also gives your brain a chance to temporarily change modes. Deliberately delay rewards until you finish the task. Watch for procrastination cues. Try putting yourself in new surroundings with few procrastination cues such as the quiet section of the library. Gain trust in your new system. You want to work hard during times of focused concentration and also to trust your system enough so that when it comes time to relax, you actually relax without feelings of guilt or worry. Have backup plans for when you still procrastinate. No one is perfect after all. Eat your frogs first every day.

Diving Deeper into Memory

As you're probably beginning to understand, memory is only part of learning and developing expertise but it's often an important part. It may surprise you to learn that we have outstanding visual and spacial memory systems that can help form part of our long-term memory.

You can greatly enhance your ability to remember if you tap into these naturally super-sized, visual, spacial memorization abilities.To begin tapping into your visual memory system try making a very memorable visual image representing one key item you want to remember

Part of the reason an image is so important to memory is that images connect directly to your right brain's visual spacial centers. The image helps you encapsulate a seemingly humdrum and hard to remember concept by tapping into visual areas with enhanced memory abilities. The more neural hooks you can build by evoking the senses, the easier it will be for you to recall the concept and what it means

Focusing your attention brings something into your temporary working memory, but for that something to move from working memory to long term memory two things should happen. The idea should be memorable.

Repetition's important. Even when you make something memorable, repetition helps get that memorable item firmly lodged into long-term memory. Remember to repeat not a bunch of times in one day but sporadically over several days. Index cards can often be helpful. Writing and saying what you're trying to learn seems to enhance retention.

Handwriting helps you to more deeply encode, that is convert into neural memory structures what you are trying to learn.

The more you can turn what you're trying to remember into something memorable, the easier it will be to recall. You'll want to say the word and its meaning aloud to start setting auditory hooks to the material.

Remember that sleep is when your mind repeats patterns and pieces together solutions. Briefly repeat what you want to remember over several days. Perhaps for a few minutes each morning or each evening. Gradually extend the time between the repetitions as the material firms itself into your mind. By increasing your spacing as you become more certain of mastery, you'll lock the material more firmly into place.

What is Long Term Memory?

Memories are not fixed but living, breathing parts of your brain that are changing all of the time.Whenever you recall a memory, it changes, a process called, reconsolidation. It is even possible to implant false memories, which are indistinguishable from real ones by simply suggesting and imagining, especially in children who have vivid imaginations.

The green process of consolidation takes the brain state in active memory and stores it in long term memory by modifying synapses on the dendrites of neurons. These long term memories can remain dormant for a long time until the memory is retrieved and reinstated, by the red process, in short term working memory. The reinstated memory is in a new context, which can itself be transferred to long term memory, thereby, altering the old memory though reconsolidation. Our memories are intertwined with each other. As we learn new things, our old memories also change. Like consolidation, reconsolidation also occurs during sleep.

Creating Meaningful Groups and the Memory Palace

Many disciplines use memorable sentences to help students memorize concepts. The first letter of each word in the sentence is also the first letter of each word in a list that needs to be memorized

The memory palace technique is a particularly powerful way of grouping things you want to remember. It involves calling to mind a familiar place like the layout of your house and using it as a visual notepad where you can deposit the concept images that you want to remember. All you have to do is call to mind the place you're familiar with; your home, your route to school, or your favorite restaurant, and voila in the blink of an imaginative eye, this becomes the memory palace that you'll use as your notepad. The memory palace technique is useful for remembering unrelated items such as a grocery list, milk, bread, eggs. To use the technique, you might imagine a gigantic bottle of milk just inside your front door, the bread plopped on the couch, and a cracked egg dribbling off the edge of the coffee table. In other words, you'd imagine yourself walking through a place you know well, coupled with shockingly memorable images of what you want to remember. If you're studying finance, sociology, chemistry, or what have you and you have lists to remember, you could use this same approach. The first time you do this, it will be slow. It takes a bit of time to conjure up a solid mental image. But the more you do it, the quicker it becomes. One study showed that a person using the memory palace technique could remember more than 95 percent of a 40 to 50 item list after only one or two practice mental walks where the items were placed on the grounds or the local university. In using the mind this way, memorization can become an outstanding exercise in creativity that simultaneously build neural hooks for even more creativity.

Memory tricks allow people to expand their working memory with easy access to long term memory. What's more, the memory process itself becomes an exercise in creativity. The more you memorize using these innovative techniques, the more creative you become. This is because you're building these wild unexpected possibilities for future connections early on even as you're first internalizing the ideas. The more you practice this type of memory muscle so to speak, the more easily you'll be able to remember. Where first it may take 15 minutes to build an evocative image for an equation and embed it say, in the kitchen sink of your memory palace. It can later take only minutes or seconds to perform a similar task. You also realize that as you begin to internalize key aspects of the material, taking a little time to commit the most important points to memory, you come to understand it much more deeply. The formulas will mean far more to you than it would if you simply look them up in a book. And you'll be able to sling those formulas around much more proficiently on tests, and in real world applications.

Optional Interview with 4 Time US Memory Champion

Basically, the way I do it, is I'll come up with pictures for all these different numbers, so that every time I see a number, I think of something else, that's more familiar to my brain. So, if you were gonna learn the number system, and you wanted to get very good at numbers, you would have to put in a bit of prep time. But for the most part it's, it's pretty easy to do these techniques

So, the idea is, well, basically, any memory technique involves two things, in my opinion. One is visualization. So turning, anything, you're trying to memorize into a picture, a mental picture. That's filled with associations, that mean something to you. Right? To yourself. The second thing is to attach that image, to some location. There are different ways you can do that. The most common is, is this thing called the memory palace, where you use a familiar place like your house, and you attach these images to a, a bunch of different locations around a path in this place, your house. And the idea is you remember your house. So, it's easy to pick up, where you left all these things, and you can remember things in order, easier. For names it's a bit different because people come in, and out of your life. So, you don't know, where, or how, or if you should store, a certain person. You may not ever seem them again. So, what happens is you use some distinguishing feature about them, as the location to store the image for their name. So when I meet someone I always ask you know, well, first I pay attention. That's kind of the first thing. Then, I'm focusing in on something about their face, or body, or their composure, and whatever sticks out, I go with it. That's my location. That's my anchor. And then, I ask for their name, and I turn that name into, whatever it reminds me of. It sometimes could be a friend who has the same name, a celebrity, a cartoon character. It could maybe be a name that sounds like an objects or it just could be something It feels like, or I break it down into smaller pieces, and that reminds me of something. It's it's, it's all a bit of practice.

Optional Interview with Dr. Robert Gamache, an Award-winner

So the example I used for them is if you study chemistry every day, you, it's right there in your brain. You don't have to search for things. The same thing with work with physics, or biology, or psychology, or history, any subject. If you study it every day, it's just there in your brain and you don't have to do a lot to recall information. It's just there.

It was later in graduate school that I found that there was research and this repetition actually hard-wires your brain. So in my case, I hardwired my brain to solve problems

Now when I get stuck, I deliberately take a break and try to do something just to relax, you know, almost thoughtless, it can be as simply as bouncing a tennis ball off the wall or something like that. After five to ten minutes, I tend to go back to the problem with the answer. And sometimes, I have to sleep on it. There are many mornings when I wake up and suddenly, I have the answer in my brain.

if you're working all the time it tends not to be productive. And as I just explained that downtime can be very beneficial. The gears are always turning. So being with my wife, playing with my children, or playing with my dogs has, has always given me a chance to relax my mind to refresh my mind so that when I do go back to work, I can be productive.

So, you know, the key point is do something you love, work hard at it. But it's important to have that down time. That down time keeps you refreshed and you don't have to worry. The gears will turn in the background. But working all the time you get burnt out and you just can't accomplish what you can when you refresh yourself periodically.

Poor health, lifestyle factors linked to memory complaints, even among younger adults


For younger adults, stress may play more of a role, and the ubiquity of technology—including the Internet and wireless devices, which can often result in constant multi-tasking—may impact their attention span, making it harder to focus and remember.

How Studying or Working Abroad Makes You Smarter


More generally, writes Maddux, “People who have international experience or identify with more than one nationality are better problem solvers and display more creativity, our research suggests. What’s more, we found that people with this international experience are more likely to create new businesses and products and to be promoted.”

Angela Leung reports that people with more experiences of different cultures are better able to generate creative ideas and make unexpected links among concepts.

Studying or working in another country can make us better thinkers—more flexible, creative, and complex—if we’re willing to adapt and learn from other cultures.William Maddux advises: “When in Rome . . . Learn Why the Romans Do What They Do.”

When in Rome ... Learn Why the Romans Do What They Do: How Multicultural Learning Experiences Facilitate Creativity


Results showed that creativity was enhanced only when participants recalled a functional multicultural learning experience and only when participants had previously lived abroad. Overall, multicultural learning appears to be an important mechanism by which foreign living experiences lead to creative enhancement.

This is the kind of music you should listen to at work


Here's what you should listen to at work.

Classical music: if your work involves numbers or attention to detail

Workers were better at solving mathematical problems when listening to classical music, which improved accuracy by 12pc compared to listening to no music at all. Classical music was also the second best genre for general accuracy and spell-checking, the study found.

Pop music: if your work involves data entry or working to deadlines

Participants listening to pop music completed data entry tasks 58pc faster than when listening to no music at all. Pop was also found to be the best music genre for spell-checking quickly, and, alongside dance music, produced the fastest overall performance for getting work done. It cut mistakes by 14pc, compared to not listening to music.

Ambient music: if your work involves solving equations

Famously described by the musician Brian Eno as needing to be “as ignorable as it is interesting”, ambient music led to the highest level of accuracy for respondents completing tasks involving equations.

Dance music: if your work involves proof-reading and problem solving

This genre resulted in the highest overall accuracy and fastest performance across a range of work tasks. Participants listening to dance music produced more accurate results in spell-checking, solving equations and tackling tricky mathematical word problems, increased proof-reading speed by 20pc and were able to complete abstract reasoning tasks more quickly.

Optional Interview with Keith Devlin from Stanford, the NPR "Math Guy"

how to most effectively approach a math problem that they might be stuck on?You have to begin by understanding what the problem is about, what are you trying to do? What do you want to achieve? And what information do you have?So, you have to sit back, take a deep breath, begin by understanding the problem. If the problem involves numbers, put in a few simple numbers threes and fours, and just play with it to get a sense of it. If it is geometric problem, do some little diagrams, I often end up writing simple little graph diagrams with dots and lines connecting them, just something to give me a sense of what that problem's about. At that point, you can ask yourself, ''do I know any techniques that look as though they would work with this problem?''

The really challenging ones and the ones where it gets actually exciting and fun, is where it becomes clear, at least you think that nothing you know is going to help you with that. At that point, what you do is, you bash away at it several times with just naive approaches. Almost certainly they won't work, you just try this, you try that. You you come up with ideas based on what the problem is asking you to do, because solving a problem is a journey. You begin with the information you've got. Either the information you're given with the problem, or information you already know. You may have to add some extra information, you may do a Google search find some extra information about it. At that point, the journey takes place in that you have to get to the goal and solve the problem. If none of the methods you try for the first half hour, maybe I'm depending on the problem. It could be half hour, couple of hours, sometimes it's a day or a few weeks. But if nothing happens, then the best thing to do is walk away from the problem. Go and do something else.

What I've learned to do very efficiently is switch from one to the other, it doesn't take me more than a few minutes, at most, to switch from one to the other. Procrastination comes from recognizing that I need to make that switch. I'll keep going and keep going I think I want to do this other thing, I want to do this other thing. I do find myself doing lots of other little things I'll go and start off read my Twitter feed and things for a while before making the switch. So the one moment where I will procrastinate is starting something new, for obvious reasons. You've been in the groove, you've been making progress and it's slowed down and you've got to get in another groove. I know that that takes willpower and effort and like everybody else I do have a procrastination streak. But the only time it affects me is making that switch. Once I've done it, I'm away in that domain until I've either solved that issue or done it or completed it or got tired of it and need a break. That I found works extremely well

How to Become a Better Learner

Tip number one, the best gift that you can give your brain is Physical Exercise. These new neurons help you learn new things but they will die if you don't use them. New experiences will rescue them. Exercise, interestingly, also helps new neurons survive. Exercise is by far, more effective than any drug on the market today to help you learn better. It benefits all of your vital organisms, not just your brain.Good judgement takes a long time, and a lot of experience to acquire. Learning, is too important to be left behind in the classroom. Learning to learn is a skill you can master. And you can use it to improve every part of your life.

Create a Lively Visual Metaphor or Analogy

One of the best things you can do to not only remember, but understand concepts, is to create a metaphor or analogy for them.metaphors and models are often vitally important in giving a physical understanding of the central idea behind the process or concept you're trying to understand. Interestingly, metaphors and analogies are useful for getting people out of einstellen. That is, being blocked by thinking about a problem in the wrong way. Metaphors also help glue an idea into your mind, because they make a connection to neural structures that are already there. It's like being able to trace a pattern with tracing paper, metaphors at least help you get a sense of what's going on.

No Need for Genius Envy

Sure. Intelligence matters. Being smarter often equates to having a larger working memory. Your hot rod of a memory may be able to hold nine things in mind instead of four and you can latch on to those things like a bulldog, which makes it easier to learn. But guess what, it also makes it more difficult for you to be creative.

Having a somewhat smaller working memory means you can more easily generalize your learning into new, more creative combinations. Because your working memory, which grows from the focusing abilities of the prefrontal cortex doesn't lock everything up so tightly. You can more easily get input from other parts of your brain. These other areas, which include the sensory cortex, not only are more in tune with what's going on around you in the environment, but are also the source of dreams, not to mention creative ideas. You may have to work harder sometimes or even much of the time to understand what's going on. But once you get something chunked you can take that chunk and turn it outside in and inside round, putting it through creative paces even you didn't think you were capable of.Here's another point to put into your mental chunker. It is practice, particularly deliberate practice on the toughest aspects of the material that can help lift average brains into the realm of those with more natural gifts. Just as you can practice lifting weights and get bigger muscles over time, you can also practice certain mental patterns that deepen and enlarge in your mind. Whether your naturally gifted or you have to struggle to get a solid grasp of the fundamentals, you should realize that you're not alone if you think you're an imposter.

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

In Cajal's autobiography however, he pointed out that although brilliant people can do exceptional work, just like anyone else they can also be careless and biased. Cajal felt the key to his own success was his perseverance. What he called the virtue of the less brilliant, coupled with his flexible ability to change his mind and admit errors. Anyone, Cajal noted, even people with average intelligence, can change their own brains so that even the least gifted can produce an abundant harvest.

Approaching material with a goal of learning it on your own, can give you a unique path to mastery. Often no matter how good your teacher and textbook are, it's only when you sneak off and look at other books or videos that you begin to see what you learn through a single teacher, or book, is a partial version of the full three dimensional reality of the subject, which has links to still other fascinating topics that are of your choosing. Taking responsibility for your own learning is one of the most important things you can do.If you do well in your studies, the people around you can feel threatened. The greater your achievement, the more other people will sometimes attack and demean your efforts. On the other hand, if you flunk a test, you also may encounter critics who throw more barbs, saying you don't have what it takes. We're often told that empathy is universally beneficial. But it's not. It's important to learn to switch on an occasional cool dispassion that helps you to not only focus on what you're trying to learn, but also to tune people out if you discover that their interests lie in undercutting you such undercutting is all too common, as people are often just as competitive as they are cooperative. When you're a young person, mastering such dispassion can be difficult.

The Value of Teamwork

By making it a point to do some of your studying with friends, you can more easily catch where your thinking has gone astray. Friends and teammates can serve as sort of ever questioning larger scale diffuse mode outside your brain that can catch what you missed, or what you just can't see. And of course, explaining to friends helps build your own understanding. The importance of working with others doesn't just relate to learning. It's also important in career building. A single small tip from a teammate to take a course from the outstanding Professor Passionate, or to check out a new job opening, can make an extraordinary difference in how your life unfolds

Hard Start - Jump to Easy

What to do? Easy problems first or hard? The answer is to start with the hard problems, but quickly jump to the easy ones. Here's what I mean. When the test is first handed out to you, first, take a quick look to get a sense of what it involves. You should do this in any case. Then, when you start working the problems, start first with what appears to be the hardest problem. But still yourself to pull away within the first minute or two, if you get stuck or you get a sense so you mind not be on the right track. This does something exceptionally helpful. Starting hard, loads the first most difficult problem in mind and then switches attention away from it. Both these activities are what allow the diffuse mode to begin its work. If your initial work on the first hard problem has unsettled you, turn next to an easy problem. Complete or do as much as you can. Then move next to another difficult looking problem and try to make a bit of progress. Again, change to something easier as soon as you feel yourself getting bogged down or stuck. When you return to the more difficult problems, you'll often be pleased that the next step or steps in the problem was seemed to be more obvious to you. You may not be able to get all the way to the end immediately but at least you can get further before you switch to something else of which you can make progress. In some sense, with this approach to test taking,

Using the hard start-jump to easy technique on tests guarantees that you will have at least a little work done on every problem, it's also a valuable technique for helping you avoid einstellung, getting stuck on the wrong approach because you have a chance to look at the problem from differing perspectives

Final Helpful Hints for Tests

Often, your worst fear is not to get the grade you need for your chosen career. How can you handle this? Simple. Have a Plan B for the alternative career. Once you have a plan for the worst possible contingency, you'll be surprised that the fear will begin to subside. Professor Magrann notes, study hard up until the day of the test and then let it go. Tell yourself, oh well, let me just see how many questions I can get right. I can always pursue my other career choice. That helps release stress, so you can actually do better and get closer to your first career choice.

Good worry helps provide motivation and focus, while bad worry simply wastes energy.

The order in which you work tests is also important. Students generally work tests from front to back. When you're checking your work if you start more towards the back and work towards the front, it sometimes seems to give your brain a fresher perspective that can allow you to more easily catch errors. Nothing's ever certain.

Summary for Module 4

One of the best things you can do to not only remember but more easily understand concepts in many different fields is to create a metaphor or analogy for them. Often the more visual, the better.you can take pride in aiming for success because of the very things that make other people say you can't do it.Overconfidence in your results can result from using only one mode of thinking.

Counterintuitive strategies, such as the hard start jump to easy technique, can give your brain a chance to reflect on harder challenges, even as you are focusing on other, more straightforward problems.

wrap up

You have not truly learned something unless you can teach it to others. Teach those ideas to others, and you will find that they will continue to resonate and deepen in your own mind. Many people believe that what they're initially, sort of naturally good at, is what they're supposed to be doing in life. But I myself am living proof that passions can broaden, change, and grow. The world is evolving and abroad toolkit, that allows you to learn effectively in many different subject areas as one of the most powerful assets you can have.

How to Have A Thicker Skin for Negative Feedback


Don’t walk through life with blinders on. Show them that you’re proactive. Assume that you always have room to grow.

Use “Compassionate Detachment”:Therapists have long used compassionate detachment to empathize with clients, without taking on clients’ emotions as their own. They do this by distancing themselves slightly from the outcome of a story, a behavior or a pattern.

Don’t Isolate Yourself: When you get in the habit of processing hard moments with those more experienced than you, you give yourself the gift of support. In turn, your allies end up normalizing your experience.

Researchers debunk myth of 'right-brained' and 'left-brained' personality traits


newly released research findings from University of Utah neuroscientists assert that there is no evidence within brain imaging that indicates some people are right-brained or left-brained.

"It's absolutely true that some brain functions occur in one or the other side of the brain. Language tends to be on the left, attention more on the right. But people don't tend to have a stronger left- or right-sided brain network. It seems to be determined more connection by connection, " said Jeff Anderson, M.D., Ph.D.

Learning Activities Lead to Achievement


students who do stuff in a MOOC or other online learning environment will, on average, do more stuff than those who don't do stuff, and students who do stuff will perform better on stuff than those who don't do stuff.

Making a Backup Plan Undermines Performance


We think that when achieving a goal requires work, not luck, making a backup plan can hurt performance by reducing the desire for that goal. They might not have been aware of this shift in their mindset while working, but they were less motivated, so they put in less effort, which hurt their results.

There are certainly important benefits to making backup plans. One is the psychological comfort it brings: People think, “I’m going to be OK even if I fail, because I can then do X or Y.” It reduces the perceived uncertainty of the situation. Another benefit is that if you fail, you don’t have to dwell on it; you can quickly implement your backup plan. However, the costs of making backup plans haven’t previously been examined, and we believe that acknowledging both costs and benefits can lead to better, more informed decision making.

If you prepare for failure, you may be more likely to fail. We’re not suggesting that you always avoid making backup plans. But maybe you could hold off on doing so until you’ve put as much effort as possible into your primary goal.

Feel like a fraud


impostor phenomenon occurs among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success. They often attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than to ability, and fear that others will eventually unmask them as a fraud.

Though the impostor phenomenon isn't an official diagnosis listed in the DSM, psychologists and others acknowledge that it is a very real and specific form of intellectual self-doubt. Impostor feelings are generally accompanied by anxiety and, often, depression.

With effort, you can stop feeling like a fraud and learn to enjoy your accomplishments.

Many people who feel like impostors grew up in families that placed a big emphasis on achievement.

The impostor phenomenon and perfectionism often go hand in hand. So-called impostors think every task they tackle has to be done perfectly, and they rarely ask for help. An impostor may procrastinate, putting off an assignment out of fear that he or she won't be able to complete it to the necessary high standards. Or, he or she may overprepare, spending much more time on a task than is necessary.

Facing impostor feelings

Talk to your mentors
Recognize your expertise
Remember what you do well
Realize no one is perfect
Change your thinking
Talk to someone who can help

To Really Learn, Quit Studying and Take a Test

Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than a number of other studying techniques.

“I think that learning is all about retrieving, all about reconstructing our knowledge,”

“when we use our memories by retrieving things, we change our access” to that information, Dr. Bjork said. “What we recall becomes more recallable in the future. In a sense you are practicing what you are going to need to do later.”

Howard Gardner, an education professor at Harvard who advocates constructivism — the idea that children should discover their own approach to learning, emphasizing reasoning over memorization

Master of many trades


Far from expressing shame at having no pump, they told me that carrying too many tools is the sign of a weak man; it makes him lazy. The real master has no tools at all, only a limitless capacity to improvise with what is to hand. The more fields of knowledge you cover, the greater your resources for improvisation.

We hear the descriptive words psychopath and sociopath all the time, but here’s a new one: monopath. It means a person with a narrow mind, a one-track brain, a bore, a super-specialist, an expert with no other interests — in other words, the role-model of choice in the Western world.

Classically, a polymath was someone who ‘had learnt much’, conquering many different subject areas. an architect, painter, horseman, archer and inventor — wrote: ‘a man can do all things if he will’

Between birth and the age of ten or eleven, the nucleus basalisis is permanently ‘switched on’. It contains an abundance of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and this means new connections are being made all the time. Typically this means that a child will be learning almost all the time — if they see or hear something once they remember it. But as we progress towards the later teenage years the brain becomes more selective. From research into the way stroke victims recover lost skills it has been observed that the nucleus basalis only switches on when one of three conditions occur: a novel situation, a shock, or intense focus, maintained through repetition or continuous application.

One reason many people shy away from polymathic activity is that they think they can’t learn new skills. I believe we all can — and at any age too — but only if we keep learning. ‘Use it or lose it’ is the watchword of brain plasticity.

Santa Barbara, suggests that studying the performing arts — dance, music and acting — actually improves one’s ability to learn anything else. Collating several studies, the researchers found that performing arts generated much higher levels of motivation than other subjects. These enhanced levels of motivation made students aware of their own ability to focus and concentrate on improvement. Later, even if they gave up the arts, they could apply their new-found talent for concentration to learning anything new.

The old Renaissance idea of mastering physical as well as intellectual skills appears to have real grounding in improving our general ability to learn new things. It is having the confidence that one can learn something new that opens the gates to polymathic activity.

Polymathics might focus on rapid methods of learning that allow you to master multiple fields. It might also work to develop transferable learning methods. A large part of it would naturally be concerned with creativity — crossing unrelated things to invent something new. But polymathics would not just be another name for innovation. It would, I believe, help build better judgment in all areas. I suspect that the converse is true: by being more polymathic, you develop a better sense of proportion and balance — which gives you a better sense of humour.

How curiosity changes the brain to enhance learning


The more curious we are about a topic, the easier it is to learn information about that topic.

First, as expected, when people were highly curious to find out the answer to a question, they were better at learning that information. People were also better able to retain the information learned during a curious state across a 24-hour delay. "Curiosity may put the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it," explains Dr. Gruber.

Second, the investigators found that when curiosity is stimulated, there is increased activity in the brain circuit related to reward.

Third, the team discovered that when curiosity motivated learning, there was increased activity in the hippocampus, a brain region that is important for forming new memories, as well as increased interactions between the hippocampus and the reward circuit. "So curiosity recruits the reward system, and interactions between the reward system and the hippocampus seem to put the brain in a state in which you are more likely to learn and retain information, even if that information is not of particular interest or importance,"

How Successful People Stay Calm


Elizabeth Kirby, found that the onset of stress entices the brain into growing new cells responsible for improved memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent. As soon as the stress continues beyond a few moments into a prolonged state, it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop new cells.

Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.

They Appreciate What They Have
They Avoid Asking “What If?”
They Stay Positive
They Disconnect
They Limit Their Caffeine Intake
They Sleep
They Squash Negative Self-Talk
They Reframe Their Perspective
They Breathe
They Use Their Support System

Memories of errors foster faster learning


Using a deceptively simple set of experiments, researchers have learned why people learn an identical or similar task faster the second, third and subsequent time around. The reason: They are aided not only by memories of how to perform the task, but also by memories of the errors made the first time.

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