(Week 2: Tips to Build Your Memory, Week 3, Week 1: Focused vs. Diffuse…
Week 2: Tips to Build Your Memory
What is a metaphor?
a comparison between two things: one you know, and one you don't
connects what you know to what you don't
help you understand key ideas quickly
Neural Reuse Theory - we can re-use neural connections to learn new information if we can relate it to previous information
Learning helps us learn better!
recall:: Actively bringing an idea back to mind
carefully and actively read the page
then, look away and see if you can remember the ideas or details from the page
don't underline or highlight too much
Recall makes the dendritic connections stronger
Also aids understanding
Some need more recalls than others - and that's OK
working memory is small and holds less information
the "attentional octopus"
lives in pre-frontal cortex
grabs "data" from long-term memory for a short time
slippery, data slips around
only as four arms, only holds 4 datum
some hold more - depends on the person
learning makes it very busy
10-15 second duration before it must go to long-term memory
Long-term memory is larger, but harder to access
resides all over the brain
How to transition? Are there tricks?
Tricks to Build Your Memory
Nelson Dellis - memory athlete
Toothpaste and Pictures
the octopus likes pictures
so, turn the information into pictures!
Lagos = Lego
1473 (Copernicus' Birthday)
Make the pictures move!
Reactivity Series - mnemonics or acronyms
Even Crazier Memory Tricks
put your fact-pictures into buildings or places you know well
crazier images are better!
Can memorize all kinds of things with them
Video game locations and maps, too!
Rhymes, metaphors, notes written by hand
imagine yourself as the idea you're trying to understand
Numbers could have personalities or shapes
teach others (Feynman Technique)
Get good sleep!
Video games can actually be helpful
action games build focus (Hebb's Law)
games like Tetris can build spatial skills
Downside: addictive - danger is in the dosage
Writing notes by hand is better than typing
deliberately slows you down
Review before sleeping
Learning slowly can help you find shortcuts or create chunks that faster thinkers miss
People who struggle to focus can be especially equipped for creativity
Hiker vs. Race Car - both get to finish line, but have different journeys
can be subject-dependent
Who Stole My Parking Spot? Information Overload
Your memory can only hold so much
If practiced routines are interrupted, then the chain gets broken and we have to figure it out again
Distractions use up your octopuses arms
Attention switching tires out your octopus
Learning can be frustrating in the early stages
once you get going, it gets easier
How to Pump Up your Brain
Exercise helps new neurons grow
BDNF - Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor
neuron food - makes them strong and healthy
avoid "fake foods"
stuff in bags or boxes
sugary food and drink
high-fructose corn syrup
Learn whenever you can - not just at school
Why Brain-Linking is Important
Information that has been "linked" together only requires one of your "Attentional Octopuses" arms, letting you think about and work with more information at once
Understanding requires experience and repetition
Feedback helps these links form faster
Along with deliberate practice - working on the weakest areas of a skill
Week 1: Focused vs. Diffuse Thinking
I'll Do It Later, Honest!
Focused thinking:: paying close attention using models and patterns you're familiar with - zooming in
diffuse thinking:: thinking broadly or generally - zooming out
use timers or pomodoros and just get started doing something
use pomodoros 🍅
remember to reward yourself!
pomodoros cycle us between focused and diffuse modes of thinking
Procrastination is like arsenic because a little bit might not kill you, but over time it can do a lot of damage.
insula:: part of the brain that guards us from things we find threatening
When something really bad happens to you, a part of your brain called the insular cortex fires up. Tucked away, under your skull around here (point), the insula is activated when you're feeling pain and when you’re emotionally hurting.
The insula is closely connected to your body—that's why it's a gut feeling. Guess what? The insula also fires up when you’re just thinking about something you don't want to do.
But it happily settles down once you get to work on the task you were avoiding. And you will feel a lot better, as your insula gives up its grip on you.
Brain-Links and Aliens
Broadening your Passions
Mathematical and scientific ideas are more abstract, so can be harder to learn
Practice is important!
repetitions help to change your brain
HOW you practice is important
don't "cram", or practice in long sessions right before tests
space your reviews - spaced repetition (Anki, RemNote, etc)
Broadening your horizons opens up new opportunities for you
Fun with Space Aliens
Your brain contains neurons, which are the building blocks of the brain
They look a bit like aliens
The "aliens" talk by sending electric signals through their dendrites
(as do neurons - via synapses)
there are one million x one billion synapses in your brain
The more often a synapse is used, the stronger the bond becomes
Hebb's Law:: neurons that wire together, fire together
When you first learn, the synaptic links are weaker. As you practice, they get stronger.
Nuroplasticity:: the concept that neurons can change and adapt
Learning While You Sleep
How to Wake Up Smarter
Santiago used his interest in drawing people to motivate himself to learn medicine
When you learn, new dendritic spines form and grow, which forms new connections, while you sleep
While we sleep, our brain processes information we learned throughout the day - this cements the neuroplastic changes
Focus is ESSENTIAL for this!
The spines will die off if they're unused to conserve energy
prevent this with frequent reviews (using spaced repetition)
this is why many, frequent sessions are better than cramming - it gives us more chances to sleep on our new information