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Flashcards in Organized Mind Deck (18)
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Associative Access

thoughts can be accessed in a number of different ways by semantic or perceptual associations—related words, names, by a smell


Two Key Ways to Control Memory

Pay attention to:

encoding: the way we enter information into memory
retrieval: the way we pull it out


Attentional Filter

neuronal focus on what is important.
Narrow the attentional filter to prevent decision fatigue.

register change and importance
Attention is created by networks of neutrons in the prefrontal cortex that are sensitive only to dopamine.

attention and memory cognitively related. categorization is important as well.


Attentional Switching

Comes with a high cost. switching between two tasks speeds up cognitive fatigue as a cost is associated with each switch.


What happens to our brain when we learn something new?

our brains evolved to receive a pleasant shot of dopamine when we learn something new and again when we can classify it into an ordered system.
We are hardwired to impose structure on sensory knowledge, to turn it this way and that, to view it from different angles, and try to fit it into multiple neural frameworks. This is the essence of human learning. Innate predisposition towards classification.

Dopamine release strengthens synapses when you correctly categorize items according to a rule.


Functional Equivalence

Things that serve the same taxonomic purpose to humans

(bugs as things we want out of our food)



Practice mindfulness to ensure the central executive is at work to remember a task.

Two components for best remembered experiences: distinctive/unique or have a strong emotional component

It makes sense for us to remember unique or distinctive events because they represent a potential change in the world around us or a change in our understanding of it— we need to register these in order to maximize our chances for success in a changing environment.



our brains encode information in scenes or chunks. the information packets must have a beginning and an end.

chunking fuels two important functions:

1. it renders large scale projects doable by giving us well differentiated tasks.
2. Renders the experiences of our lives memorable by segmenting them with well defined beginnings and endings. This allows memories to be stored and retrieved into manageable units.



Sleep consolidates and organizes memory. three aspects:

unitization: sleep binds units into a seamless whole.
assimilation: Integrates new information into the existing network structure of other things you already knew.
abstraction: hidden rules are discovered and then entered into memory. A night of sleep more than doubles the likelihood that you’ll solve a problem requiring insight.

sleep clears neuronal pathways.

Sleep is the most critical factor for: peak performance, memory, productivity, immune function, and mood regulation. Even a mild sleep reduction or a departure from a set sleep routine can produce detrimental effects on cognitive performance for many days afterward.

bimodal sleep: 4 or 5 hours after dinner, one or more hours in the middle of the night, followed by a second period of 4 or five hours. an afternoon nap. healthiest option.

go to bed at the same time every night. wake up at the same time every morning. stay fixed on that routine. sleep in a cool dark room.

naps longer than forty minutes can be counterproductive.



being outside in nature can replenishes self regulatory mechanisms in the brain.


Eat the Frog

of the most unpleasant task first thing in the morning, when gumption is highest, because willpower depletes as the day moves on.


Phases of Creative Insight

1.focus intensely on the project: line up every thing we know about it, each solution and scenario.
2.need to relax, let go of the problem, and let connections and free thinking occur. insight preceded by a burst in gamma waves, which bind together disparate neural networks,.

Switching between creative and critique is neurologically costly. Don't edit when you write

metaphor analogy, representation key to a creative insight or process


flow state

attention is focused on a limited perceptual field and that field receives your full concentration and attention. action and awareness merge. what you think becomes what you do. the ego falls away.

low skill, small chance of reaching flow, high skill, high chance. it takes less energy to be in flow.



taking breaks is also important: getting up to walk at least once every 90 minutes, daily physical activity.


Levels of Processing

elliptical drama or jokes are memorable because of a well established principle of cognitive psychology: levels of processing. items that are processed at a deeper level, with more active involvement by us, tended to become more strongly encoded in memory


Long Horizon Planning vs Short Horizon

asks with long horizons are more likely to be started late, those with short horizons ar not. We procrastinate because we delay putting out reputations on the line until later. limbic system wants immediate rewards, prefrontal cortex understands the costs of falling behind.

If you do not know where to begin, Adopting a systematic approach to assignments is effective in reducing this form of procrastination.


Egoless work

disconnect one’s sense of self worth from the outcome of a task. unsuccessful person interprets failure and setback and concludes “I’m no good at this.” the successful person sees each setback as an opportunity to gain whatever additional knowledge is necessary to accomplish their goals. don’t have the faulty belief that life will be easy—it will be a rocky road.

acting as if— act as if you have self confidence, resilient, working hard at tasks that seem difficult.



avoiding distractions is a large part of time management. Create systems that encourage us to stuck with the work at hand. external and internal distractions. The thing you are doing now is the most important thing you are doing. set aside a particular place
Have all the mundane details taken care of to focus attention on what is vital.