What is the "flashlight-analogy" for the diffuse mode of thinking?
The diffuse thinking-mode can be though of as a flashlight set so that it casts its light very broadly, but not very strongly in any one area.
Why is the diffuse mode of thinking good to use when you need to understand something new?
The neural resting states that underlie the diffuse mode seem to allow you to be able to cast your thinking much more broadly. That way you can more easily begin to understand something new.
Describe the focused mode of thinking
Focused mode of thinking is the type of intense concentration you need to work through a problem, step-by-step.
What is the "pinball-analogy" for focused mode of thinking?
The focused mode of thinking can be seen as a pinball machine that has bumpers which are very tightly grouped together, so the pinball (the thought) can't go very far without bumping into a bumper.
How did Salvador Dali switch between focused and diffuse thinking modes?
He used to rest in idleness with a set of keys in his hands.
When he fell asleep, he would drop the keys. That took him back into a more focused mode, still with the diverge ideas from his diffuse mode in mind.
What happens on the dendrites of neurons when you learn something new?
Many new synapses (connections) are formed on the dendrites.
Why is "spaced repetition" good for learning new things?
Spaced repetition builds stronger neural structures by repeating them over a number of days.
What happens to the metabolic toxins in the brain when you sleep?
Sleep allows the brain to wash away metabolic toxins (maily because the brain cells shrink) so they disappear from the brain.
When you sleep, what happens to the important and not-so important memories that you have formed throughout the day?
Sleep allows your brain to strengthen important parts of memories even as it erases less important memories.
Why is it a good idea to take a break or go to sleep if you are stuck on a problem?
Taking your attention off of what you want to solve helps allow other neural modes to have access to the material.
You won't be conscious of your brain continuing to work in the background on the problem--but it is!
Sleep in particular appears to be a powerful time for subconscious problem-solving.
What happens with the slight neural discomfort that arises when we work on something hard, new or boring, after we have forced ourselves to work on it for a while?
Not long after you start working on something that you find unpleasant, that neural discomfort disappears.
So an important aspect of tackling procrastination is to just get yourself through that initial period of discomfort (the Pomodoro technique helps you do that).