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Graham A.

@gra_maa136

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A recent theory on forgetting states that everything we learn remains in storage inside our memory, but our ability to recall and retrieve that information fades if we do not practice fetching information.

@gra_maa136

How to Remember More of What You Learn with Spaced Repetition

collegeinfogeek.com

Spaced Repetition Learning Systems

Spaced Repetition Time Intervals can be practiced using:

  • The Analog spaced Repetition System: Making flashcards or 'boxes' of study material to review daily, weekly or bi-weekly.
  • The Digital Method: Use an App like Anki, or SuperMemo.
A New Way To Study

Studying takes too much time, and there is only a limited number of hours. Spaced repetition method uses time intervals and makes you recall more information, using less time.

The spacing effect maximizes learning and your study becomes more efficient and consumes less time.

If there's a test coming up in the next 7 days, the recommended way to study: 3 to 4 sessions with spaces in between, instead of studying non-stop for 7 days.

This way, you study less, yet retain more for the day of the test.

Pierce J. Howard
“Work involving higher mental functions, such as analysis and synthesis, needs to be spaced out to allow new neural connections to solidify. New learning drives out old learning when insufficient time intervenes.”
Skilled improvisers are necessary

When you deal with a crisis, you need managers and employees that can think on their feet and act fast without first looking for an instruction manual. It means that you need skilled improvisers.

Capable improvisers will steer their companies through crises, paradigm shifts, technological breakthroughs and environmental disasters. But employee training programs seldom focus on becoming better improvisers, and hiring teams don't often screen for improvisation skills.

Improvisation Takes Practice

hbr.org

  1. Imitative improvisation. A person will observe what more-experienced people are doing and copy their responses with minimal variation. This is an effective starting point for people with limited experience.
  2. Reactive improvisation: Using inputs from the environment and other people to develop your own reaction to an unexpected situation, without relying on other's actions. It is generally developed after you have already mastered imitative improvisation.
  3. Generative improvisation. It is about proactively trying new things to anticipate and catalyse what could happen (rather than react).

A key factor in determining how improvisation skills develop is the extent to which an individual was competitively vs collaboratively oriented.

  • Competitive individuals generally develop reactive improvisation faster since they grab every opportunity for themselves. This approach tends to alienate others and impede the longer-term development of generative improvisation skills.
  • Collaborative individuals take longer to develop reactive improvisation because they first watch how others react to new environmental cues. They gain social connectedness and mutual trust to improvise generatively.
  • Build awareness of how different types of improvisation skills are developed. Educate yourself and your team on the kinds of improvisation skills. Newcomers could be paired with more experienced improvisers.
  • Balance collaboration and competition. Managers need to push employees to develop collaborative skills without impeding the competitive instincts of newcomers.
  • Nurture social structures. Managers should create a psychologically safe environment of rich social interactions that engenders trust and collaboration - especially when working remotely.
A popular view of self-control

There is a view that sees self-control as a battle between impulsivity and deliberate foresight. This idea has roots in ideas from ancient Greeks.

The International Society for Research on Impulsivity defines the desire for smaller rewards available now over larger, but later rewards as a type of impulsivity that involves a lack of planning and regard for future consequences. But, this view rests on a false dichotomy between foresight and impulsivity.

Prioritising the present doesn’t mean you lack willpower | Psyche Ideas

psyche.co

People can use their foresight to prioritise the present. Many behaviours that seem like a lack of willpower are not caused by a reluctance to plan ahead. Instead, they come from our capacity for long-term thinking.

For example, our decision-making can be influenced by the motivation to avoid future regrets about missing out. People foresee their own reliable tendency to spend money on boring essentials. Pre-committing to indulgences forces us to have some fun.

People living in poverty tend to favour smaller immediate rewards over a larger delayed payoff.

A possible reason for this is if you live in a highly uncertain environment or where people tend not to keep their promises, a farsighted view will lead you to get what you can now. Even children will use background information when forming expectations about whether their patience will pay off.

Metacognition - the ability to reflect on our thinking - plays a large part in our decision-making processes.

We don't only have emotions or desires that drive us. We also reflect on our emotions, regret our decisions, and try to work around them to pursue our immediate and delayed goals.

The label of 'failure' when people don't opt for delayed gratification is often completely misleading, such as when someone chooses immediate rewards because they don't trust the promise of a delayed reward.

Prescriptive moulds that say how people are supposed to act is unhelpful. Instead, the goal should be to understand the actual reasons for decision-making within the broader context.

Efficacy, effectiveness, efficiency

These terms sound very similar and are often used interchangeably in everyday conversations.

  • Efficacy means getting stuff done. (Related question: Is it working?)
  • Effectiveness means doing the right things. (Is it working well?)
  • Efficiency means doing things right. (Is it working in the most economical way?)

The difference between efficacy, effectiveness and efficiency - Ness Labs

nesslabs.com

Efficacy is mostly used in a scientific setting. Efficacy is the ability to create an anticipated effect.

For example, a specific medication that improves a patient's symptoms in an ideal environment has demonstrated efficacy.

Efficacy is not always enough. Medication that improves a patient's symptoms under ideal conditions is technically getting things done, but not always the right things.

Effectiveness in clinical trials is about how well a treatment works in the real world, not just in perfectly controlled conditions.

Once you find an effective solution, you can try to improve it, or make it more efficient.

Efficiency is about doing this in the most economical way in terms of time, energy, or money.

Tips To Better Ask For Help
  1. Demonstrate that you've tried to help yourself. Briefly explain what you've tried independently so they know you've tried to solve your problem for yourself before.
  2. Demonstrate that you've acted on the person's advice previously so they won’t be weary you might be wasting their time and not following through.
  3. Consider the timing of your request and asked them when they are free to help so you’re not inconveniencing others.
  4. Use the "Foot in the Door" or "The Door in the Face." In the former a small request that gets the person into "yes" mode is followed by a larger request, while in the latter a large request is denied and followed by a smaller request, which seems more reasonable due to the earlier unreasonable request.
  5. Don't make someone guess what you want, be precise.
  6. Make your requests using multiple channels in customer-service situations. If you don't succeed at first, hang up and try again with a different representative, or switch to a different customer-service channel.
  7. Offer or give more help than you ask for to make people more receptive to your requests.

7 Effective Ways to Ask for Help (and Get It)

psychologytoday.com

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

There are many situations and disastrous circumstances where impulsive and emotional solutions are applied, which apparently solve the problem but unintentionally create new problems or collateral damage that may be worse. This is known as The Law Of Unintended Consequences.

Example: The Forest Service rapidly extinguished forest fires as soon as they erupted, causing larger, more severe forest fires due to an abundance of unburned deadwood spread all over.

The Law of Unintended Consequences

markmanson.net

Our worst decisions are only later known to us as being terrible ones. When we make those decisions, we think of them as good ones

We take shortcuts and solve problems in a quick-fix, rapid-relief method. We don’t consider any long-term effects or where the dominos will fall based on our choices.

  1. We play it safe and do not want to take the time and investigate the root cause of a problem.
  2. Our many cognitive biases act like blind spots, making us only see immediate threats.
  3. We focus on something visual and available (like what’s on TV) and worry about those problems instead of focusing on the real but invisible problems which may be more lethal.
  4. Our decisions have certain compounding effects that are not visible for years, yet when the entire time period and the corresponding events are accounted for, the stupidity of the solution is revealed.

Some basic techniques we can apply to minimize the unintended problems:

  1. Apply non-action: Not acting out the impulsive reaction that we think will solve a problem is often the simplest way to let it subside.
  2. Think of the risks: What feels right is often not so. Take the worst-case scenario into account.
  3. The opposite effect: Understand that regulating or focusing on eradicating something can even lead to its proliferation.
  4. The undo button: Permanent decisions that can’t be undone are the worst offenders. If you have to make a decision, make something that can be corrected.
The Pen And Paper

Even in this digital age, when automation is in full force and being swift on the keyboard is a crucial skill, using your hand and pencil is still on top of the charts for cognitive learning.

Every student of all age groups has one cognitive toolkit with them: a pen and a notebook, to be able to take notes by hand. Handwritten notes are an important and powerful practice to infuse information in the brain, making it easier to retrieve information when required.

The benefits of note-taking by hand

bbc.com

  • Keyboarding information verbatim into the laptop does not involve any cognitive engagement like concept and vocabulary mapping, paraphrasing, summarizing or organizing as manual, by-hand note taking does.
  • When we use a pen and paper, we are creating notes in the real sense, crafting and designing them by hand, which aids brain processing.
  • The cognitive demands of note-taking, taking into consideration speed and legibility makes the process slightly challenging, and creates stronger memory.

Handwritten notes, letters, diaries and journals are an artful, reflective activity that aids learning, while becoming enduring over time.

Doodling and drawing illustrations also help us describe our learnings to others, strengthening and aiding visual learning in us as well as those who we teach.

Preferring The Front Right Burner

Most people prefer the front right burner on their stove.

There are deep psychological reasons why many favor the front right side. Researchers claim that the four-burner stove problem is an outstanding issue in an ergonomic design that continues to attract academic attention.

Why Do Most People Favor Their Stove’s Front Right Burner?

psychologytoday.com

Natural mapping happens when the relationship between an object and its controls are clear. It reduces the need for memory and allows for more intuitive interactions.

Most stoves are not naturally mapped. Typically the controls are arranged in a line while the burners are arranged in a rectangle. There are twenty-four possible arrangements. You have to use mental effort to understand which control goes with which burner.

In essence, we prefer the right burner because we've adapted to poorly mapped stoves.

The most powerful burners are in the front, leaving the back ones for simmering. More people are right-handed. While there are many reasons for preferring the front controls, on a deeper level, it is because we don't want to go through the trouble every time to figure out which burner will be most appropriate.

We can easily function without having a conscious knowledge of what we're doing.

When people take the time to learn precise information, it can help save them in the long run. But because the long-term benefits are minimal, people will continue to use the front right burner.

There are numerous everyday objects in our lives that we unthinkingly rely on to keep our lives running smoothly. These objects had to be designed.

Designers have to consider how users will think and how their muscle memory operates. They have to develop precise information to ensure that people can develop these convenient and reliable habits.

Creativity

While some people are born creative, it is possible to acquire this skill. The right conditions and the right training can make everyone creative, in their own unique way.

As we move from the past where the industrial economy and more recently the knowledge economy had world domination, we reach the conceptual age, where the innovation economy thrives.

To Be More Creative, Cheer Up

nautil.us

  • In various studies, it is found that creative people tend to be more driven, impulsive, and self-confident.

  • They are less conventional and unorthodox in many aspects of life.

  • Openness to new ideas, curiosity and disagreeableness comes as common traits of creative individuals, as they are opposite of normal or popular, and like Steve Jobs, are a prickly personality.

Creativity can be learned as a cognitive skill using the following steps:

  • Preparation: The basic rules, languages, and instructions in any skill.
  • Incubation: When ideas wander in your brain's neural network, lost in the wild.
  • Illumination: This is the Aha! Moment, the light bulb coming on.
  • Verification: Where it is verified that the idea is real or just a random dream without legs.

The neural pathways in our brain, that drive creativity is where incubation happens; this process involves the entire brain, not just the right-brain side, as assumed by most.

These neural pathways fostering incubation are known as the default mode network (DMN). It jostles and dances for space and sparks with another pathway known as the cognitive control network (CCN), forming an outer layer of pathways.

Divergent thinking is a tuning out process that widens the mental ‘net’ and is akin to shifting the focus from micro to macro, or changing the focus altogether. Divergent thinking is a hallmark of incubation and eclipses even ‘IQ’ as a predictor to one’s creative powers.

Incubation is critical to restrain or inhibit habits that might otherwise hamper our creativity.

One way to continuously be in a state of mind that is prepared for a stroke of genius is to be happy-go-lucky, staying in a positive mood, with a relaxed, flexible state of attention.

Basic Biochemistry Of Creativity

For creative achievement to be realized, there are three broad cognitive abilities that are required:

  • The ability to generate new ideas.
  • Response inhibition, that is the ability to break out of a routine with ease.
  • A working memory that retains ideas.

Creativity is a never-ending slog and it’s best to keep writing, practising and just being in a river-like flow.

Addicted to Consuming Information

The amount of content on the Internet is huge and it’s practically impossible for us to consume it all. But we struggle with it anyway.

This creates a situation where we are constantly digesting information mainly because “we have got to know this.” Even if we never apply that information in our own lives.

How to Organize Information and Tidy up Your Thoughts

lifehack.org

In the case of information, reading several articles and sources on the same topic can create a lot of clutter. Because it creates internal struggles and questions:

  • What sort of information is important?
  • This post said this is important while another post said it wasn’t important. What information is relevant here?
  • What information should I internalize and apply?

... for organizing information:

  • Location: put the most relevant stuff to be within reach.
  • Alphabet: for organizing lists of people and statistics, dictionaries, and official documents.
  • Time: used when providing step by step instructions or when things have to be in chronological order.
  • Category: organize information by similarity or relatedness.
  • Hierarchy: organizing information that is used collectively to compare things.
Mind mapping

It's a method of capturing thoughts and organizing them in a visual way.

This is an extremely effective tool to organize what matters most to you: If something is relevant to your goals and desires, write it down. If not, remove it from your mind.

Make a to-do list every day and use that to organize the most important tasks for you to complete that day.

Lists help to organize what must be done and give you a sense of time management as well.

Put the notes that you make into specific groups of information. For example, if you have a lot of information on business ideas, or opportunities, write them in a book or place them in a digital document.

Toss out the information you no longer need or have tried before.

This strategy takes the idea of making lists to the next level: summarizing the information you consume or placing the key points in a list you can consult later.

It doesn’t have to be organized in a collection or anything. The idea is that it’ll be easier to digest and process later when your brain has energy.

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