Neuroscience-based strategies for encouraging growth mindset, creativity, emotion regulation and resilience.
Season 1 Episode 1 – Neuroscience of Growth Mindset
In this revised first episode, we'll look at why fixed mindset is 'neurologically inaccurate', how our experiences build brain architecture, and two types of neuroplasticity that can help us re-program our behaviors We'll also see how struggle and failure spark powerful and creative changes in the brain why celebrating 'grit' and effort can be a bad idea.
One of the most important ideas that anyone can bring into any learning environment is to help people recognize their capacity to learn. Simply because they are human. Simply because of the architecture of the human brain, they are capable of developing new adaptations and flexible ways of achieving their goals. And that is really what intelligence and learning is all about.
Season 1 Episode 2 – Psychological Safety, Resilience and the Vagus Nerve
"It's not merely that we can't be loving or creative when we're scared; we can't heal." -Stephen Porges
In order for us to access our most evolved neural and behavioral resources, we must be in a state of physiological and psychological safety.
We'll explore this idea through the lens of something called the the Polyvagal Theory and the Social Engagement System.
This highly evolved system has to do with the 10th cranial nerve called the Vagus Nerve.
As soon as we move into a state of vigilance or defensiveness, we have less access to this very evolved system.
Understanding the Social Engagement System and the Vagus Nerve can help us do three key things:
1) regulate our own internal state,
2) have a better understanding of what other peoples triggers are and how to help them
regulate themselves; and
3) create conditions that nurture the social engagement system and increase the chances that are more evolved systems can come online in a given moment.
Season 1 Episode 3 – The science most people keep using is wrong
There's a lot of 'old science' out there. Stuff we humans used to believe that has been de-bunked.
Things like... 'humans are more complex than other species, which means we have more genes.'
Before the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, humans were estimated as having around 100,000 genes - more than any other species.
Nope. Turns out we only have between 20,000-25,000 genes.
A tiny moss plant actually beats humans with 10,000 more genes than we do. The sponge genome contains 18,000 genes, many of which are similar to people.
In fact, humans and sponges share around 70 percent of their DNA.
Previous generations simply did not have the same science and understanding of genes that we have now. They didn't know how much environment plays a role.
"Genetic destiny" or determinism - the belief that we get what we get when we're born, and this will dictate the rest of our life... this is a belief that older generations had.
They were wrong.
This includes our belief about the destiny of the brain.
In this episode, you'll find out the other two outdated systems most of us keep using that is holding us back from creating the change we hope to see.
[Bonus: here's an extra science update that most people don't talk about:
ALMOST ALL DINOSAURS were probably covered in feathers.
The point? We need to stay on our toes and make sure we don't keep passing on outdated thinking to the next generation :-) :-) ]
Season 1 Episode 4 – A Sense of Purpose
In this episode, we look at how neuroscience can help us develop a sense of 'Purpose':
1) That people are mainly reacting to life unconsciously (not 'on purpose'). Understanding this helps us get to the root of our issues, instead of repeating our reactions over and over again.
2) We can do more things 'on purpose': by strengthening our prefrontal cortex, we can have more control over our reactions and behaviors.
3) How to tune in to a sense of purpose - the feeling that we know why we are here and what we are 'meant to do'.
- A neuroscience explanation of the concept of purpose.
- Methods and rituals we can use to have more control over our behavior and impulses.
- Executive functioning skills.
- Mindfulness and meditation.
- Why we numb and distract ourselves, being uncomfortable to sit and go into our own thoughts.
- Importance of expressing our uniqueness in a way that has value.
Season 1 Episode 5 – Self-Regulation: the remarkable skill that will make you a better human
Self-regulation requires special features of the brain that make us truly human: controlled, intentional and socially harmonious. We are born to develop these skills - but we need to learn how to do this.
Humans have a remarkable capacity to deliberately control their internal state. It's not a skill that any other species has - and one that most of us don't really know how to do, but it can be developed. How? By getting to know the autonomic nervous system, the vagus nerve and something called 'interoception': all three of which will make you better at noticing what our body and senses are constantly telling us. Doing this helps us use more of the human features of the brain to keep us calm and in control. In this episode, we'll move our focus away from the 'mental' and psychology-based idea of emotions, and move back into our body and senses to find out how we can have more control over our behaviors.
Season 1 Episode 6 – The importance of sound: Our ears may be more powerful than our eyes
The human ability to hear 'just noticeable differences' is significantly more powerful than what our eyes are able to detect on the visible wave spectrum.
It's possible that what we hear is more important to our survival and well-being than what we see.
And yet, in our digital age, we have become obsessed with what we look at.