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A Primer on Brian Science, Cognition, and Memory – TED Talks

Over the rainy weekend (here in Pennsylvania) I tracked down and collated several of my newer, favorite TED Talks related to what we do in education and professional development. I hope your perspective is uniquely transformed, as mine has been!

RESOURCE: How Reliable is Your Memory

Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies memories. More precisely, she studies false memories, when people either remember things that didn’t happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. It’s more common than you might think, and Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics — and raises some important ethical questions.

RESOURCE: How Your Working Memory Makes Sense of the World

“Life comes at us very quickly, and what we need to do is take that amorphous flow of experience and somehow extract meaning from it.” In this funny, enlightening talk, educational psychologist Peter Doolittle details the importance — and limitations — of your “working memory,” that part of the brain that allows us to make sense of what’s happening right now.

RESOURCE: Memory Feats Anyone Can Do

There are people who can quickly memorize lists of thousands of numbers, the order of all the cards in a deck (or ten!), and much more. Science writer Joshua Foer describes the technique — called the memory palace — and shows off its most remarkable feature: anyone can learn how to use it, including him.

RESOURCE: Visual Illusions That Show How We (Mis)Think

Al Seckel, a cognitive neuroscientist, explores the perceptual illusions that fool our brains. Loads of eye tricks help him prove that not only are we easily fooled, we kind of like it.

(Having explored the video above, you might take another peek at the title of this post and see if anything jumps out at you.)

RESOURCE: The Secret Structure of Great Talks

From the “I have a dream” speech to Steve Jobs’ iPhone launch, many great talks have a common structure that helps their message resonate with listeners. In this talk, presentation expert Nancy Duarte shares practical lessons on how to make a powerful call-to-action.

If you like these talks, you might also like a prior TED talks collation I shared last June, Five Essential TED talks for educators (not about education)

 

Brian S McGowan, PhD

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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