Our brains start to shrink around the age of forty. As shrinkage speeds up, our memory, perception, learning, and attention begin to degrade. It becomes harder to form complex thoughts, memorise long sequences, or solve technical problems. But not all experience this drop in brainpower at the same rate. Some people stay sharp as they age, others not so much.
Why are some brains more resilient to decline than others? The answer lies in our ability to produce neurons. Our brains, it turns out, keep making neurons even in our 90s. …
Have you ever been halted in your tracks by a stunning view or a wonderful piece of art, music, or monument? How did that make you feel?
Psychologists define awe as a feeling you get when confronted with something vast, unusual, or mysterious — a place or an object that transcends your everyday’s experiences. When gazing at an aurora borealis, looking up from a mountaintop or standing in front of the Giza pyramids, you experience a feeling of wonder mixed with a touch of mystery. …
It took humanity six thousand years to come up with the rolling suitcase — from the invention of the wheel in Mesopotamia to Bernad Sadow’s patent in 1970.
Why is creativity so hard? And is it possible to have great ideas more easily?
To answer these questions, scientists carried a series of experiments worthy of a Marvel script. They designed electrical helmets to control brain activity, energising certain brain parts and putting other parts to sleep. The results of these experiments — known as transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) — were no less than astounding.
Upon receiving tiny currents to targeted…
What does it take to produce your best work, your magnum opus, your proudest creation?
Dean Keith Simonton is one of those who spent more than three decades looking to answer this question. He and his colleagues published some of the most comprehensive studies on people who did exceptional work in arts, science, business, engineering, and other areas.
“Is the thinking that leads to exceptional performance the same in music as in science or business?” Simonton wondered. After all, an engineer’s way of thinking has little, if anything, in common with a painter. To answer this question and more, Simonton…
These articles resonated with so many people (entrepreneurs, college students, programmers, designers, etc.) I decided to group them into a list.
These tips and techniques have been proven and tested by world-class experts in behavioural psychology, neuroscience, marketing, and data science.
Look no further. Here are my best articles to improve your creative thinking, learn new skills more effectively, and get better at solving technical problems.
“Not a lot of people wake up each day and say: it’s a great day for decarbonisation.”
Says John Marshall, who is leading a highly successful campaign to spread awareness about the risks of climate change.
Words can become obstacles to understanding, let alone caring. A failure to communicate, according to Marshall, is why we struggle to take proper action against pressing issues such as climate change, poverty, pandemics.
What’s the fix?
Think about people first. Talking about an issue you care about is one thing. Making people care is something else.
Here are three simple things that Marshall recommends…
In 1999, Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric, was named manager of the century by Fortune magazine. His leadership style, Rank and Yank, became the embodiment of corporate America in the 1980s and 1990s. Welch’s strategy was simple: rank employees from best to worst, reward the top twenty per cent with hefty cash bonuses, fire the bottom ten per cent. Repeat each year.
Did you know that people tend to buy more coffee once their loyalty cards are almost complete? That’s what Oleg Urminsky, a professor of marketing at the University of Chicago, and his colleagues have found.
Urminsky belongs to a scientific community that is probing motivation, desire, and willpower like never before. Using neuroscience, cognitive psychology, big data, and case studies, these researchers study all sorts of triggers behind elite productivity, leaving no stone unturned.
While many of their findings are still elusive, five scientific facts stand out. …
In 1967, a young American executive named David Wallerstein was tasked with a mission: increase popcorn sales in his company’s cinemas.
Wallerstein tried all sorts of marketing tricks: buy one get a one-half price, morning specials, and so forth. Yet profits remained flat. Then one day, he got an idea: “What if we offer people more popcorn without them having to buy a second bag?” It was easy; just offer a larger bag. Shortly after, the jumbo size was introduced, and the company’s popcorn sales skyrocketed.
Wallerstein’s idea seems obvious, yet no one else thought of it before. That’s because…
When it comes to mastery, motivation is more important than talent. Without it, the difficult hours of practice — necessary to elevate you above the rest — can feel excruciating.
But where does motivation come from, and can you create more if you want to? Psychologists have identified three critical elements that ignite motivation, all of which you can tweak to your advantage.
According to psychologists, your motivation peaks when you feel in charge. Whether practising on your own or working in a team, your perception of autonomy predicts how energised you can be in chasing your goal.