Episodes

Episode 15: The Sharp Sting of Dissonance

Episode 15: The Sharp Sting of Dissonance

Your 20-something-year-old son decides to buy a car without your help and you come to find out that he got ripped off. He tells you the story of what happened and you cannot believe it. Apparently, your son agreed to buy a car off Craigslist, gave your home address to a stranger, and thought nothing of the request to pay in cash, even when the seller showed up with a car that looked nothing like the one in the online ad. When you point out these red flags to your son, all he does is get mad and come up with reasons of self-justification, which makes you furious. Our guest, Dr. Carol Tavris, will say that, in fact, your son is just a victim of his brain’s own deception. Find out about the perils of cognitive dissonance and why we find it hard to accept our own mistakes.

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Episode 14: Demystifying the Bi-Polar Ape

Episode 14: Demystifying the Bi-Polar Ape

On a daily basis we direct our attention, guide our instincts, and move from making micro to macro decisions feeling that we are fully in control of our inner machinery called the brain. While exploring the nature and development of Executive Function skills and its impact on learning and self-awareness, one can’t help but notice that many of us are unaware of ‘why we do what we do’. Today on the podcast, a world-renowned primatologist and celebrated author, Professor Fran de Waal, brings a perspective that we are not so different from the animals and the Interconnectedness between the good, the bad, and the ugly tendencies that form the true human nature are quite closely related to our animal counterparts.

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Episode 13: From Pimples to Projects: Taking Charge of HOW to Learn

Episode 13: From Pimples to Projects: Taking Charge of HOW to Learn

Pre-teen years are a breeding ground for pimples, mood swings, eye-rolls, and social awkwardness. But that’s not the only stuff these kids have to adjust to. There is a remarkable shift in academic demands that’s far out and equally daunting. During the Middle School years, kids have to actually learn how to study for tests, independently write papers by elaborating on ideas, and manage their priorities to put together projects. The system assumes that somehow these kids will learn to swim just because we have thrown them into the water of self-management. Today, Lynn Meltzer, Ph.D., returns for the second time to discuss ways to teach these essential and intricate skills that go into managing goals and priorities to help support the development of Executive Function skills.

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Episode 12: Project “Run-Away”

Episode 12: Project “Run-Away”

If not properly handled, some projects can spiral out of control like a runaway train. Assignments involving project-based learning professes that children learn best when they experience the real-world problems and solve them on their own. In one of the elementary schools I had worked with, students were spotted to rush in with awkwardly large homemade robots as part of their 4th grade project. The teacher’s conditions were such that each student had to design the robot without spending more than $5, assemble it without parents’ help, put together an operating manual, and finally present everything in front of the class.  Project management involves the finer aspects of executive function skills and is rarely taught systematically. So did this project truly help inculcate the crucial skills for real world problem solving? Today, my guest Lynn Meltzer, Ph.D., will discuss this very idea of ways to increase student’s control over his or her learning.

* This is Lynn’s first podcast episode where she discusses Executive Function, managing long range goals, and learning the how of learning.

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Episode 11: Don’t Forget You’ll Forget – How To Improve Prospective Memory

Episode 11: Don’t Forget You’ll Forget – How To Improve Prospective Memory

What do a sponge, a needle, or a drill bit fragment have in common?

Well these are the most common but harmful things that a surgeon can leave inside you that don’t belong there. Remembering to retrieve things out of patient’s cavity before suturing the patient up requires prospective memory – remembering to remember. It’s the most critical Executive Function process essential in managing life’s goals. Today, our guest Professor Mark McDaniel, will be talking about ways to help carry out our future intentions and prevent dire consequences of our forgetfulness.

* This is Professor McDaniel’s second podcast episode that provides an overview of tools and processes to manage prospective memory and Executive Function.

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Episode 10: Prospective Memory – Your Memory For The Future

Episode 10: Prospective Memory – Your Memory For The Future

Elephants never forget! But I guess we do. Forgetting to drop off dry cleaning, book a hotel or register for a class on time can cause disruption if not devastation. Everyday we make plans to do things in the future. We have great intentions and a confident mental state that makes us believe that all of our plans will materialize; however, often our failed memories surprise us. Listen to my guest Professor Mark McDaniel talk about what prospective memory is all about and why we have trouble remembering to remember.

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Episode 9: Befriend Your Estranged Future-Self

Episode 9: Befriend Your Estranged Future-Self

However creative we might be, the human blind spot disallows us from imagining ourselves vividly in the distant future. Neuroscience says we are far better at constructing our past from memory as compared to projecting ourselves as a distant future-self. For example, in theory, posting 100,000 post-it notes all over the high school as a senior prank sounds creative and harmless, right? It was only after 29 Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School students got suspended that they were able to imagine what pickle they got themselves into. Interestingly, the class of 2012 Valedictorian and Salutatorian were among the suspended 29. We assume smarts makes us better at seeing our future-self but it may be not be so. On today’s podcast, my guest, Professor Hal Hershfield from the UCLA School of Management, will help connect Executive Function and the concept of future-self.

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Episode 8: The Right Way to Write

Episode 8: The Right Way to Write

Since I read about Jeff Bezos’ email from June 9, 2004, I have concluded that my clients need my training to survive at Amazon!” Why?” you ask. Well, Bezos is demanding that his team use their Executive Function when making a pitch for a new idea. He wants everyone to move away from the simplistic bullet-point lists in PowerPoint presentations. Rather, he wants his employees to submit a 4-6 page “narrative” that he calls memos. Executive Function lets you orchestrate ideas into a complex sequence and then expand them into a cohesive form that we collectively call “impressive writing.” Today, in her second podcast appearance, my guest, Dr. Bonnie Singer, who is an expert in this and also happens to be a brilliant fellow Speech-Language Pathologist, will talk about teaching writing.

* This is Bonnie’s second podcast episode that discusses important techniques to improve the writing process with the lens of Executive Function.

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ExFiles: Client Story 1 – Lynn Seaward

ExFiles: Client Story 1 – Lynn Seaward

We love stories because they change our perspective. They give us a window into the lives of many through which we get to witness extraordinary evidence of human resilience. Noam Chomsky once said, “It is quite possible, overwhelmingly probable, one might guess – that we will always learn more about human life and personality from novels than from scientific psychology”. What do novels do after all? They tell stories of people. They unlock our imagination to help us see that people’s narratives are strangely similar to ours or uniquely different from anyone we know. Introducing the Special Edition of my Podcast, Full PreFrontal, I am calling “ExFiles: Stories That Matter”. Come along with me and listen to the first episode as one of my clients, Lynn Seaward, shares the true challenges of Executive Function and how she has managed to rise above it!

Episode 7: Write to Finish!

Episode 7: Write to Finish!

“For sale. Baby Shoes. Never worn.” These 6 words capture your attention, hook your emotions, and unleash your imagination. Apparently, legend has it that during an afternoon lunch with friends, Hemingway bet that he could write the shortest novel in six words. And he did. Whether Hemingway really wrote that or not, the hardest thing you’ll ever learn to do is write! As a successful author, Hemingway certainly had all the support he needed from his brain’s air-traffic controller, his Executive Function. In this episode, Dr. Bonnie Singer, presents a compelling perspective on writing as the highest form of Executive Function proficiency.

* This is Bonnie’s first episode that provides an overview of the relationship between the writing process and Executive Function.

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