Target reading time: 3 mins 09 secs
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This week on the brain; neuroscience, nutrition & first impressions.

Every week we share some science for your brain's health and performance - this week is all about learning how to remember, beetroots & what we love.

Remember to practice to remember...

Picture an actor learning their lines - they're stanging up and talking, right? Actually practising them in order to learn better. So why do we always think we can learn by reading alone? (Guilty. Right here.)

Time to put your learning into action.

Whether you’re studying for something or have a back sweat-inducing presentation to nail - this one’s for you.

Make some noise

Active recall is probably a term you’ve heard bandied around, but what actually is it?

The idea is to do your presentation, or speak about the topic you’re studying out loud - even if you don’t think you know enough to do it right.

Each time you delve into your memory vault to retrieve information (even if you make mistakes), you update it with better understanding, so you learn more thoroughly.

Reading the information encodes the information, and trying to remember it makes the information easier to retrieve.

Says who?

This clever study by Karpicke & Blunt researched four types of learning;

1) study text once

2) study text four consecutive times

3) study text, then generate a concept map

4) study text, practise retrieval, study text again, practise retrieval again.

Who performed the best? You guessed it, number four.

Ready to give it a bash? Try these 5 active recall strategies.

FOR THE NERDY: Being a retriever is golden

[Source: Science Mag]

Beetroot, quinoa and feta salad

This week’s seasonal beetroot recipe is ideal for making double portions to take for lunch. Courtesy of dietitian and personal trainer, Kerri Major - it’s light on effort, but heavy on flavour - just the way we like it.

"Beetroot has a high content of nitrate, a useful compound which acts as a vasodilator, opening blood vessels and allowing more blood and oxygen to be delivered to the working muscles and the brain."


Why is it good for my brain?

Beets bring it with antioxidants up the wazoo, and help to increase blood flow to the brain. Asparagus is high in B vitamins, particularly folate - which tends to your brain’s white matter (the signalling part), and according to this study, can reverse the signs of aging. And iron-rich quinoa helps get oxygen to your brain and is important in neurotransmitter synthesis, regulation of body temperature, enzyme activity and metabolism. Not too shabby for one salad, hey?

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Elevation Station

Think of a memory, really picture it, relive it. How much would you stake on your memory being accurate? Psychologist, Elizabeth Loftus explains why that might not always be such a safe bet. (youtube)

An interesting read that explores near-death experiences, psychedelics, and meditation as clues to the absolute head-f*ck of a question: Is consciousness related to your brain? (Psychology Today)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt talks to filmmaker Rian Johnson about creativity, and the line between inspiration and imitation. (apple podcasts)

The science world features a lot of men. Even the score with - featuring female scientists sharing their research stories from the lab and field.

Final Thoughts

This brings to a close our first week rebranded as 'Heights' - so I thought I'd share a story of personal development from Burning Man in the desert last week to wrap up; about challenging my perceptions.

I consider myself rather open-minded and accepting of people, but I can certainly be guilty of judging a first impression too fast. This is why I decided to ask the two people I connected with the least at first, (frankly I found both to be pretty rude to me), to join me on my visit to the Temple (the place of worship, memory and sadness).

I'll spare the full story but by the end of the week they were 2 of my favourite people. I came to understand their more introverted nature and how it can manifest externally, and result in poor first impressions from people like, well, me. I'm sure my extroverted nature has had that effect on many too.

Back in the real world, I am determined to take that lesson on board and give people more space, be less quick to judge what I perceive to be rude behaviour, and who knows where or how that might manifest into new opportunities all round.

Do you have a similar experience where you've challenged your own prejudice?

If so - I want to hear about it - just hit reply!