Episodes

Episode 55: Memory Matters

Episode 55: Memory Matters

Rajveer Meena from India successfully recalled 70,000 decimal places of pi (π) and broke the previous Guinness World Record of reciting 67,890 digits of pi held by Lu Chao of China since 2005. By reading about such a feat of accomplishment, you can easily see the giant rift between “memory athletes” and ordinary citizens. However, memory is more of a skill than a gift which means everyone is capable of such an “athletic” feat.

On today’s podcast, our guest, a neuroscientist, author, blogger, and a frequent contributor to Psychology Today, William Klemm, Ph.D., speaks on the topic of memory, memory structure, and the relationship between memory, learning, and Executive Function.

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Episode 54: Build a Better Brain – Now!

Episode 54: Build a Better Brain – Now!

The hopeful expectation of living into old age is often marred by the fear of the irreversible decline in one’s abilities and mental faculties. When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, the scientific community, professionals and society in general is dedicated to pursuing a three-pronged approach: find ways to irradiate the disease, delay the onset of the disease, and finally, figure out the most effective and comfort-centered approach to care-giving.

Since brain imaging studies reveal that the damage to the brain begins decades prior to the symptoms ever starting to interfere with daily functions, on today’s podcast our guest, Kenneth S. Kosik, M.A. M.D., returns to discuss ways to envision the vitality of the neural landscape to build a better brain and elevate well-being, a sure way to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Kosik is a Harriman Professor and Co-Director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at UCSB, and is a highly celebrated award-winning research scientist who has coauthored a book called Outsmarting Alzheimer’s Disease: What You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk.

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Episode 53: The Aging Brain’s Destiny

Episode 53: The Aging Brain’s Destiny

Even while leading a healthy mental and physical life, no one can be certain about the aging brain’s destiny. The stage of life marked by walkers, hearing aids, and memory lapses is averted by a few, but dreaded by all. Since Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the three leading causes of death in the elderly population, how to keep performing at the top of one’s game, even in old age, is of interest to many.

On today’s podcast, our guest, a Harriman Professor and Co-Director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at UCSB, and highly celebrated, award-winning research scientist, Kenneth S. Kosik, M.A. M.D., will speak on the topic of Alzheimer’s, aging, and age-related changes. Since age-related cognitive decline goes beyond just remembering and forgetting, it’s important to understand how it all relates to Executive Function and self-sufficiency.

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Episode 52: Off the Scale and Onto a Treadmill

Episode 52: Off the Scale and Onto a Treadmill

There’s no guarantee you will step on a treadmill right after stepping off a scale with disappointing number. Goals clash with fears and anxieties resulting in procrastination, which is a common place phenomenon. But by connecting to values and committing to actions, we can treat daily tasks like a workout rather than a race to finish.

On today’s podcast, our guest a professor of psychology, award winning teacher, successful author and a prolific podcaster, Tim Pychyl, Ph.D., returns to explore strategies for overcoming procrastination and manage emotional reluctance to take on important tasks that have become undesirable. Essentially, by learning ways to overcome procrastination, we can master executive dysfunction and avert frequent encounters with existential crises.

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Episode 51: No More Procrastination

Episode 51: No More Procrastination

No one has been spared from the strong impulse to put things off for later. You might find yourself cleaning out the refrigerator when you should really be working on your taxes.  Dilly-dallying and lollygagging are a few ways one’s aversion for impending tasks manifests itself. In the Netflix series, The Kominsky Method, Alan Arkin’s character loses his wife of nearly 50 years to cancer and at the funeral, his daughter who never visits her ailing mother during her illness shows up. The upset father asks why and to which she replies, “Because I was busy”.  When pressed further, the daughter blurts out, “Because I didn’t think she’ll die.” In this case, the daughter’s procrastination went too far.

On today’s podcast, our guest, Tim Pychyl, Ph.D., professor of psychology, award-winning teacher, successful author, and prolific podcaster, will talk about why we procrastinate. Since the hallmark of executive dysfunction is inefficiency, poor task management, and lack of goal achievement, this conversation will add a critical perspective to methods of supporting individuals with Executive Function.

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Episode 50: Goodness of Fit

Episode 50: Goodness of Fit

When talking about his sad mess of a childhood, author Augustine Boroughs’ fantasy of normalcy resembled to that of “fabric-softener, tuna-salad-on-white, PTA-meeting normal”. In his autobiography, Running with Scissors, Boroughs writes about his guardian conjuring a mental health excuse by giving him the directive to pop pills, drink liquor and fake his own suicide so that he could get out of going school. As a reader you can’t help but think in what ways these childhood experiences shaped Boroughs’ life views. Being prepared to respond to life’s events as you know best and to bounce back from personal, social, and societal adversity is the hallmark of resilience.

Today’s guest, Dr. Robert Brooks, returns with his brilliant insights to help us make the connections between resiliency, self-discipline, and parenting and how the we must place great importance on the idea of goodness of fit!

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Episode 49: Calling For A Charismatic Adult

Episode 49: Calling For A Charismatic Adult

Roberto Benigni’s critically acclaimed role in the movie Life is Beautiful, which earned him an Oscar, poignantly illustrates what a caring, charismatic adult does to shield a young boy from the horrors of captivity in a concentration camp as they were thrown into the atrocities of war. With his resilient ways, Guido Orefice, the father in this movie, interacts reassuringly with his son and helps him gain a sense of control over his life in the midst of chaos. The question then arises: Are all adults inherently equipped to cast a positive influence on a child? When polled, American adults always indicate their genuine concern for the budding American youth; however, children of misfortune are often stamped from the beginning with heavy odds weighing against their wholesome development. Researchers agree that the consistent factor that tips the scale in a child’s favor is a caring and influential adult.

On today’s podcast, psychologist and prolific author, Dr. Robert Brooks, whose expertise includes resiliency, motivation, and parenting, talks about the role of a charismatic adult in developing well-adjusted children.

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Episode 48: There’s No Silver Bullet

Episode 48: There’s No Silver Bullet

As a youngster growing up in 70s, if I had struggled to retain facts, or to learn a second (more like third) language or did not grasp advance math or failed to finish the exam on time, I would have been lectured or yelled at. In that era, I would have been reprehended for not trying hard enough or for not caring enough about my learning. Thankfully, the development in neuroscience and the deeper understanding of psychology of learning has opened our eyes to the possibilities that student’s learning difficulties may not stem from his/her stubbornness nor is it an indication of poor character. In the 21st century, if a child has a persistent cold, the parents will take him/her to the doctor without hesitation. But a struggling learners’ difficulties often lead to confusion and inconsistent cultural recommendations because the parents are often unsure as to what learning challenges are serious enough to require formal action.

On today’s podcast, Dr. Judy Wolman returns to discuss why barriers in learning require specific steps, the benefit of formal evaluation, and how proper investigation clears the way for selecting the right environment for the child to thrive.

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Episode 47: Navigating the Educational Terrain

Episode 47: Navigating the Educational Terrain

No one is free form worrying about their children and their success. From sippy cups, nap times, and play dates, parents move on to worrying about lost papers, missing homework, too much cell-phone use, or not getting a part in a school play. Normal mishaps aside, a struggling child can cause even greater worry. Email exchanges like this one are not uncommon. “Johnny seems to work tremendously hard in school, but he is struggling to get his work done efficiently. I am concerned that he’s falling behind, and his effort is not reflected in his test performance. Johnny also seems to struggle in socializing with his peers and he doesn’t seem to have any friends. I think Johnny needs help.”

At the start of each year, teachers anxiously wait to see what their classes are going to look like and within few weeks the chips begin to fall as they may as the students who are likely to need more individual attention and specific help begin to emerge with their struggles; sometimes subtly and sometimes vividly. Teachers share their concerns with the parents and then the parents begin to worry as they try and make sense of these observations. Parents, teachers, LD specialists, SLPs, and school psychologists begin to begin to put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together as they sort, assess, and find ways to label these issues to correctly guide their learning journey. What is needed is a clarity that informs the decision about the next step. On today’s podcast, Dr. Judy Wolman, an education psychologist, will discuss the process of evaluating the relationship between the brain and behavior and how that impacts education.

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Episode 46: A Garden for Sutter Keely

Episode 46: A Garden for Sutter Keely

Sutter Keely is a smart, goofy, sensitive, troubled, unserious, and lost teenager who doesn’t have the best Executive Function skills. Sutter is the main character in the movie ‘The Spectacular Now’ whose life choices are not that off the mark for a teenager but do certainly stand out from his sweet, focused, ambitious, and future-centered ex-girlfriend or the studious, hard-working, curious, engaged, and caring new girlfriend. This movie beautifully captures the angst of a young man who hasn’t yet discovered the purpose of learning, the value of good habits, nor has he tamed the wild emotions such as anger, loneliness, and sadness that rule his decision making. But all in all, this movie helps us understand how to look for the composite portrait of a young life trying to make it. The movie invites us to become gardeners as we think of the grand beauty and power that lays dormant within a bud that blossoms into a spectacular flower.

On today’s podcast, my guest MaryAnn Brittingham, the author of Respectful Discipline, Motivating the Unmotivated, Dealing with Difficult Parents and the co-author of Transformative Teaching: Changing Today’s Classrooms Culturally, Academically and Emotionally will discuss how to be the gardeners.

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