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  • The brain is the sexiest organ in the entire human body.

  • But for all it's amazing intricacies and complexities, its beautiful nature is too

  • commonly misunderstood and oversimplified.

  • We'll cut the fact from fiction, and show you how to actually optimize your brain's

  • performance.

  • Dr. Jubbal, MedSchoolInsiders.com.

  • I was inspired to make this video after seeing countless productivity gurus, bloggers, course

  • course creators, and even highly esteemed authors get the science wrong as it relates to the

  • brain.

  • For those of you who are new here, my name is Dr. Kevin Jubbal.

  • Prior to earning my MD, I earned my degree in Neuroscience, which is where my obsession

  • with the human brain began.

  • It's first critical to understand that neuroscience is still a very nascent field, particularly

  • when it comes to applying neuroscience to education and brain optimization.

  • While we've learned a great deal in the past few decades, we've also debunked many

  • previous beliefs.

  • Yet these myths are still commonly thrown around today.

  • If you believe people only use 10% of their brain, chances are you are one of those people.

  • In all seriousness, healthy individuals use the entirety of their brain, not just 10%

  • of it.

  • A big reason this myth hasn't died is that it makes us feel good.

  • We're comforted by the prospect that our shortcomings and unfulfilled dreams lie in

  • The fact that we just haven't utilized the huge reservoir of cerebral power within our heads.

  • The origins of this myth can be traced back to William James in the late 19th and early

  • 20th centuries.

  • He was a firm believer that the average person rarely achieves anywhere near their full potential.

  • The self-help gurus that followed were not so careful with their word choice, and “10

  • percent of our capacitybecame “10 percent of our brain.”

  • Journalist Lowell Thomas then attributed this 10 percent myth to William James in the preface

  • to Dale Carenegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.

  • And the rest is history.

  • Since then, early neuroscience studies have noted that a large percentage of the cortex

  • is less active.

  • Thissilent cortexhas since been renamed theassociation cortex”, which was likely

  • misconstrued and misrepresented to the public through the questionable work of journalists

  • who have no business summarizing scientific research.

  • And just because damage to the association cortex doesn't lead to sensory or motor

  • deficits doesn't mean these areas are not important.

  • In fact, these regions of the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes of your brain

  • are foundational to making us humanthey allow for communication, reasoning, planning,

  • adapting, visual integration, and many other crucial functions.

  • Even though the adult human brain weighs only 2% of the body's mass, it consumes 20% of

  • our daily energy expenditure.

  • On a per weight basis, human brains pack the most neurons compared to any other species.

  • This is what makes us so smart.

  • The downside to having so many neurons is that it's incredibly expensive from an energy

  • perspective.

  • The cooking hypothesis states that a major reason why humans evolved to spend so much

  • energy on their brains is because of cooking, which is using external energy to partially

  • digest food, thereby allowing our digestive tracts to process food more efficiently.

  • Less energy spent digesting food means more energy can go to our noggins.

  • Because the brain is incredibly costly from an energy perspective, our brains have evolved

  • to employ a signaling mechanism known as sparse coding.

  • Sparse coding evolved as it optimizes the energy to information balance, using the least

  • amount of energy while carrying the most amount of information.

  • For this reason, only 1-16% of the neurons in your brain are active at any single moment.

  • However, if these neurons never fired, evolution would have selected to get rid of them long

  • ago, as even maintaining these neurons is incredibly expensive from an energy standpoint.

  • Which brings us to the next mythmultitasking.

  • Because of the brain's high energy cost, we simply cannot multitask effectivelyit's

  • too costly from an energy perspective.

  • The brain doesn't allow us to allocate enough energy and resources to do multiple tasks

  • at full capacity.

  • That's why if you try to do 2 or 3 things at once, you end up doing each task worse

  • than if you just gave it your full attention.

  • Now you may be thinking, “I've got you trapped Dr. Jubbal!

  • How is it that I'm able to walk and talk on the phone at the same time?”

  • It's important to note that the multitasking myth applies to attention-rich stimuli and

  • tasks that cannot be done on autopilot.

  • Breathing, walking, sitting, and even stretching aren't tasks in the same way that speaking

  • to someone, reading a book, or solving a problem are.

  • There are three memory stages - first you encode information, then you store it, and

  • finally you retrieve it.

  • Naveh-Benjamin in 2000 found that information encoding requires more attention than retrieval.

  • Additionally, divided attention during the encoding phase of learning significantly impairs

  • memory.

  • There are dozens of additional studies with supporting evidence that multitasking is neither

  • efficient nor effective.

  • In the interest of time, you should deliberately commit yourself to only one challenging task at a

  • time to maximize efficiency, productivity, and balance in your life.

  • I go over how to apply this in your daily life in my Superhuman Efficiency and Productivity

  • video. Link in the description below.

  • Arguably the most commonly believed myth is that some of us areright-brained”, and

  • some of us areleft-brained”, corresponding to being more artistic and creative or more

  • logical and analytical, respectively.

  • First, a brief neuroanatomy lesson.

  • When speaking of the brain, most people are referring to the neocortex, the large wrinkly

  • portions that are most superficial, meaning on top.

  • These ridges and grooves, called gyri and sulci, respectively, increase the surface

  • area of our brain.

  • This is the key part of our brain that is responsible for the higher level functions

  • that make humans unique from other organisms.

  • These two separate halves each contain multiple regions within them, and each of those regions

  • have specialized functions.

  • It is important to note, however, that these two hemispheres are connected by a mass of

  • white matter, which is made up of nerve fibers, called the corpus callous.

  • This myth originates from oversimplification and misunderstanding of the scientific research

  • starting seeing a theme here?

  • Specifically, the split-brain experiments by Roger Sperry revealed fascinating insights

  • of how the brain works, but it's important to note the subjects had the corpus callosum

  • severed.

  • That means the right and left hemispheres were unable to communicate as they normally

  • would.

  • So while it is true that each hemisphere has specialized functions, the communication between

  • the two hemispheres is essential to adequately carry out these functions.

  • Severing this connection, the corpus callosum, leads to a fascinating host of issues.

  • Regardless, there is no evidence that people's personality or even learning styles differ

  • from one hemisphere being more dominant than the other.

  • Speaking of different learning styles, the idea that some individuals are more kinesthetic

  • versus visual versus auditory learners is also based in fiction.

  • While people may have a clear preference as to the way in which they want to learn, there

  • is no evidence suggesting that aligning a teaching method with a preferred style will

  • improve learning.

  • In fact, this myth may do more harm than good, as those who believe they have a certain learning

  • style may pigeonhole themselves into thinking they cannot learn using other methods.

  • To be most effective, using a mix of the various learning styles is recommended, as the novel

  • stimuli and cross-connections can aid in memory consolidation.

  • By recruiting multiple brain regions and employing a variety of neural pathways, optimal learning

  • is achieved.

  • And this is a huge reason why I'm a strong proponent of familiarizing yourself with a

  • variety of study tools and techniques.

  • I have an entire Study Playlist designed to teach you how to incorporate these various

  • strategies in your daily studies.

  • Link in the description below.

  • I was told this time and time again back when I was in grade school.

  • You're born with a certain number of neurons, and you slowly lose them as you get older,

  • without the ability to create new ones.

  • The truth is that everyone has the capacity to develop new cells to enhance their cognitive

  • abilities, both neurons, which are the typical brain cells we think of, and glial cells,

  • the supporting cells which help the neurons function optimally.

  • This process, called neurogenesis, is how you create new neurons.

  • Sustained aerobic exercise, more so than resistance training or high intensity interval training

  • (HIIT), is most effective at boosting neurogenesis.

  • It's not clear why, but researchers believe aerobic exercise may cause increased release

  • of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which regulates neurogenesis.

  • Stress relief, including sex, may also enhance neurogenesis, as chronic stress inhibits new

  • neuron formation.

  • Interestingly, any experience that makes you focus attention, even for brief periods, can

  • stimulate neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which is the memory center in your brain.

  • With that knowledge, it appears that using your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth

  • has greater utility than simply helping you prepare for your surgery clerkship.

  • The idea that Mozart or other classical music makes you smarter is another commonly held

  • belief that I was told time and time again during my childhood and adolescence.

  • But I always gravitated to punk, ska, electronic music, and hip hop, so I personally didn't

  • dabble much myself, and I like to think I turned out ok.

  • I've gone over the research surrounding the Mozart Effect and the science of music

  • and cognitive function in a previous video Link in the description below.

  • Possibly the most harmful of all neuromyths is that your mental capacity is something

  • you are born with and cannot change.

  • While it is true that your cognitive abilities have a genetic component, environmental factors

  • should not be underestimated.

  • Our brains are incredibly malleable and adaptable throughout our liveswe describe this

  • with the term neuroplasticity.

  • That's where deliberate practice and intelligent strategy come into play.

  • And that's what we're entirely about here at Med School Insiders.

  • If you aren't getting the results you want, you have to change the systems that influence

  • them, both directly and indirectly.

  • Start with our YouTube videos and blog posts on our website.

  • I cover not only the importance but also the implementation of active learning, spaced

  • repetition, proper sleep, techniques to overcome procrastination, and many more.

  • Most students notice a significant and substantial improvement in their performance from following

  • the guidance in these videos and blog posts.

  • But if you're still not getting the results you want, our highly talented team of physician

  • tutors can help.

  • They've excelled on the MCAT, USMLE, and COMLEX exams, and they can help you do the