The art and science of mind wandering

“Sorry, I spaced out, what were you saying?” you ask your friend. It has happened to all of us: we are physically in place, while our mind is in another one. Mind wandering, while it can take many forms, is an experience of thought shared by all of humanity. Some people see it as a …

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Productive cognitive load: make the most of your working memory

There’s only so much we can hold into our working memory—the system our brain uses to temporarily hold information while we manipulate it. The amount of working memory we use at any given moment is called the cognitive load. While both are theoretical concepts used in psychology and neuroscience, they have profound implications when it …

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Thinking in maps: from the Lascaux caves to modern knowledge graphs

What do hieroglyphs, flowcharts, road signs, and knowledge graphs have in common? They’re all thinking maps. Humans have been thinking in maps since the very first symbolic communication systems. While thinking in maps may first bring to mind the idea of cartography, a map does not need to be geographic—it can be any symbolic depiction …

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Writing as a thinking tool

Writing has many science-based benefits. It can help you develop your self-authorship, reflect and create metacognitive routines through journaling, and has been shown to make you happier and healthier. For something that’s completely free, it’s a pretty good deal. Beyond these benefits, writing is also a thinking tool. Not only for personal management, but for …

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Confirmation bias: believing what you see, seeing what you believe

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” — Robertson Davies. A person who thinks women are bad drivers is more likely to notice driving mistakes made by women. A detective who is convinced a suspect is guilty is more likely to pay attention to evidence corroborating their intuition. And, while someone …

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Cognitive biases in entrepreneurship: a research report

Scenario 1 – Joe and Jane decided to play a game in which they toss a coin a few times. Every time a head came up, Joe had to give Jane $10 and every time a tail came up, Jane had to give Joe $10. They could toss the coin any number of times they …

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Getting compound interest on your thoughts with Conor White-Sullivan

Welcome to the third instalment of Mindful Makers, where we interview highly creative people and ask them what they think about creativity, productivity, and building products that matter in today’s connected world. In the previous editions, we chatted with Buster Benson and Khe Hy. Today, we are pleased to take a deep dive into the …

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Roam Research: a simple input to output flow

Want to write an original article but still at the idea stage? This step-by-step tutorial will teach you a simple method to go from research idea to original article. One of the best ways to learn is through the generation effect. Creating your own material based on what you want to learn activates your semantic …

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Beyond facts: divergent thinking

When trying to solve a problem, we often tend to look for useful facts that may guide us to the “correct” answer. This type of thinking—called convergent thinking—works great when the problem we want to solve is clear and requires a reasonable solution. But for bigger, more complex problems, convergent thinking may be too limited. …

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How to use Roam Research: a tool for metacognition

I’ve never been a huge fan of knowledge management tools. Too rigid, too complex, not adapted to the intricacies of the human mind. I never managed to get on the Evernote or Notion bandwagon. It always felt like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Instead, I have been using a combination …

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