ON EMOTIONS AND LEARNING: how emotions, smell and oxytocin help learn faster.
We've already talked about learning faster HERE. This post is about emotional, sensual and social aspects of learning that according to neuroscience research makes all the difference for the brain when it comes to the choice: "Is it worth it to store it long-term? Or can it be forgotten?"
1. WITHOUT EMOTIONS THERE’S NO LONG-TERM LEARNING
Our brain, unfortunately, has a limited capacity to keep things in storage.
How does the brain distinguish between something very important to keep for life and something that can be forgotten?
Something scary, something happy, something that changed our state profoundly. Pain and pleasure work especially powerfully.
The mistake we make: when sitting down to prepare for an exam, a certification or to read a business book we intend to put to use we often get into the emotionless, logical state of mind, we think it’s the best. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Boring stuff = Unimportant stuff for our brain. What do we do? We got to figure out how to make learning material fascinating, motivating, hypnotizing.
One of the most useful methods I found - spark curiosity about something in my learning material. I usually try to think of some interesting task I’ll be able to solve with the new skills.
2. TOUCH IT, SMELL IT, TASTE IT
If you can.
If you can’t - just use more of your senses while learning to help with the recall later. It’s kind of like putting bookmarks in your brain. The sensation serves as a trigger to retrieve the memory.
I usually keep essential oils for that purpose. Rosemary and mint are especially great as they boost focus and memory.
3. LEARN TOGETHER
As I’ve mentioned in the post on stories - oxytocin released when we experience social moments helps to boost neuroplasticity aka the learning ability of the brain. So if you can teach someone or just learn together - you’ll be boosting your learning abilities and social bonds. Win-win! That's why kids also learn better with someone.
What new did you learn in this post❓ Have you used some of these methods to accelerate your learning❓