What I learned learning neuroscience

After years of studying neuroscience, I’ve learned a lot about how the brain works. One thing that’s become clear to me is that most of what I learned in school was wrong or at least inaccurate. 

The goal of this article is not only to share some of the things I’ve learned from my experience but also to make you aware of them in case you’re interested in learning more yourself!

Introduction to the Neuroscience of Learning – YouTube
1. The brain’s complexity is astounding, and delving into neuroscience reveals its intricacies.
2. Understanding the neural basis of behavior enhances insights into human actions and decisions.
3. Applying neuroscience principles can revolutionize marketing strategies and customer engagement.
4. Neuroscience offers insights into the effects of external factors like coffee on brain function.
5. Interdisciplinary connections fostered by neuroscience contribute to diverse research breakthroughs.

1. There Are Shortcuts In Your Brain That Make You Biased

A human brain is a tool, and like any other tool, it makes things easier to do but also easier to mess up. 

Those mistakes can be big and obvious like driving off the road when you’re drunk or small and subtle like getting frustrated with someone who disagrees with you instead of taking the time to understand their point of view. 

This is because our brains were built hundreds of thousands of years ago when we lived in very different environments than we do today: Our ancestors had to hunt for food, build shelters from scratch, figure out where they’d find water tomorrow morning and so on. 

They didn’t have time for deep thought or careful reflection; they had quick reflexes that could help them survive dangerous situations at all costs (even if those costs were sometimes fatal).

So what does this mean for us today? Well…

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2. Reverse-Engineering The Brain Helps Us Understand How We Learn

One of the most important things I learned is that we do not yet understand how the brain works, but we can figure out what it does. It’s like trying to reverse engineer a machine that you don’t know how to operate. 

You look at it and try to figure out how it works, even if there are parts you can’t see or understand. You then try different things until you find something that works and use that knowledge to create a new machine.

The same goes for your brain we don’t know exactly how all of its components work together as one unit, but we can identify patterns in its behavior by observing people’s behaviors when they complete certain tasks (such as learning). 

Once these patterns have been identified, scientists can use their knowledge about those behaviors as a starting point for designing new technologies like computers.

That will allow us to interact with them more easily or even make decisions based on what we learn from observing these same sorts of interactions over time!

3. If You Need To Learn Something Hard, You Need To Practice A Lot

If you need to learn something hard, you need to practice a lot.

This is especially important because of the way your brain works: it’s plastic! You can rewire your brain with effort and repetition. 

The more often you practice something, the better you get at it. The more times you succeed in doing something difficult before, the easier it becomes (assuming nothing else changes). 

And if your memory is any indication of how much physical exercise has become ingrained into our culture, then we’ve all had plenty of experience with how exercise leads to improvement in many aspects of life. 

But here’s the twist: unlike lifting weights or jogging around the block for fun which only results in better muscles when it comes to improving our brains’ ability for memorization and processing speed, we have no choice but to work hard if we want quick results!

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4. Your Brain Needs Rest To Solidify Learning

Your brain is like a computer: it sucks up information, processes it, and then needs time to run a defragmentation program so that all the data is neatly organized. 

If you don’t give your brain this rest/reorganizing time, you’ll spend more energy trying to make sense of things than actually learning them. 

You can’t learn new things while you’re asleep because that’s when your mind takes the time needed for consolidation (the defragmentation process). 

You can’t learn new things while awake either at least not as well because the parts of your brain responsible for learning aren’t fully operational then. 

Finally, don’t try to cram for an exam just before bedtime; if anything gets stuck in short-term memory storage during those last few minutes before falling asleep.

There’s a good chance it won’t get processed into long-term memory storage until after morning rolls around again and then it’s too late because now school starts!

5. The Brain Is Changing All The Time. Are We Going To Grow With It?

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change. The brain is always changing! It changes to adapt to new situations and stimuli, and it adapts as we get older as well. Neuroplasticity also allows us to learn new things and practice skills over time.

This can be confusing because there is so much information out there about how the brain works, but understanding that it’s constantly adapting can help you understand how you might improve your own life by making changes in your daily habits or learning new skills.

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6. The Most Important Thing To Learn Is How To Learn

You may have heard this before, but it bears repeating: Learning is a skill. We don’t typically think of learning as a skill, because we don’t usually need to consciously practice or hone it, it just happens. 

But if you’re trying to learn something new, you’ll find that there are certain skills involved in that process.

You can improve those skills by practicing them deliberately and regularly. 

For example, if you want to learn a new language or musical instrument, take some time each day (or several times per week) to practice what you’ve already learned so far and try out new things on your initiative! 

If you’re working on computer science concepts like algorithms and data structures, employ the same method: use what we’ve covered today as your guide for further exploration into these concepts further down the line.

And remember that there’s always more work being done by experts in these fields who will continue improving upon existing knowledge every day!

7. Most Of What Happens In Your Head Was Outside Your Head First

The brain is a complex network of neurons and synapses that keep in constant communication with each other. A brain is also a learning machine, constantly changing as it adapts to new experiences. 

It’s one of the main reasons why you can remember things from your childhood but not from last week (the brain tends to “trash” or forget older memories).

The brain is also social; it interacts with others through our senses and feelings. As you may have experienced yourself when you meet someone new.

There’s an instant connection between your brains you’re both on the same wavelength immediately because your nervous systems are tuned for social interaction.

Finally, the brain evolved over millions of years as a tool for survival everything else we do with our minds is just an extension of this basic function.

8. Life Is Short And The Brain Learns Slowly, But The Good News Is Deliberate Practice Works If You Stick With It Long Enough (And Not Everybody Does)

The brain is a slow learner. In this section, we will talk about how the brain learns and adapts to things.

The human brain is an incredibly complex organ that can do many different things. It’s responsible for our thoughts, emotions, memories, and movements to name just a few of its many jobs! But one thing it doesn’t do well changes quickly or easily. 

For example: if you were born with blue eyes you will likely have blue eyes until you die unless something drastic happens to change that fact (like getting an injury). 

The same goes for your ability to speak French fluently – if you don’t practice speaking French regularly then chances are your skills won’t improve very much at all over time! 

So what does this mean when applied to learning? Well, it means that while there’s nothing wrong with being good at something now.

Because nobody knows everything yet – being better next year than they are today could become harder as time goes on unless they continue practicing regularly throughout those years too.”

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9. The Bottleneck For Creativity Isn’t What We Think It Is

There’s no shortage of advice about how to be more creative. You can get better ideas by going for a walk, avoiding the internet and other distractions, listening to music or meditation, and changing your environment and that’s just scratching the surface. 

But while these tactics may help clear your mind and opening you up to new possibilities, they don’t make you more creative.

The bottleneck is not coming up with ideas; it’s implementing them. It turns out that we’re much better at coming up with ideas than we are at executing them. 

This isn’t because there’s something wrong with our brains it has more to do with what happens when we start making progress on an idea:

10. Kids Don’t Know As Much As They Think They Do (And Neither Do We)

Kids are smart, but they don’t have the same knowledge as adults.

To understand this, consider how we learn. We learn by observing and participating in our environment. 

As kids, we are constantly learning new information about the world around us, what shapes look like, how to read a stop sign or a book, and how to play hide-and-seek. 

And while some may argue that kids’ brains are more flexible than adults’ brains (which is true), it also means that they lack certain types of knowledge because they haven’t yet begun accumulating that kind of experience in their lives. 

For exam,ple It’s unlikely that you know exactly how many bones there are in your body; however, if you were an adult who had just undergone surgery or even just broken an arm then that number would be much easier for you to remember!

11. You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks Even When They Work Solely Based On Trial And Error

While there are a lot of things that happen in the brain, one thing we can say with certainty is that it can learn. Not only does the brain have the ability to learn new things, but it also has the capacity for learning new things at any age.

This makes sense given what we know about how neurons (the cells in our brains) work: they communicate with each other by sending signals down their axons and dendrites (which are like branches). 

When an impulse reaches a neuron, it triggers a chemical release inside that cell which creates new connections between neurons nearby or sends them on their way elsewhere. 

The more something is repeated, the stronger these connections become thus strengthening your memory of whatever you’re learning!

But what if you’re learning something more abstract than memorizing facts? What if your subject matter doesn’t have clear rules for success? 

For example: if I were trying to teach my dog how to dance the tango with me on command (like I have done before), he wouldn’t know what music means yet so how would he know when I’m asking him to start dancing? 

Or even worse…what if he thought I was saying “tango” because I wanted him to put his paw up against mine while doing some kind of weird salute? 

Either way…he’d probably fail miserably at following my commands unless he had some kind of cheetah-like reflexes built into his DNA after years spent chasing gazelles through grassy plains successfully dodging predators all day long!

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12. The Worst Way To Find Out What’s Going On In Someone Else’s Head Is To Ask Them

It’s hard to know what’s going on in someone else’s head. This is because we are not the only thing going on in our heads. There are a lot of things going on, and it’s really hard for us to articulate them, even if we know what they are. 

For example, I may think that my friend got an A+ on their exam while they were telling me that they got an A-. In this case, I am wrong but I am happy (because my friend got good grades). 

A better way to find out how your friend feels might be listening to how they talk about their relationship with the professor or asking them questions about their latest project at work or school. 

You could also ask them questions about themselves like “What do you think will happen next?” when talking about something serious instead of just saying yes or no all the time!

13. It’s Easy To Manipulate Memory, Sometimes Without Even Trying

In the last section, you learned how memory is formed. In this section, we’ll look at how it’s stored and recalled.

When you take in new information through your senses, that information becomes a memory. 

Your brain encodes the information using a series of biochemical reactions that occur over time these reactions are called “synaptic transmission” (the connection between one neuron and another). 

Your brain stores these memories in various parts of its cortex: some memories are stored in the temporal lobe (which includes areas like Wernicke’s area), others are stored in the parietal lobe (where we do maths) and others still are stored in our frontal lobes (where we form ideas). 

You can see that there is no one location where all our memories are stored!

14. How We Look At Others Impacts How They Behave Toward Us (And Vice Versa)

You’re probably familiar with the idea that how you treat others impacts how they behave toward you. (If not, check out these two blog posts I wrote on this very topic.) This concept has been proven time and time again in psychology experiments and is now accepted as fact. 

But what about the other way around? How does how we behave affect others? Does it matter if we look at them or not?

The answer is yes! Our behavior can be more important than whether or not we look at someone else when it comes to determining how that person thinks of us.


Well, there you have it. That’s what I’ve learned from neuroscience. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey through the human brain, and I hope it will help you in your explorations into how we learn and how we can do better at making sense of our world. Thanks for reading!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to explore the fascinating world of neuroscience and its applications:

5 Lessons I Learned from My Neuroscience Degree Gain insights into personal experiences and discoveries from a neuroscience degree, offering a unique perspective on the subject.

Why I Majored in Neuroscience Discover the motivations and reasons behind choosing a major in neuroscience, shedding light on the diverse aspects that attract students to the field.

Coffee and Neuroscience: What I’ve Learned Explore the intriguing connection between coffee consumption and neuroscience, unveiling intriguing findings from personal observations and studies.


How does a neuroscience degree influence personal growth?

Studying neuroscience not only provides a deep understanding of the brain but also fosters critical thinking, problem-solving, and an appreciation for the complexities of human behavior.

What career opportunities are available for neuroscience majors?

Neuroscience graduates can pursue careers in various fields such as research, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and even marketing, leveraging their knowledge of the brain’s intricacies.

Can insights from neuroscience enhance educational approaches?

Absolutely. Applying neuroscience principles in education can lead to more effective learning strategies, personalized teaching methods, and improved educational outcomes.

How does coffee consumption relate to neuroscience?

Coffee has been linked to cognitive benefits, including increased alertness and focus. Understanding the neural mechanisms behind these effects can provide valuable insights into brain function.

What interdisciplinary connections does neuroscience offer?

Neuroscience intersects with psychology, biology, medicine, and even technology. This multidisciplinary nature allows for collaborative research and innovative breakthroughs in various fields.