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Education Bookcast

Jan 27, 2020

This is a book with a terrible title and wonderful ideas. Isn't there a saying about not judging the quality of a publication's contents by the attractiveness of its external design?

Many famous athletes credit Steve Peters with being essential to their success, including footballer Steven Gerard and rower Sir Chris Hoy. This book summarises his ideas in a way that makes them accessible to everyone.

Our minds are modular. Sometimes we are "at war with ourselves" or we "don't know why we did something". There are different parts inside us that sometimes cooperate and sometimes clash.

Professor Steve Peters goes into a detailed description of the three elements of the psychological mind: the Chimp, the Human, and the Computer. He then goes on to explain their interactions, the ways in which their misbehaviours can cause problems in our everyday lives, and how to deal with it. Understanding these three elements will, for the first time in your life, give you a fully working model of how your mind works (and how the minds of others work), as well as a way of thinking about what to do when things go wrong.

One thing that strikes me about this model is how compatible it is with the information processing model of the mind and cognitive load theory, which are based on splitting the mind into two parts: working memory and long-term memory. It seems as though working memory is approximately the same thing as the Human, long-term memory is the Computer, and the Chimp is the emotional centre, which is not included in the information processing model. (The information processing model seeks to simplify thinking down to just its non-emotional elements.)

Understanding the mind in this way is invaluable to people trying to understand learning. I hope you find this book as insightful as I have.

Enjoy the episode.