Full PreFrontal

Full PreFrontal

Welcome to the podcast, Full PreFrontal: Exposing the Mysteries of Executive Function hosted by Sucheta Kamath. Executive Function is a core set of cognitive skills that allow humans to focus attention, block out distractions, plan ahead, stay engaged, temper emotions, and think flexibly while creatively solving problems to fulfill personal and social goals. The prefrontal cortex region of the brain, which governs Executive Function, is often compared to an air traffic control system at a busy airport. Much like an air traffic controller guides planes on different flight paths in the direction that each needs to go, the prefrontal cortex intercepts thoughts and impulses in order to direct them towards situationally appropriate and productive outcomes that serve the need of the future self. Significant research in the field suggests that developing strong Executive Function is critical for school-aged children and remains one of the most reliable predictors of overall success, shown to have profound life-long implications beyond the formal years of learning. On this podcast, host Sucheta Kamath will converse with neuroscientists, social psychologists, learning experts, and thought leaders who will illustrate how Executive Function is inextricably linked with mental health, physical health, school readiness, job success, marital relationships, and much more. On the path of self-development, we all experience a constant struggle between trying to optimize our talent and effort while still facing difficulty in mobilizing the inner tools and strategies that can lead us in the right direction. Tune in to Full PreFrontal to figure out how best to manage your thoughts, habits, and attitudes to enhance your self-awareness and future thinking and to achieve your best self. Sucheta Kamath is an award-winning speech-language pathologist, a TEDx speaker, a celebrated community leader, and the founder and CEO of ExQ®. As an EdTech entrepreneur, Sucheta has designed a personalized digital learning curriculum/tool (ExQ®) that empowers middle and high school students to develop self-awareness and strategic thinking skills through the mastery of Executive Function and social-emotional competence. Outside of her business, Sucheta previously served as President of the Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association, where she started a free Social-Communication and Executive Function Training program for inner-city men afflicted with addiction and homelessness—a program she continues to oversee as a coach and a trainer today. She is also a long-time meditator and is currently working on her Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification. A firm believer in the “Pause, Reflect, and then Respond” philosophy, Sucheta hopes to spread the word on how every person can reach higher levels of self-awareness and achieve lasting growth of their Executive Function.

Episodes

May 10, 2022 56 min

Life without struggles is no life at all and what accompanies these struggles is ambiguity, uncertainty, and disruptions. Coping under these tenuous conditions means deciphering new goals, weighing options, and being future-forward while responding with adaptive mental and emotional flexibility; all made possible by one’s evolving Executive Function. However, individuals who have experienced adverse childhood experiences develop a ...

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Researcher Diane Halpern says, “When people think critically, they are evaluating the outcomes of their thought processes – how good a decision is or how well a problem is solved.” Metacognition on the other hand is thinking about one’s own thinking and discovering how best to control our thinking to facilitate learning. Both require strong attentional and emotional recourses channeled as mental effort into new learning. Students w...

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On October 16, 1843, while on a stroll along the Royal Canal in Dublin, mathematician William Rowan Hamilton had an aha moment which led to his famed discovery of the algebraic equations known as quaternions which is now etched on the bridge. Research shows that although creative insight and analytical thinking are distinct modes of thought, they do complement each other. These aha or eureka moments are typically considered the man...

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As the United States becomes a land of the diverse, conversations are shifting from "how do we excel in spite of our differences" to "how we come together and thrive because of our differences." The K to 12 educational spaces are also shifting the focus from helping develop skills in academic areas to the best ways to help children develop their sense of agency and sense of identity. In order to propel such cultural...

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We are wired to be social and socializing and connecting depends on theory of mind, perspective taking, and being able to sympathize or empathize with others. Empathy, one of the vital ingredients for social and interpersonal success, facilitates prosocial behaviors, promotes social understanding and helps us to regulate ourselves in the complex social world. However, antisocial behaviors in others such as aggression, callousness, ...

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Many preconceived notions and misconceptions often create a barrier to attaining personal success. Here are some frequently unchallenged misconceptions: “Talent is innate and needs to be discovered”, “You either have talent or you don't” and “Just a few lucky ones have it and it only counts if you’re on top!” The growth mindsets captured by popular culture show us that our own fears and vulnerabilities set us up for social comp...

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Whether it is enduring the process of untangling yarn, cancelling all your credit cards after losing your wallet, or waiting for months to hear back from a college admissions’ office, patience makes the experience more meaningful and less unbearable. As a quality that is considered morally good and desirable in a person, no wonder patience is a virtue as it offers a much-needed chance to maintain or regain our strength while seeing...

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Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Alfred Hitchcock, Sherlock Holmes… these are some of the iconic names dominating the cultural narrative that men far supersede women in talent, accomplishment, and genius. The true question is, while the gender ratio in the world is 101.7 men to every 100 women, why is the genius exclusively favoring one gender or it is that the opportunities to let out one’s own inner genius is not created equal...

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In 2002, American writer Augusten Burroughs’ memoire, Running with Scissors, was launched and spent eight weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The memoir is littered with a litany of bizarre childhood encounters experienced by young Burroughs, whose emotionally unstable, aspiring poet of a mother sends him to live with her psychiatrist. The book, while entertaining, captures the confusion and pain of growing up in a househo...

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Working memory is the most vital component of strong Executive Function as it allows for processing multifaceted information and tracking new systems we deploy to manage change or challenge with adaptive flexibility. For example, greeting people with a handshake or a hug was thrown out the window during the pandemic. In the fall of 2021, when people began to return to business-as-usual, people needed a new system to communicate the...

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The human frontal-lobe evolution has made it possible to do the right thing, particularly when that right thing is really hard to do. While faith, religion, and spirituality give individuals the essential inner strength, attachment, and security, it is the mature frontal lobes that turn on moral reasoning - a bridge towards an ultimate sense of hope and meaning.

On this episode, licensed clinical psychologist and Professor in the De...

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‘A quick trip to Tahiti’ is what it feels like when our mind wanders. No matter what we do, where we are, or how important or valuable the task in front of us is, our minds wander. Interestingly, the research shows that we are less happy when our mind wanders than when it doesn’t and what we think about during our mind wandering state is a far stronger predictor of our happiness than tasks we are in the middle of performing. Yet, t...

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When we think of equitable teaching and learning we must first get our assumptions right. Instead of thinking of teaching as a process of transmitting knowledge, we need to think about teaching as a process of transforming hearts by making a connection through culture and representation. Those of us invested in teaching and reaching children know that the hardest work we will ever do is to ignite their natural intellectual curiosit...

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What is as ubiquitous as air, water, and earth, but possibly more potent than all three? It’s a story. The human brain, while swept up in the forcefield of stories, is enthralled, molded and shaped by it, but is also readily deceived by the artful embellishments by powerful story-tellers, including an unreliable narrator within. Our daily consumption of narratives presented in the form of news clips, Tiktok clips, social media post...

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The highest rent you’ll ever pay is for the hurts, sorrows, and unforgiveness that occupy the space in your heart and mind. While thinking of those hurtful breakups, toxic relationships, unresolved lies, or the unrepairable damaging acts of others, it may be hard to channel the wisdom of poet Edwin Hubbel Chapin, "Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it foregoes revenge.” However, what ancient wisdom already has k...

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What is an intriguing difference between a four-year-old's versus a forty-year old’s approach to the world? Only one of them is inquisitive and inventive with a rich inner explorer. However, by the time the curious and inventive four-year-old enters their late teens, there is a remarkable depletion in their sense of exploration. There’s something about the way we educate and raise children that drains their inquiring minds from...

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Entering a space full of strangers can be as scary as entering a snake pit. The brain cannot help but think “oh-no” and is likely to look for an exit strategy. Even though humans are social creatures, approaching or engaging with strangers invokes unparalleled fear or social anxiety that keeps us from making connections, sharing, or seeking help. Is this hesitation to talk with strangers legit and true?

On this episode, Senior Lectu...

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British author Somerset Maugham once wrote, “What makes old age hard to bear is not the failing of one's faculties, mental and physical, but the burden of one's memories.” Writers and poets have a lot to say about reminiscing, contemplation, regret and nostalgia, but it often suggests that one must travel far down the road of life to arrive at that point where suddenly our life decisions say more about who we are rather tha...

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Helping children develop their identity is integral to making them self-sufficient and independent, as well as to master their Executive Function skills. In addition to children’s cognitive, linguistic, and emotional development, parents and educators alike must understand the social science behind the development of racial, ethnic, and cultural identities, which play a major role in shaping a child’s lens on life and how they rela...

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What’s the urgent and yet preventable crisis in America? It’s poverty! The discussion about the maturation of the prefrontal cortex, down-regulation of amygdala as well as the flourishing of Executive Function skills throughout childhood is incomplete when according to the Children’s Defense Fund one in six children in United States live in poverty. The impact of poverty is deep and wide taking not only a biological, psychological,...

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