February 5, 2015 Fringe, Neuroscience, Podcast No Comments

Episode 63


For Episode #63, we’re granted insight into the United States Intelligence Community by way of Dr. Adam Russell of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA for short).  As Program Manager of the SHARP Program – which stands for Strengthening Human Adaptive Reasoning and Problem-Solving – Dr. Russell aims to uncover the most effective methods to optimize human performance and productivity in information-rich, high-stress environments.

The benefits of this program, not just to high-performing individuals working in cognitively-demanding environments, but society in general, could be huge.  So, this episode will serve as our introduction to SHARP in the first instance, and we’ll check in again with Dr. Russell as it draws to a close to get some inside intel on the program’s results. Stay tuned!

We’ll also learn about how regular alcohol consumption may affect the brains of men and women quite differently, and find out a simple, science-backed method to boost creativity.

Episode Highlights

0:33Introduction to Dr. Adam Russell and IARPA
1:48This Week in Neuroscience: Heavy Drinking Is Toxic To The Brains Of Men, But Not Those Of Women
3:48iTunes review thank-you and Water Fast Week Update
5:06Jesse's shares a "pot story" he was reminded of on the back of Episode 61: In Defense Of Marijuana?
6:56What SHARP is all about, fluid intelligence, and Episode 29: Dan Hurley And The New Science Of Building Brain Power
8:05What is IARPA, and the difference between fundamental and basic research
10:25How programs like SHARP approved, and IARPA's Heilmeier Questions
14:05Short time horizons and the importance of rigorous program requirements
15:28What SHARP is trying to achieve, the difference between fluid and crystallized intelligence, and research breakthroughs on far transfer
18:43Methods used in the program: mindfulness, brain training (not "brain-games”), transcranial stimulation, exercise
22:13Convergent validity and how SHARP's success is measured: fMRI, EEG, VO2 max testing
23:16What a day in the SHARP lab looks like, and null results from an oxytocin study conducted by IARPA
26:22"The principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”
27:50What would be a definitive success for SHARP?
30:11Reasons for the length and phasic set-up of the program
32:47Sneak preview of our IARPA follow-up episode
33:56Ruthless Listener-Retention Gimmick: Want to Be More Creative? Take a Walk
36:42Our Valentine's Day episode... viewer discretion advised!
37:22Show notes online here

Key Terms Mentioned

Written by Rhiannan Roe
Rhiannan Roe is a writer, editor and unapologetic champion of self-improvement. Combining her passions has led to her helping several start-ups across three continents. In her spare time she travels, collects stories from inspiring people, and fruitlessly endeavors to read every book ever written.
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