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I feel that in my attempts to improve my own effectiveness, which hopefully translates into better health and safety outcomes, I have spent way more time trying to understand what’s going on outside people (the workplace, the environment, the design of work), than on the inside of people, and our brains in particular.

I’m not sure that makes sense, given how complex, and how powerful, our brains are.

Today’s guest Amanda Wang Valentine shares her quest to better understand what’s happening in our brains, with a focus on attention.  Listen here to see how she is pushing the edges of current health and safety practice.

In today’s episode we cover:

1:52 Living in Hollywood, attitudes to water & legalised marijuana

4:40 The land of the free, including everyone’s right to an opinion

7:10 Amanda’s journey to where she is now (it includes our Prime Minister)

11:44 The link between Intel, Netflix and Morgan Freeman

15:56 Shifting focus from physical hazards to our brains

17:41 Optimising cognitive skills

20:21 The birth of enHone’s idea

23:52 Tough Q1: Where’s the evidence?

28:32 Tough Q2: Will the safety ‘buyers’ be too risk averse (fearful) to try this?

34:33 My confession about a recent failure

37:15 The existential challenge: It’s not all about safety

38:08 Tough Q3: What are the ethical/legal/industrial challenges to improving attention?

44:02 The first easy question: Amanda’s suggestions for additional reading

On those few books we discussed, here’s the links if you want to check them out:

The brain that changes itself, by Norman Doidge

Nudge, by Richard Thaler

SWITCH, by Chip & Dan Heath

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