That Stranger In The Mirror: Neuroscience For Everyone
4.9 (19 ratings)
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That Stranger In The Mirror: Neuroscience For Everyone

Knowing Yourself, Knowing Others, Knowing Stuff
4.9 (19 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,331 students enrolled
Created by Loony Corn
Last updated 10/2016
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Current price: $10 Original price: $50 Discount: 80% off
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  • 7 hours on-demand video
  • 39 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Identify different parts of our brain, and how they correspond to different voices in our head
  • Understand primary motivations, including complex urges such as craving fairness and independence
  • Seek the state of flow, a mental state of intense concentration and joy, brought on by work
  • Classify personalities into 32 categories using the Big Five Personality Traits
  • Understand how memory works, why it is reconstructive and associative
View Curriculum
  • This course does not require any software

This is a practical applied course in Neuroscience and Psychology, that's about knowing yourself, knowing others, and knowing stuff.

Let's parse that.

  • Knowing Yourself: The course presents different parts of our brains - such as the prefrontal cortex, the limbic system, basal ganglia - and how these brain systems drive our behaviour and motivation.
  • Knowing Others: We will examine one set of personality traits, known as the OCEAN traits or Big-Five traits, and examine 32 different personality types that follow from these.
  • Knowing Stuff: How memories are formed, how this process is influenced by sleep, and how different learning styles interact with memory and understanding.

Here's what this course includes:

  • Basics of Neuroscience: Different brain systems - the prefrontal cortex as center of our attention; the limbic system which governs our towards/away responses; basal ganglia that manage autopilot routines and habits; the anterior cingulate which craves novelty; the ventrolateral prefrontal which manages the most difficult function of conscious thought - saying No. 
  • Free Will and Free Won't: Conscious thought consists of 5 primary functions: inhibiting, deciding, recalling, understanding and memorising. See why inhibiting is so hard, why decision fatigue makes us procrastinate, and why we should talk in bullets, think in trees, and decide in pairs
  •  Motivations: Our brain has surprisingly complex urges - including cravings for independence, fairness, curiosity, loyalty and vengeance. These motivations make us behave the way we do. We look at the 16 Primary Urges, Maslow's Hierarchy, and the Autonomy-Mastery-Purpose framework of what drives us.
  • Seeking Flow: Perhaps the most important concept in this course, flow refers to a state of intense focus, of oneness with one's work. This state sounds almost magical - and it is, but its also real, and backed by hard science. People who get addicted to this state experience a neurochemical high, and what's more, are more successful than those who work for rewards such as money.
  • The Big Five Personality Traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. Collectively, these OCEAN traits can be used to classify personalities into 32 types, and give us real insights into how people are likely to think and behave.
  • Memory: Every experience, every sensation triggers a pattern of neuron firings in our brain - this pattern is unique and is a memory. See how this pattern is reconstructive, and associative.
  • Sleep: Sleep is essential for creativity, memory consolidation, and also just for staying happy. Understand why not getting enough sleep makes us grumpy (it has to do with our limbic alertness to threats being greater than that to rewards!)
  • Learning: Our brains are wired to very efficiently process spatial stimuli (maps, trees), visual stimuli (images) and auditory stimuli (songs). THink about how much information is packed into a song - tune, beat, lyrics, and these days, visuals. We are not quite so good with numbers or blocks of text - and this is a big part of information overload these days.

Using discussion forums

Please use the discussion forums on this course to engage with other students and to help each other out. Unfortunately, much as we would like to, it is not possible for us at Loonycorn to respond to individual questions from students:-(

We're super small and self-funded with only 2 people developing technical video content. Our mission is to make high-quality courses available at super low prices.

The only way to keep our prices this low is to *NOT offer additional technical support over email or in-person*. The truth is, direct support is hugely expensive and just does not scale.

We understand that this is not ideal and that a lot of students might benefit from this additional support. Hiring resources for additional support would make our offering much more expensive, thus defeating our original purpose.

It is a hard trade-off.

Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Who is the target audience?
  • Yep! Anyone curious to understand how our minds work
  • Yep! Anyone curious to gain a practical applied understanding of neuroscience and psychology
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Curriculum For This Course
45 Lectures
You, This Course and Us
1 Lecture 02:34
Which voice wins
4 Lectures 34:29
Knowing Yourself

There are different voices talking inside our brains - see where those voices originate.

Preview 10:17

The prefrontal cortex is the seat of higher thought, limbic systems are our primitive selves. The anterior cingulate loves shiny new toys, while the ventrolateral prefrontal just says no.

Novelty and Dr No

Neurons are like telegraph poles, and synapses are the gaps between them. Neurotransmitters - such as dopamine and noradrenaline - govern our mood and behaviour with their balance.

The Squeaky Wheel
5 Lectures 51:25

Our mind wanders, but then switches back into conscious thought, driven by the insula, a switching system in our brain.

Why Our Minds Like To Wander

There are five main functions in conscious thought: Inhibiting, Deciding, Recalling, Understanding and Memorising.

Five Elements Of Conscious Thought

An introduction to the state of flow, which represents a Goldilocks level of prefrontal cortex stimulation. Too stimulated? We're overexcited. Not stimulated enough? We're sluggish.

When Thought And Action Merge

Distractions overwhelm our attentional filter - back when we were cavemen, ignoring distractions meant an early death. These days though, its giving into distractions that hastens professional death.

Distractions Make Me Dumber
4 Lectures 29:54
Our Motivations

Our brains are driven to satisfy primary urges - these urges are primary, but not primitive. Understand how complex these can be.

Caveman Brain, Complex Urges

16 Primary Motivations - we are surprisingly hard to motivate.

Sweet 16 That Make Us Tick

We round off our look at different motivation systems with a look at motivational sweet spots - when our reward centers are firing!

Preview 11:31
6 Lectures 56:48

We come back to the 16 primary motivations and cycle through why and how they evolved.

Motivations Double-Clicked

The need for acceptance, and peer pressure.

The Strength Of The Wolf Is The Pack

The surprising need for independence, and its link to autonomy and control

Preview 08:37

Curiousity, or the urge to learn new skills and understand the world around us, is not restricted to geniuses like Edison, Jobs or Wozniak. In fact, its not restricted to humans - crows, chimps and many other species display it as well.

Curiosity Belled The Cat

Order, tranquility - and some insights into post-partum depression.

Peace And Quiet

Maslow's Hierarchy, the need for self-transcendance, and purpose.

Self-Transcendance And Self-Actualisation
2 Lectures 24:58

The state of flow - magical, yet real - can be explained using first principles neuroscience.

Preview 11:35

People who are addicted to the state of flow, and work in order to achieve it, succeed professionally more easily than those who don't. Call it karma, or call it flow.

A Fine Balance
4 Lectures 32:47
Knowing Others - Classification and Categorisation

We introduce the big 5 personality traits: OCEAN.

The Big Five Personality Traits

See how openness to new experiences is a predictor of creativity, humor and intelligence; similar examinations of the other 4 are in here too.

Open Sesame

Conscientiousness pays off at work, at school, and in relationships; its virtually unambiguously good. Neuroticsm is a lot less ought after.

Mirror Mirror On The Wall
4 Lectures 44:07

See how classification and categorisation can be applied to the people around us.

Now, Where Have I Seen You Before?

The first batch of personality profiles. Tim Duncan is open, conscientious, and does n't really give a damn. Understand what makes personality types tick.

Preview 10:54

See why successful politicians often have aggressive, "attack-dog" types to do their nasty stuff. All it takes is flipping a few switches in the big 5.

Death Of A (Used Car) Salesman

We wrap up with a few last case studies of personality profiles.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
6 Lectures 44:59
Knowing Stuff

Memories are signatures of neuron firings - unique, just like snow flakes. 

Preview 12:33

Each time you replay a memory, you're modifying it. So its really true, you never cross the same river twice.

Preview 11:15

Virtually all languages added words for colors in the same order - "light", "dark", "red". See why, and understand how categorisation and classification are cognitive shortcuts.

What's In A Name?

If you'd really like to learn this course well, don't watch the videos twice - take pen and paper and jot down a summary. Active Learning works, the science shows.

Learning Oughta Be Active

Sleep plays a critical role in memory formation, and also in creativity.

Sleep And Memory
9 Lectures 01:33:14
Some Ideas For You To Consider

Consider becoming a morning person.

Try Being A Morning Person - Why

You need to turn off distractions during your two best hours of the day - and you need plausible deniability for not replying to email during those 2 hours.

Try Being A Morning Person - How

A good mentor is dominant, but not obnoxious. See why your mentor should scare you just a little bit.

Preview 16:50

A 10-minute nap is akin to a miracle drug - make sure you use it.

Why Stephen Curry Loves His Naps

Talk in bullets - our prefrontal cortex has a hard time remembering more than 6 points at a time, so stick to 5 or less.

Talk In Bullets

Think in trees - hierarchies of logical constructs are a very efficient way of representing information in the brain.

Think In Trees

Choose in pairs, because our brains likes true/false questions much better than multiple-choice ones.

Preview 09:31

Never shy away from tough conversations - but plan ahead of either fight or flight. 

Hard Talk
About the Instructor
Loony Corn
4.3 Average rating
5,071 Reviews
39,371 Students
78 Courses
An ex-Google, Stanford and Flipkart team

Loonycorn is us, Janani Ravi and Vitthal Srinivasan. Between us, we have studied at Stanford, been admitted to IIM Ahmedabad and have spent years  working in tech, in the Bay Area, New York, Singapore and Bangalore.

Janani: 7 years at Google (New York, Singapore); Studied at Stanford; also worked at Flipkart and Microsoft

Vitthal: Also Google (Singapore) and studied at Stanford; Flipkart, Credit Suisse and INSEAD too

We think we might have hit upon a neat way of teaching complicated tech courses in a funny, practical, engaging way, which is why we are so excited to be here on Udemy!

We hope you will try our offerings, and think you'll like them :-)