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Neurohacking - Resources
Written by NHA   
Sunday, 30 September 2012 10:57


Sakiro's Hackipedia Volume 2



Section 3 Intermediate H&E

CAUTION ! In order to proceed at this level safely, we need a working knowledge of the following areas:

Anxiety, what it can do and how to reduce it

Plasticity, Epigenetics & Input control

The difference between stress and anxiety

The difference between emotion and sentiment


It is not safe to proceed at intermediate level unless we have clear understanding of these subjects. To learn about them, see Tutorials. Students should also have done a Functional Analysis before working at this level (see Tutorial 3).

Network 3 abilities & functions

3.1 Senses of smell, pheromone detection

3.2 Emotional stability & weighting

3.3 Eidetic memory/ RAM & congruent association

3.4 Eidetic processing; Imagination, Perception & 3D mapping

3.5 Empathy, Intuition, Prediction  

3.6 Modeling & Bonding

3.1 Senses of smell, pheromone detection

Olfactory (sense of smell) sensitivity
Using aromatic oils or essences; find the smallest amount that you can detect by putting a drop into a pint of water. If you can smell it, dilute with another pint of water and throw 1/2 of the solution - ie. 1 pint - away. Repeat dilutions until smell is no longer detectable. If one drop is not detectable add more drops and count them. Repeat for 10 days, making a graph of your results. Why can you smell better on some days than others? Does your sensitivity increase by the tenth day? Repeat with different smells. Compare results.

Explore your room/apartment/house/hut systematically for smells (exercise)
Note down as many smells as you can and try to describe them in a couple of words. Can these smells be organized into groups in any way? This initial exploration will give you plenty of information on where to find smells for doing the following exercise. It will also give you a most extraordinary odor-based mental plan of your home.

The personal associations and mental effects of smells
Sit with a particular pleasant smell within effective range. Think about its associations and note them down. What other things smell similar? Then further involve yourself with the sensation and notice any attitude effects - does it elevate, excite or relax you?

Odor type discrimination (exercise)
Put half a dozen different flowers on the table before you. Pick up each flower in turn, and savor its scent. Then with your eyes closed shuffle the blooms about, and then taking each one separately try to identify it by its smell. Afterwards reconstruct these smells in your imagination, remember what they were like, relating each to the flower to which it belongs.

If you find this too hard, try it with different essential oils dribbled on tissues or cotton with their names written on the back (so you can check you’re right). Practice discriminating between them.

Take two of your samples at random. Inhale the odor of one. Do the same with the other. Then moving away from them, think of the first smell- then think of the second. In your mind compare them, noting the difference. Repeat with different kinds of extracts (in pairs).

What's that smell? (game/exercise)

"No more games of 'what's that smell'!"

(Kochanski; Red Dwarf)

Playing "What's that smell?" alone or with friends will improve connections in not just the olfactory cortex but also the entorhinal cortex -an area that is important for perception and for memory reconsolidation.

playing alone:

A. Visit some rough ground, garden, field, park or forest in which a variety of plants are growing. Make a systematic map of predominant smells using graph paper and a key. Attempt classification.

B. Visit a market or big store with open shelves. Go systematically around all the counters and smell everything. Take notes. If you are surreptitious enough to avoid being asked to leave, this will prove most insightful.

C. Collect together a number of small samples of substances (for example, potato, onion, apple, cheese, banana, soap, candle wax). Wear gloves so as not to get their odors on your fingers while preparing.

Cut them all to be the same shape and size. Wrap each sample in foil or paper and drop them into an opaque bag, sock or hat.

Blindfold yourself and pick one out at random, open it slightly by tearing and see if you can identify the substance. Remove the blindfold and see if you were right. Repeat until you have done all of them.

The more smells there are, the harder this is. Perfumiers, florists and aromatherapists are able to distinguish between dozens and sometimes hundreds of different odors, and if you improve this sense you will notice that you can often tell the chemical contents of a food or product by sniffing at it.

Try 3 smell combinations and from your notes decide which smells are most pleasant.

playing with a partner or assistant: (Take turns to be assistant)

Assistant: Keep secret from the experimenter which smells you are going to use. The selection of smells for this exercise are best selected over

a range - as suggested by the classification mentioned in the context-and paired in roughly equal strengths.

Experimenter: Arrange to be presented with a pair of smells. Identify the two individual smells. If they cannot be named try to describe them.

If the separate character of the smells cannot be discerned ask for the name/description of one of the pairs. Does this help guess the other? What smells are easily distinguished? What smells merge?

You can also play the 'samples in hat' version with a partner by preparing smells for each other and seeing which one of you can identify which sorts of smells fastest.

Try 3 smell combinations and from your notes decide which smells are most pleasant to each of you. Do you have any favorite smells in common?

3.2 Emotional stability & weighting

The first step towards emotional stability, for absolute beginners (hack + exercise)

…Is anxiety reduction. True emotion springs naturally from a healthy mind freed from anxiety. Emotion is a versatile, flexible and creative tool, like an extra sense, when we are not stuck in sentiment. It gives us the ability to perceive more of the truth, because it is aligned with the real world and is natural, rather than an artificial construct created by false assumptions via distorted perception.

If you’re stuck in sentiment it can seem like nothing will ever change, but the best proof is in practice, because if you start practising full emotion you’ll prove to yourself not only that things can change for the better, but that they do and they have. You can gain a much greater volitional control over what you feel and express, but to do so you have to take a break from constant distractions and hassle. Consider all anxiety-reducing techniques you can find and find the ones most suited to you. Overall, the most powerful seem to be meditation, humor, and input control.

Core skills for emotional stability

1. Recognizing healthy emotion

An inability to recognize real emotion leaves us at the mercy of sentiment. Without healthy emotional empathy we are effectively emotionally 'tone deaf'. We need to hunt down and model examples of healthy emotions.

2. Autonomous motivation

Has your 'get up and go' got up and gone? Evoking emotions and inspiring ourselves in the pursuit of a goal is essential for paying attention, for self-motivation and for creativity. We should be taking increasing responsibility for how we feel and respond at this stage in NH.

3. Understanding how the emotional system can be hijacked by anxiety

Awareness of how the emotional system works gives us the details of how to interact with it. We have explored this to some extent in this tutorial and will continue to look into it in T10.

4. Practising emotional direction/management

Handling emotions so they are appropriate and interactive is an ability that builds on awareness of how the emotional system works. Emotional self-control, and the ability to delay 'instant' gratification and control impulsiveness, underlie accomplishment of every sort. The ability to soothe oneself, to shake of gnawing anxiety, gloom or irritability are basic emotional abilities that are meant to be a part of natural human intelligence development. It doesn't matter if we've been denied them in the past; we can learn them now.

5. Self assessment -know yourself emotionally

Recognizing a feeling 'as it happens' in real time is the axis of our power in self direction. The better we know your own responses, the better we can direct them in future.

6. Interaction/ handling relationships

This is mainly about skill in understanding and responding effectively to emotions and sentiments in others, and social competence.

Each of these domains represents a body of habit and response that with the correct moves can be improved upon, moving from immature action/reaction behavior into more mature and successful interactive behavior.

Input control for enriched environments (hack/exercise)

Behavioral, cellular and molecular studies have revealed significant effects of enriched environments, and provided new insights into mechanisms of experience-dependent plasticity, including adult neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity. The demonstration that the onset and progression of neurodegenerative diseases is delayed by environmental enrichment has also shown how the development and performance of mind, brain and individual is affected by the stimulation of their processing networks provided by their surroundings (including the opportunity to interact socially).

An 'enriched' environment in fact means a normal healthy environment -the real world is an enriched environment. Rather we should speak of avoiding impoverished environments such as school (and sadly for many, work and home), because impoverished environments impair cognitive development.

Being outside in nature for just 20 minutes in a day is enough to significantly boost vitality levels, and that sense of increased vitality exists above and beyond the energizing effects of physical activity and social interaction that are often associated with our forays into the natural world.

You don't have to exercise; just be there. Research has shown that people with more exposure to nature don't just have more energy for things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illnesses, caring, and generous. These studies underscore the importance of having access to parks and natural surroundings and of incorporating natural elements into our buildings through windows and indoor plants.

Hacking Oxytocin

Oxytocin is a primary hormone involved in the relaxation response. You can initiate its release in many ways, so you can choose which method you prefer.

If you want a ‘hard takeoff’, Oxytocin itself is available as a nasal spray online. It should be administered at the beginning of the ‘relaxation’ hack if you are having trouble naturally relaxing or if you really are that impatient. Don’t get into the habit of using it regularly, because then you’ll become dependent on it for the response, which is not what we’re aiming for here. A cheaper way to cause its release is to eat very small quantities of foods just before the hack that you find very tasty [but not a big meal].

For a softer takeoff, oxytocin can be induced by any or all of the following: your favorite smells, soft light, massage, orgasm, or relaxing music.

Spending time in oxytocin-inducing circumstances is something you can do even if you are not doing ‘relaxation response’ exercises, although we recommend the two together for maximum benefit. Basically, pamper yourself  :  )  -And remember that you are doing this for your own health and intelligence, so no feeling guilty about wasting time; time spent on wellbeing is always time well spent.

Input control & Movies: Take Control of Your Entertainment (hack & exercise)

Avoiding bad input is important, but the best way to avoid anything crappy is to replace it with something more beneficial. In just the same way, we must replace bad habits with good ones that are still fun.

For this hack, we want you to be a movie & music critic. You can take up to two weeks to complete the hack, but you should not take longer if you wish to reap the most benefits.

Choose ANY THREE movies from the following list:

  • Airplane

  • Apollo 13

  • Avatar

  • Batman Begins

  • Blazing Saddles

  • Close Encounters

  • Contact

  • Crocodile Dundee

  • ET

  • Galaxy Quest

  • Hackers

  • Hot Fuzz

  • Inception

  • Indiana Jones 1, 2 or 3

  • Iron Man

  • Jumping Jack Flash

  • Lord of the Rings 1, 2 or 3

  • Night at the Museum

  • Primer

  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes

  • Star Trek 4 or 6

  • Star Wars 4, 5 or 6 (the first three that came out)

  • Team America

  • Tenacious D: the Pick of Destiny

  • Terminal Velocity

  • Terminator 2

  • The Abyss

  • The Blues Brothers

  • The Bourne Identity

  • The Fifth Element

  • The Last Samurai

  • The Matrix

  • The Net

  • The Rock

  • The School of Rock

  • The Thing

  • Total Recall

  • True Lies

  • X-Files:The Movie

  • X-Men


  1. Watch each of the three movies on separate occasions whenever you have time. Try to do so alone, and have your Captain's log with you (don’t worry, you don’t have to write much!)

  2. After watching each one, you are going to vote on the following things:

  3. What character in the movie [not actor -fictional character] had the most physical strength?

  4. What character in the movie had the most physical endurance?

  5. What character in the movie looked the healthiest? [Not sexually attractive –physically healthy.]

  6. What character made the most sensible decisions in the story?

  7. How did the movie make you feel when you were watching? Excited? Bored? Horny? Thoughtful? Adventurous? Inspired? Tired? Energetic? Amused? Disgusted? Happy? Sad? Confused? Confident? Emotional?

  8. Did you really like the music in the movie? Can you remember any of it well enough to whistle the tune?

  9. Did you think the style of music fitted the events really well, or did it distract you sometimes from the story.


Note down these answers for each movie you watch.

After this you should try to watch at least one movie of your own choice every week. Don’t just be spoon-fed whatever crap is on TV –choose your own input. Pick the things that leave you feeling energized, calm but alert, not worn out. Beneficial input should increase your energy without making you jumpy, like martial arts do. Things that make you laugh are good for you too.

Consider how the characters behave in each movie, and whether you would want to behave in similar ways. If you find characters who are portrayed in the movie as ‘goodies’ but who are behaving stupidly, don’t watch the movie. Always watch stuff that inspires you to improvement, never stuff that drags you into apathy.

Your brain expects you to feed it input of good examples of how to behave. What are you giving it examples of if you let it watch stupid behavior, live or on TV?

If you’re in the habit of watching crap TV because you’re bored, turn it off and do something else that’s more beneficial for your mind. People fail to realize how much their intelligence can be reduced by whatever crap they’re viewing, not knowing that the brain unconsciously takes it all very seriously and tries to copy it!

Always choose examples of characters you respect and would want to emulate, in all areas of entertainment and in your real life. Don’t hang out with a bunch of dummies unless you want to be a dummy too! It’s actually healthier for you to be alone than to be in the company of people who behave in stupid ways. Obviously the best choice is to hang out with the most interesting intelligent people you know!

Start making a list of movies and music that improve your mood and behavior, and avoid input that makes you feel sorry for yourself or wallow in sentiment.

Listen to the music (exercise)

Here are some neurotransmitters and the emotions/colloquial terms they are associated with:

  • Serotonin – comfort, happiness, calm, ("laid back")

  • Dopamine – desire, lust, excitement, fun, ("hot")

  • Oxytocin - friendship, warmth, cameraderie, trust ("friendly")

  • Acetylcholine - focused, inspired, creative, light-hearted ("In the Zone")

  • Norepinephrine –Self esteem, confidence, pride ("cool")

  • Endorphins - joy, bliss, fulfilment, ("blissed out")

Consider your music collection. What sort of music do you associate with these moods and emotions? Listen to some of your favourite tracks and decide which category they fall into by what sort of moods they inspire.

You may have already discovered that you can hack your mood with music, movies and radio. Once you know what sort of music inspires different moods for you, you can use this information to fine-tune your personal plan.

Make a music collection that includes all the categories above. Use the NH tools that you already have at your disposal –music and movies are cheaper than drugs and have fewer side effects!

Talking the talk (hack & exercise)

Our own thoughts are input too. Our mind can hear what we say, including in our mind. This is “talking the talk” and it's all a part of walking the path as well as knowing the path. Talk to your own unconscious. Reassure it and remind it of the truth; that our own thoughts are not anxious, that we are aware of how others can affect us, and we understand that we're going to feel a little tense and must actively practice remaining relaxed in these circumstances.

Your mind hears you and listens to you and thinks your words are very important (why should it not?) and this is a good example of being able to use strong networks to help balance weak ones. Most westerners have a strong N5 and a predisposition to logic and rationality, so let's use it to our advantage by reminding N3 of what we know. This is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is a great tool if you have strong front nets.

Tell your unconscious what's going on. If you see anxious behavior, think “they're doing that because they're anxious, I'm glad I don't behave that way”. If you start feeling anxious around people, remind your brain that you're picking up their pheromones and that it's okay to calm down. Take a few slow deep breaths to help your physiology readjust your heart rate and slow cortisol production. Tell your unconscious "It's okay; this is not my problem".

It may sound strange that you can talk to your own brain and be understood by the unconscious parts, but this is true. It's simply “input” and it's treated as part of the incoming data about 'what's going on'. All you are doing is sending the message “problem explained! -cancel red alert; it's okay”, and as you develop this habit your unconscious will learn to comply without needing to know why, because it trusts you absolutely. So take care of it, and don't let it get ambushed by anxiety.

You can increase the percentage of input from yourself in ANY situation.

We're not suggesting that you should talk aloud to yourself (although you can in private if you like). Unconscious information is received whenever you think the thoughts; whenever you imagine the images. This means thought alone can be used as a defensive strategy.


3.3 Eidetic memory/ RAM & congruous association


For fun and awareness: Observe for yourself how incongruity slows your brain down


Say aloud the COLORS of each of these words as fast as you can:




If naming the second set of colors is more difficult, your performance exhibits what’s called the ‘stroop effect’ (named after Mr Stroop, who discovered it. When you look at the second set of the words, different networks perceive its color and its meaning, but cannot put the two together. If those two pieces of evidence are in conflict, we have to make a choice. Because the conscious mind considers that word meaning is more important than ink color, interference occurs when we try to pay attention only to the ink color. The difference between the times of the two tasks is your incongruity ‘interference score’ (this is how much you'll get slowed down by incongruity).

The interference effect shows how we're not always in complete control of what we pay attention to!


exercise for association, memory & learning

You can use sound for a ‘context-dependent’ learning boost as follows: Put some music on [I mean NOW –if there is already music on, leave it alone.) Any sort of music will do; this takes less than a minute.

Imagine a happy cartoon rat, dancing to this music. Now imagine a real rat dressed up in a costume, dancing to whatever music you hear right now. How weird would that look? What does your imagined 'rat costume' look like? Do you have a Rap rat, a Punk rat, a Blues rat or a Rock & Roll rat? A Classical rat in a tuxedo, or ballet gear perhaps? A Jazz rat? A rat in blue suede shoes? A Heavy Metal rat, or some rat raver spacing out to Trance?

Now first of all, if your rat is Morris/Line dancing, grooving to girly pop, or dressed as a cowboy, don’t worry. Just consider enhancing your CD collection.

Second, think about this: I bet every time you hear this music in the future, you’ll have no trouble remembering that little rat dancing.

This is context-dependent learning. We can use this tendency of deliberate association to enhance all learning. If we’re studying a particular subject and we always play music at the same time, we’ll find that listening to the same music afterwards helps our recall. Mozart, The Beatles and Bach have been recommended as the most effective so far, and one of our colleagues uses action movie soundtracks to induce alertness, but nobody’s experimented very much with other kinds of music as far as we know, so if you discover a really good one, let us know!


“Music Lesson”

You don’t have to know any music theory to do this; you just need your ears. Put on a piece of music that you like. The only rule is, it must be technically in time and in tune. Sit still and quiet and listen to it carefully, and try to work out where the lowest and the highest bits of melody are. If there is a singer or a lead instrument, where do they hit the highest notes in the song?

When the song is over, sit in silence for a moment and see if you can remember the main tune accurately enough to whistle or hum it back. Don’t put in any words, just concentrate on the tune. If you can’t do this don’t worry, just practise the exercise and notice whether you can remember some tunes better than others. You can start with something as simple as ‘happy birthday’ if you want to; it doesn’t have to be complicated, but you should have an example to listen to; don’t just do it from memory without listening first, even if you think you know it well. –And don’t ask a friend to sing it for you unless you’re sure they can sing in time and in tune.

Practicing this exercise once or twice a week will improve connections between N3 and N4, as well as a host of supporting rear network skills.


Exercises for eidetic memory

One occupation in which strong eidetic, procedural and declarative memory are required is spying! The following five exercises are used by trainee intelligence operatives:


1. Take regular snapshots

Look up from whatever you are doing and memorise the scene around you for a minute or two. Then close your eyes and try to recreate it in your mind’s eye. The first impression probably seems very strong but if you zoom in on the details –the titles on the spines of books or the view outside a window or the pattern on a cushion, for examples, you will probably find they go a little fuzzy. This is because enough neurons are firing to give you a low resolution inner picture, but not enough to provide fine details. Practising this exercise at least once each day will improve your eidetic memory. As your brain gets the impression that you require more detail about your surroundings the network will naturally increase. You’ll start to see more and more detail in your pictorial memory and this can be increased until it is virtually photographic.

The amount of improvement this can give to memory overall is probably one of the most noticeable changes in NH, and takes a lot of people by surprise.


2. Associate things

It’s best to use lists of things you would actually like to remember for this exercise.

Cells that fire together wire together. If two simple events or bits of information are brought into vivid association with one another then the subsequent occurrence of either of these events will lead to recall to the other. The relationship formed for this purpose may be quite arbitrary as long as it is vivid. First you choose a key object (we chose “fish”)


1. The first word of the list is read out aloud. Simultaneously visualize the item in some relation to fish as strongly as possible.

2. The second word is then read out aloud and visualized similarly. Make the images exaggerated and fantastic.

3. Now imagine an active relationship between the two images.

4. Having made this connection vividly, dismiss it from the mind and read aloud the third word and visualize it in some association with fish.

5. Now relate the third image to the second.

6. Dismiss from the mind, read aloud the fourth word, visualize it in connection with fish. Using this process you can remember a list of words; by thinking of the adventures of the key object the words are recalled in a chain of associations.

Example: Porridge, scouring pads, thumb tacks, printer cartridge, etc.

1. Porridge – with a fish on top of it –an imaginary Scottish dish.

2. Scouring pads – I am cleaning the scales off a fish with them.

3. Porridge + scouring pads – Obviously I am cleaning the porridge off the fish. Dismiss this relationship from mind

4. Thumb tacks – I am pinning a fish to a noticeboard.

5. Scouring pads and thumb tacks – having cleaned the fish, I’m pegging it out to dry. Dismiss this relationship from your mind.

6. Printer cartridge – The ink smells of fish.

7. Thumb tacks and printer cartridge – But perhaps I got fish smell on the cartridge because I only just tacked that fish to a board.


Examples are of limited use as it is to a great extent a process that relates to personal humor preferences and experience.

Practice learning a different list of 10-20 items each day for a week. Each day test yourself by running through the previous lists. You may find the process laborious at first but after practice the visualized associations may be made at great speed. After the initial week, practice as the chance comes along on such things as shopping lists or key words in notes.


3. Remember everything is multipurpose

Collect a miscellany of 50 small objects, (pencils, coins, cards, mechanical bits, containers, buttons, rubber bands, batteries etc) in a cardboard box or bag. They should perferably all be different. When you've got your collection, tip them out onto the floor and look them over.

How many ways can you think of arranging the objects in a meaningful associated way, e.g., according to shape and size, color, frequency of use, value etc.?

What aesthetic/ergonomic preferences have you got?

What’s the most stable way to make a pile out of all of them?

What tools could be made out of them or combinations of them?

Which ones could you use for improvising a tool for breaking out of a locked room?

If you could only take ten of them to a desert island for a week with no other kit, which ones would you take?

Which ones could you use for improvising a defensive weapon?

How do the associations you observe relate to bigger issues such as the arrangement of furniture in a room, or technology in a building?


4 Adapt familiar procedures

If your memory has experience of the possibilities of variation it will apply the new knowledge to all other memories and all perception.

Turn your mouse round, so that moving it left and up makes the cursor move right and down. Practise using it like this.

Apply similar rules to ordinary everyday tasks –do them with the opposite hand. Try reading upside down, picking up pencils with your toes and getting them into jars, cleaning your teeth and writing your signature with the opposite hand.

Try tying and untying knots in a string with one hand only (you are allowed to use your teeth)

Go about your daily business favoring your non-dominant hand for 24 hours.

When you kneel to pick something up, which knee goes down first? Try kneeling on the other knee.

What changes do you notice in your procedural performance on swapping back?

(To be done at home) Get on a wheeled office chair and keep your feet off the floor by whatever means (resting them on the chair legs or edge of chair seat is usual). Sit on your hands or keep them on the chair arms. Your mission is to navigate around the room and without using any limbs, write a note saying, "help I'm trapped in this office chair".

How do these experiences affect your reasoning when viewing the objects on a room?


5. Look, check, memorize

You will need a notebook or similar.

The making of lists is in itself an external aid to memory. A list (or mind map) allows items to be reorganized in a manner that the memory may more easily absorb. The structure of the list might suggest things that are missing, and also priorities may be evaluated.

Basic method:

Make a list of about 20 things of different categories (for example a fruit, a mammal, a car, a tree, a computer, a rock, a TV etc)

Arrange the list so that associated things are placed together (for example fruit, tree, mammal, rock, computer, TV, car)

Read the list through at a regular rhythm. Then covering the list with a sheet of paper, remember the first word. Move the paper down to reveal the 1st word - look, check, memorize. Try and remember the 2nd word, whilst it is still covered. Move the paper down to reveal the 2nd word - look, check, memorize. Repeat for the 3rd word - and continue through the list. Keep going through the list in this way until each item is anticipated correctly. Repeat a few more times. Now run through the list several times out aloud, faster and without the copy.

When you are out and about, stop in front of any window displaying a variety of items, or any car park containing a variety of vehicles. Observe the items and categorize them in your mind making a mental list of what is there, then turn your back or move away. Take out your notebook and write down what items you can remember in order by association.

Look, check, memorize. Check your result by looking again. The second time you turn away, add any missing items to your list. When you get it right first time, increase the number of items, or increase the detail (for example, how many car registration numbers can you remember? Chances are you will start by remembering only one or two, but this can be increased with practice to nine or ten!)

When you are in public places where people mostly stand still, view the assortment of people around you and imagine you will have to describe them later. Turn away and try to remember each individual -could you describe them clearly?

Look, check, memorize. Turn back and check your acuity -what is missing? Then turn away again and see if you can make a better description.

When you are in unfamiliar rooms or buildings, play 'look, check, memorize' with a description of the room or building, but make sure you will be allowed to stay long enough to check!


Exercises for awareness of false memory

See how easy it is to implant a false memory


Read the first two lists of words (don’t try to memorize them) and pause for a few minutes.

List 1
apple, vegetable, orange, kiwi, citrus, ripe, pear, banana, berry, cherry, basket, juice, salad, bowl, cocktail

List 2
web, insect, bug, fright, fly, arachnid, crawl, tarantula, poison, bite, creepy, animal, ugly, feelers, small

Now wait a few minutes (go make yourself a coffee or something), then scroll down to list 3 -marked ** below exercise B. Write down the words in list 3 that you think were also in one of the first two lists. Then scroll back and check your accuracy.)

You may be surprised at the result. This method is known as the Deese-Roediger-McDermott  (DRM) paradigm, and the findings have been replicated numerous times.



Look at the figure below briefly, then turn away from the screen and go find a pen and paper. Without looking back at the screen, write down what you think you read.



Now read the words more carefully. How long does it take you to spot the extra words?



**List 3
happy, woman, winter, circus, spider, feather, citrus, ugly, robber, piano, goat, ground, cherry, bitter, insect, fruit, suburb, kiwi, quick, mouse, pile, fish

(Write down the items on this list that you think were on one of the original two lists above. Now scroll back up to the original lists and check your answers)


The example above is used in the memory-training manual of a certain intelligence agency. What follows are some of their exercises for agents.


Exercises to improve mnemonic accuracy & avoid creating false memory details.

Attention, focus, and awareness of how false memory happens are the keys to avoiding false memory.

1 When anywhere new, imagine that you are going to be asked to draw your surroundings. Consider the main structures, then fixtures and fittings, décor and contents. Use the same strategy with people and vehicles.

2 In public places, clear your mind of all other considerations and fully focus on where you are now. How many others are in the same place? Which of them would you most like to be introduced to? Which of them would you rather not be introduced to? Why? Who is the easiest to remember? Who is the hardest? Why?

3 On recall, question the questions. For example:

“Who was with the UnSub (=Unknown Subject)?” -Was ANYONE with the UnSub?

“What make/color was the vehicle?” -WAS there a vehicle?

“What sort of coat was the UnSub wearing?” -WAS the UnSub wearing a coat?

“What did the UnSub say?” -DID the UnSub say anything?

“When the UnSub said/did x, what happened next?” -DID the UnSub say or do x? -How sure are we of what we heard/saw?

4 Collect a selection of landscape images, both urban and rural. Look at each one briefly then turn away and try to sketch what you saw.

5 Be aware of not interpreting others' behavior in light of how you personally would respond in the same situation. This is a famous bug of memory, especially in fast, complex situations.

6 Assess the 'important points' of any indoor area so that you are aware of entrances and exits, obvious surveillance devices and any emergency equipment. Play with scenarios in your mind, preferably comedic ones -for example, 'What would I really do, right now, if the gentleman on the end of the aisle exploded?' 'What would happen to this building if a large vehicle crashed through that window?' 'What would I do if the sprinkler system/lighting/power suddenly went off?' 'What would happen in here if those two nuns started a food fight, and I did nothing?' 'What would happen if a million mice suddenly came out of the next room?' 'What would happen if everyones' clothing suddenly turned into ballet costumes?'

The more amusing and realistic your imaginings are, the better you will recall the surroundings and people in real life accurately.

7 Rhyming remains an innate strengthener for human memory. Make up your own mnemonic rhymes to recall procedures. For example:

“If the contents are inconsequential, file it under 'Confidential'.

If it's out of date and getting older, file in the 'Top Secret' folder.”


“Word Association Football” (exercise)

You can play this alone or with others. You need a pen and paper or a word processing program.


To play alone:

Begin with a keyword from one of these categories:


  • An enjoyable emotion [eg happiness, love, excitement, rectitude, contentment]

  • A material object [eg box, bag, stick, car, window, hat]

  • A month of the year

  • A time of day

  • An insect, bird or animal

  • A form of travel [eg walking, driving, flying, swimming, sailing]

  • A field of study [eg physics, maths, geography, entomology]

  • An organic object [eg tree, plant, river, star, fire, mountain]

  • A first name [eg Mary, Fred, Abdul, Maiko, Jean]

  • A genre of music [eg opera, rap, rock & roll, trance, folk, heavy metal]

  • A placename, factual or fictional [eg New York, Utopia, The Amazonian rainforest, Osaka, Seleya on the planet Vulcan]

  • An abstract word that doesn’t mean anything in any language you know, but is pronounceable [eg Blarthe, Wip, Nogoim, Plid]

    Put your keyword at the top of the page. Now choose a word from each of the remaining categories to represent or associate with your starting word.

    Here’s my own example:



Material object: Party popper

Month of year: December

Time of day: night

Insect, bird or animal: kitten

Form of travel: flight

Field of study: humor

Organic object: pond

First name: Cosmo

Genre of music: dance

Placename: stonehenge

Abstract word: Wizzo


Now choose a keyword from among your answers and begin again. Put the new keyword at the top of a new page, and do not look back at the previous page as you make new associations.

As you look back and observe the progress of ideas along the trees of association you’ll learn a lot about how your mind associates things, where it has difficulties establishing associations and where it finds many, easy associations. You’ll also see how some ideas carry over in your memory from one page to the next and how some don’t. The ones that do are the strongest associations.

Vary your practice by choosing keywords that you find it hardest to find associations for.

To play with others –each person chooses another person’s starting keyword.

Input Control Practice - Using Cognition and Creativity to Enable Faster Learning and More Efficient Memory (hack & exercise)

People with strong front nets often have good cognitive skills and good ability to think objectively. Pessimistic, paranoid or obsessive attitudes greatly slow down learning and inhibit memory, because they increase the level of anxiety we experience in a given event, and even cause more anxiety with their self sabotage thought and behavior patterns. If you are consciously aware of any of these tendencies, you can significantly improve your memory and learning speed by hacking rear nets using cognitive behavioral therapy.

In cognitive orientated therapies techniques vary, but commonly may include keeping a diary of significant events and associated feelings, thoughts and behaviors; gradually facing activities which may have been avoided; trying out new ways of behaving and interacting; monitoring thoughts, assumptions, beliefs and behaviors and identify those which are dysfunctional, inaccurate, or unhelpful (the aim is to replace or transcend them with those which are more realistic and useful.) Relaxation, mindfulness meditation and distraction techniques are also commonly included. (We will explore CBT in greater depth in future tutorials, but if you wish to look into it further now consult the “Disorders & problems” section of the Library).

Useful Hack for Cannabis Users

The reason why long-term dope smokers are renowned for memory loss is due to a side effect of cannabis on brainwave patterns in sleep. Memory loss can be prevented even if you smoke a lot, by (a) making sure you’re not always stoned when you go to sleep, and (b) sleeping for a natural period of time (i.e., so that you wake up naturally without an alarm clock.) This sounds strange because dope makes a lot of people fall asleep, but it’s not sleep that matters here, it’s quality dream-time. We ‘defrag’ memories during REM sleep, and cannabis can prevent us from getting into REM. When we don't get into REM we fail to defrag memories, and recall becomes as difficult as spotting a few zeros in an enormous space filled with random numbers...Unsurprisingly, some of them cannot be found!

If you've been going to bed stoned every night for a while, don't be surprised if you have very vivid dreams for the first night or two that you go to bed not so stoned! If this effect disturbs you, slightly reduce your vitamin B intake for a day or two until it settles down.

Memory precautions for those who like to drink & smoke

Alcohol and cannabis can wreck your memory. If you like to use either, keep to the following simple guidelines to minimise memory damage:

  1. Don’t drink/smoke every day

  2. Don’t binge, especially after a long time without.

  3. Invest in a wine bottle resealer so you don’t feel obliged to drink up the whole bottle of wine you opened before it goes sour.

  4. Avoid drinking/smoking right before you have to learn anything new.

  5. Drink juice or water in between beer or joints. Dehydration is a big cause of memory damage and cell damage in general. Eat more fruit. This should be no problem if you already have the munchies. Melons are marvelous. Live yogurt will help avoid gut-bacteria devastation and loss of serotonin.

  6. If you go to a heavy party, or wake up with a hangover, don’t drink or smoke for a few days afterwards. Eat vitamin-B-rich foods to maintain and restore memory.

Memory strategies

Individuals who use the following two strategies often have better memory performance than those who use them rarely or not at all:

1) A visual inspection strategy in which participants carefully studied the visual appearance of objects.

2) A verbal elaboration — or word-based strategy — in which individuals constructed sentences about the objects to remember them.

http://artofmanliness.com/2011/09/30/ho … l-mapping/
http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/joshua … an_do.html


First memory hack

    First, improve your memory as much as you can by natural means; that is to say, make sure you get enough sleep and eat well. Foods that are particularly good for memory are listed in the methods & tech section above. (Be careful not to overdose on vitamin B or your dreams will kick the crap out of you. The rumor that cheese makes you dream is based on the fact that it improves your memory of your dreams, often in vivid detail.) Be aware of the effects of alcohol etc and wean yourself off alarm clocks.

Take a nap

Between bits of learning. Normal memory consolidation of new information takes 6-8 hours to become permanent. With a nap [for some rapid defragging] you can reduce the time to 90 minutes.

You may find these simple steps improve your memory a lot, but there's no need to stop there!

Use your Sensory Power (hack + exercise)

    The more enjoyable a sensation, the more likely it will be remembered, all other things being equal. The more stuff stimulates your senses, the easier it is to remember.

    For example, reading material is more likely to be remembered if it has key words in color and is as brightly lit as possible without glare.

A message in several media, i.e. where different senses are stimulated, is more powerful than in one. It follows then, that an idea which is expressed through a story will have more impact on the memory than a straight-forward statement. The more fantastic, evocative or powerfully illustrated the story, the more powerful the memory. However, best of all is to directly express the idea in actions. Sometimes this may be

done as an experiment, sometimes as an exercise and sometimes it is a less specific action in the world at large. Sexual or sexually linked data will probably be easily remembered because of our society’s pervasive taboos on sex and also because sex has a high level of sensory power. Anything vulgar, humorous, weird or attractive will also be easily remembered. This will vary depending on personal associations.

Vivid perception is the best aid to retention. In this way the sense exercises are also memory improvers!

To get people [including yourself] to remember what is said, heard or written make sure it appeals to a range of the senses either directly or by association. A subject that is dull can be associated with one that is bright. E.g. a dull black and white list or plan will draw attention to itself by being highlighted or pasted onto a colored background

Hack to assist recall

Common Mnemonics:





Hack for improving LTP

Go multimodal. If you have a list of things to remember, say them out loud, listen carefully to the sound of the words as you say them, write them down and focus on how the words look as you do so. Draw pictures that relate to each item. Make up a tune to sing them to, or a rhyming poem with them in. The more different modes that you can put the information into, the easier and faster it will be to move it into long term memory.

Understanding congruous association

    To understand how association works congruously and how in particular you personally make associations (hack + exercise)

Pick a concrete concept at random. (Concrete = physical material, for example an object, animal, plant, building, place.) The concept should be represented in a single word, symbol or picture. Write, draw or stick this in the centre of one page of your captain's log. Then using the word or picture as a focus, make a mind map, writing around it as many associations as you can jot down in 5 minutes. This in itself may be revealing. Label this page 'original associations'.

If you can do this with others, it is interesting to see someone else's associations and thoughts around a subject as a reference point from which to judge your own.


Next, take the same concept and put it at the center of a new page.

Spending only a few minutes on each section:

At the bottom left of the page, write the core concept 'Matter', and note down its material and sensory associations (eg is it hard or soft, cold or warm, what is its texture and taste if it has them).

At the bottom right, write the core concept 'Space' and note down its spatial and behavioral associations, (eg how does it move, look or sound, what does it do (by itself), where is it seen, kept, found or used, how does it behave?) Behavior is independent motion in space; for example if your concept was 'cat' you would say it walks, runs, climbs, stalks prey and eats mice. If it was 'car' you'd say it needs an operator or it does nothing.

At the bottom centre, write the core concept 'Density', and here note whether it has any smell and if so what sort, what type of emotions you associate with it if any, and whether or not you think it's important. On the whole, do you like it or not? Is it a beneficial thing or a harmful one?

At the top right of the page, write the core concept, "Time", and list here the concept's procedural, creative and time-related associations, if it has any. This will usually include what it is or could be used for, what can be done with it, when and how it could be used/seen, or how it works, and its place in 'the big picture' (for example if your starting concept was 'cat' you would say it's part of organic life; if your concept was 'car' you'd say it was part of human technology). Look for associations that emphasize its similarity to other things or how it is a part of things.

At the top left of the page, write the core concept 'Energy', and here note down declarative facts and data you know about the concept, For example what is it called, what is it made of, when was it first seen, what color is it, who discovered/invented it and any facts you know that distinguish it as different from other things.

At the top center, write the core concept 'Power' and here note how it features in human interaction (eg, is it to be avoided, sought, eaten, attended to, used, talked to, looked at?) Do NOT include what it is or could be used for, just whether it is used by humans.

Now consider the associations on this map. Can you see why these aspects of your starting concept associate with the core concepts that they do? Can you see that together they answer all the questions: what, where, when, which, why and how?

Check which network your concept has most associations in.

If you get stuck, use your knowledge of animal behaviors and which networks they relate to. -How does your chosen concept relate to the different animal behaviors? This should tell you what network (and hence which core concept) it has most associations in.

Compare your original and second lists. Which one would give a stranger a clearer idea of what the concept is, if they had never heard of it before?

Practice habitually working out the core concepts associated with random things around you, and thinking of things in association with their core concepts. This will instill habits of congruent association automatically. If you are stuck in dull surroundings, make random lists of concepts and practice core concept association with them.

Reveal the influence of eidetic association on cognition
(hack & exercise)

(needs assistant/s –great fun at parties!)

Get hold of two cardboard boxes of different sizes and put a brick in each one. Check they weigh the same, then seal them. Get somebody to lift them and guess which is the heavier. The vast majority of people will say that the smaller box is heavier, even though it isn't, and will continue to maintain that it is even after looking inside both boxes and lifting them several times.

This "perceptual size-weight illusion" is very robust. So much so that it works even if the smaller box is slightly lighter. Even labelling two identical boxes "heavy" and "light" can pull the same trick. Experiments show that even though people initially use greater force to lift the larger box than the smaller one, on subsequent lifts they unconsciously equalise the amount of force they use to lift them. Despite networks 1 & 2 apparently "knowing" that the boxes weigh the same, N3’s association still perceives the smaller box as being heavier.

If you do this a lot, N3 will suss you out eventually and over-compensate in the opposite direction (the effect will reverse, and the larger box will now seem heavier.)

Association augmentation (hack & exercise)

Observe association in defragging -Deliberately sit and daydream. Allow your mind to wander. Have a notebook by your side and every half minute make a one-word note of the current thought you are having. Jot this down in such a way as to avoid disturbing your reflections, as far as possible. In this way you can keep track of a series of points in your wandering thoughts.

After 10 or 15 minutes stop and look at your notes. See if you can identify the connections by which each link originally came one from the other. (Often the link is not 'rational' but simply a quite arbitrary association, for example we think of a train, then we think of someone we last saw on a train, then something they said about turtles, and then we think of tortoises and the galapagos islands, charles darwin, the natural history museum...etc) Don't try to direct your thoughts, just observe, make notes, and see if you can fit in the missing links.

Repeat this once daily for a week. This is a study of how your mind's processing finds continuity and associational links. Similar mechanisms operate in dreams, but we are not normally conscious of them. The more conscious you become of how defragging works, the more you will be able to both direct and augment it.

Eidetic Association and input control hacks


Input control

Every frequency of sound, color, every taste, every texture, every facial expression, every posture, every shape, every movement, every dance, “tells a story” to N1 & 2. To hack rear nets, use these media.

Every odor, every pheromone, every emotion, every behavior, every analogy, every fantasy, every memory, every image, every pattern, every thought, every picture, tells a story to N3. To hack N3 use these media.

Every procedure, every metaphor, every construct, every design, every aesthetic assessment, every joke, every piece of music, every creation, every song, tells a story to N4. To hack N4, use these media.

Every fact, every intellectual analysis, every assessment, every calculation, every word, every introspection, tells a story to N5. To hack N5, use these media.

Every plan, every decision, every strategy, every spiritual insight, every realization, every judgment, tells a story to N6. To hack N6, use these media.

All networks should be getting their own parts of “the same story”. Every memory recall and every transmitter release depends on getting that story right, for appropriacy. If some of our networks are lacking input, input control can help us to ‘fill in the gaps’. Any stimulus (e.g. lightwaves, molecules, touch, soundwaves) has the potential to create a multi-sensual experience.


Select about 10 of the most noticeable objects currently in your room. Note your own associations with each of these objects then note down any new associations that you have learned through studying core categories. How could you change any of the objects to strengthen their healthy associations? Are there any objects that have unpleasant associations and should be changed or discarded? [Obviously that Star Wars wallpaper from a long time ago in a galaxy far far away has to stay!]

Use your face: Our own facial expression tells our brain and other people's how seriously to take input and what sort of chemicals to respond with. Use a mirror and pictures of the basic emotions (in this tutorial, above) to model the facial expressions of healthy emotions. The signals your face sends to your brain will encourage the growth of healthy emotion response networks, and you will more automatically use them in appropriate social situations.

Use your body: Our posture can make others (and ourselves) feel unconsciously more or less anxious. Deliberately look out for and interrupt any unconscious habits of modeling the behavior, postures or verbal accents of anxious people when you're with them -remind yourself of, and take care to maintain, your own posture and your own voice, and remain aware of the volume and speed of your speech.

'Smelling' of oxytocin spreads goodwill to all humans, but can make you gullible, especially if NE is high. DIY sex or massage before an attractive encounter will make you 'smell' more attractive and less anxious during that encounter (but do wash your hands before making the gourmet meal).

Doing things that you enjoy with accompanying smells will increase your sensitivity of the smells themselves and augment the experience with higher resolution memory. A massage with natural flowers in the room will make you release more serotonin and oxytocin. Lovemaking with flowers in the room has similar effects on dopamine.

Be aware, and take responsibility for your own attention. Recognize what's really going on around you and remind yourself of it: Sometimes even just realizing that someone else around you is anxious can prevent you from modeling them.

By now we should be increasing conscious awareness of unconscious systems such as attention, and taking responsibility for what we pay it to. We can hack automation by various means and one of the best is the noble art of ignoring things. Go to places that have a TV on and practice NOT paying any attention to it. Behave as if it isn't there. Deliberately focus your attention on things such as: who is the healthiest looking person in the room? Who is the most interesting-looking person in the room? Whose clothing is the most aestheticallly pleasing? Who is the noisiest person in the room? Where are the nicest combinations of colors in the room? Where is the light and shadow effect most pleasing in the room? Can you remember when you first came here? What was your first impression of this place? Was it accurate? Has this place been here for a long time, or a short time? If you owned this place, what would you do with it? Where is the nearest natural scene? What is the best item or activity available to you in this place?


By occupying your own attention in these ways, it will get used to being directed by your conscious mind rather than wandering about undirected responding automatically to everything the eyeballs turn towards. Do not be a robot! Take responsibilty, because that gives you respond-ablity.

Anxious people routinely employ sentimental imagery in the media and even during ordinary social interactions to attempt to bias the decisions of others. This 'subliminal advertising' can be done the other way round: visual scenes such as smiling and attractive faces, natural surroundings, lighting effects, music, creativity, sensory enhancement, chemicals, meditation, appetizing foods, comedy, fantasy, scents, nature documentaries, new ideas and beautiful pictures can all evoke strong healthy emotions in ourselves and those around us.

In media, take responsibility for being 'programme controller' for yourself instead of taking your input from whatever is being pushed at you. Don't use the radio or TV just to 'make a noise'. If you need to go to a public place where screens and adverts are everywhere, train yourself to be able to NOT look at them. Focus your attention on the most aesthetically pleasing object in the room, then search for other wholesome visual input. Make it a habit to always seek out the most wholesome thing in every environment and circumstance. That way even in bad circumstances you are still getting some good input, an it also teaches you which are the most 'deprived' and which the most 'enriched' places to hang out.

Learn how to entertain yourself; plan an evening as though you were inviting your double round for a good time, then live it. If you have to wait in a boring place, play mental games to pass the time using only your mind, for example using your memory, imagination or intellect.

Who we are today is largely the result of what input we have experienced in the past, but that doesn't matter, because who we are tomorrow is largely the result of what input we are providing for our own experience today. The best way to assure success in the future is to construct it in the here and now.

Eidetic association maps


Eidetic Association maps are similar to mind maps and can be used for many things: as a graphical mnemonic and analysis tool that improves our memory and learning speed by improving our association skills; as a method for increasing unconscious-conscious congruity; to align imagination with archetypal plots; to improve categorization skills; to get a different perspective on a problem or 'see the big picture'. Other uses will occur to you.



First design your background. Make this fairly simple, because you are going to write all over it. Color coding is good. Some backgrounds that students have used are: A brain seen from the top down / A star map / Rainbow colors in squares / A spaceship / A building / A yin-yang sign / A blank page with 6 circles / A butterfly / A flower with 6 petals.

The most important thing about our design is that it should have a distinct space for each brain network. An EA map is more structured than an ordinary mind map. The layout of our design should have a spatial arrangement that generally has a similar layout to the position of the main 6 networks in the brain itself that we are studying. We can’t make it exactly the same because we’re working in 2D [although we’d love to see a 3D EA map!) This version is one we should be able to view in our diary, see on one page on a screen without scrolling, or stick on our wall.)

The best network layouts are these two:



On our background we then fill in the key words or phrases about what the networks are associated with, what they process, or what they do (we’ll find these in tutorials if we can’t remember, but we should try to remember first). We should use a medium we can erase if we get things wrong or if we change our associations as we learn more -this is a dynamic, evolving diagram. We could begin with the keywords for core concepts (‘space’, ‘time’ etc,) or the different types of memory, the functions of intelligence, types of core behavior, emotional/neurotransmitter processing, stages of COMPVC, or any other basic association.


An EA map is a map of the conceptual associations of very basic categories in a healthy brain. So there are two rules:

(a) Everything on this map must be both real and universally applicable to all humans; real experiences and real concepts. So we can use ‘spirituality’ but we cannot use any particular religion (it’s not universal). Likewise, we can use ‘music’ but not ‘Beethoven’ or ‘The Beatles’. We can use ‘food’ but not ‘Pizza’ or ‘Ratatouille’. All humans eat food. Not all humans eat pizza. Now you’ve got it. (We can make our maps as complicated as we like later on, but we need to limit them to basics here or we’ll run out of room and fall off the edge of the tutorial.)

(b) Everything on the map must be healthy. So we cannot include disorders or problems such as ‘anxiety’ as map terms, and we cannot use sentiments such as ‘worrying’, ‘guilt’, or ‘jealousy’. These are not things the brain is meant to be doing, so they can’t go on the map. If we’re unsure of what is a sentiment and what is an emotion, we don’t put either on the map until we’ve studied this in more detail (see other tutorials). “If in doubt, leave it out” is a good guide here.

Bearing these rules in mind, we proceed as with a normal mind map; putting in whatever associations we recall around each keyword (so our map has six ‘centers’ of association). As we become more aware of what each brain network is doing, we can add associations. Our EA map will grow as our awareness grows, and it will be unique to us. It will serve as a constant mnemonic for what each network is doing and we can remind ourselves at a glance. As you learn new skills, you can assess from your map what networks will be needed for each particular skill and for each stage of learning. Eventually it will become a ‘universal’ mind map with words associated with any activity or study, giving you insights as to how all things are related in the brain and making you aware of the universality of the brains eidetic map.


Exercises for improving imaginative association

"concept combination" exercise

Whether done alone or with others, you combine random concepts or things in new ways, to see how many ideas you can come up with. A box or hat is filled with bits of folded paper, on each is written an object. Each player picks out two and has to imagine how many different things could be done with the combination. A random word generator can be used if it can be set on names of objects.

Next time round, you pick out three objects, and so on. It gets more difficult to imagine possibilities for the combinations as the number of objects increases, but also funnier.

Start playing little silent "movies" in your mind, until you can watch them on command. It's a simple process, but for those who can't easily do it naturally, it can take a lot of practice. Fortunately, it is not an unpleasant activity.

Reveal unconscious association (exercise)

Begin from a relaxed state. This is a good exercise when you are tired or drunk.

Using your NH diary, write down or type any ONE of the following core concepts: Matter/Energy/Space/Time.

Then stop. Look out the window or around the room. Read the word you have written, then using this as a keyword write the first thing (word or phrase) that comes into your head, when you think of the concept. Don't pause to think and consider..if you catch yourself doing so, stop. Look away. Clear your mind, then continue.

If you have prepared yourself sufficiently so that this process happens unselfconsciously the result may seem meaningless, unconnected or weird, but that's okay.

Now look at the second thing you have written, and repeat the process using that as the keyword this time. Continue until you have a list of about twenty things.

Now look back at your list and examine the terms as individual items.

How many of them associate in a clear straightforward way with the first thing you wrote down?

Are they all in the same category (for example, are they all material objects?) Could any of them be associated with any of the other core concepts you did not choose?

Next, instead of starting with a core concept pick up a book or open a document at random and choose a word by randomly pointing at a part of the page with eyes closed. Take that word or phrase as your new keyword and repeat the exercise including the questions at the end.

If you do this regularly you will start to notice habits of thought; ways in which you often make similar associations between certain types of things. This will help you see your own progress into more coherent association over time, based on real life relationships between things.

Exercises for practising healthy emotions and making congruent association between emotions and events

NOTE: It is essential to understand the difference between emotion and sentiment before doing these exercises.

Don't do these all in the same session! One at a time is best, or one in the morning and one in the evening at most.

Every time you genuinely laugh, you're helping yourself move towards or stay in the green zone. Levity, or 'mirth' is a core emotion. It's a good one to start with, because most of us already know what it feels like to experience amusement. Plus you can always ask a friend to tickle you.

Learn what things you can think about, listen to, watch or read that make you laugh, and DO your NH -pay attention to them. Your mission is to make yourself laugh and WHILE LAUGHING, think to yourself "This is levity" (or whatever name you have chosen.) Pay attention to the way you feel when you laugh, bodily, mentally, and associate it all with the name you have chosen for this experience. Also remind yourself that this is causing the release of healthy transmitters.

Next, go for comfort/happiness/pleasure: practice identifying and invoking sensory pleasure in yourself and learn how to make your body feel nice and your surroundings feel comfortable. Consider what your favorite tastes and textures are, what music helps you feel relaxed and chilled out, what sort of activities leave you with a feeling of warm satisfaction. Notice how your behavior can change what emotions you feel. In the same way as you did for levity, deliberately think about the associations between the feeling and the name you have chosen for this emotion.

Explore the many sub-categories of desire including lust, hunger (try fasting all day then eating whatever you like in the evening), excitement (try to find something non-sexual to get excited about. Think of a project you could get excited about), intrigue (think of a puzzle or mystery that you would really like to solve, or something you would love to know about but don't).

Think about people you like and respect, and either are or would like to be friends with. What friendly things can you imagine doing for somebody really cool? Thinking about these behaviors will invoke feelings of amity and friendliness. Spend a while enjoying what it feels like. Notice how different it feels to lust and mirth.

Think of something you know you are good at doing and consider how confidently you behave when doing it. Spend time being proud of yourself for being such a cool dude that you care about your mind and the quality of your life and are taking positive steps to improve it. Consider improvements you have noticed and remember that is the result of YOUR good work, taking care of yourself as all intelligent beings should. This is genuinely-deserved pride, so notice how it improves your self esteem.

Think about the things that give you joy. If you're not sure you've experienced joy yet (a lot of people haven't), imagine being with a whole group of people who love you and respect you, as you do them. Imagine things that you think are beautiful, magical, amazing, mind-blowing and wonderful.

We do not recommend you deliberately practice each networks' hazard-related emotions; disgust, alarm, offense, gravity, uncertainty or grief. Even though these are all healthy emotions, and will be useful later, they cannot assist us at this stage.

First become familiar with the 'growth' related emotions. At the same time, begin looking at your input with a critical eye. When you watch a movie or read a story, what healthy emotions are portrayed?

If you cannot find any, its likely that you've been soaking up examples of sentiment, so review your reading, listening and watching habits -are they encouraging you to behave in foolish ways?

Congruous association and trust exercise

We include this as it is a common problem for students to understand the concept of 'trust' if they have been used to using sentiment.

When you have congruous association, trust is a relative concept (that is to say, nobody can be trusted to have competence in all fields and abilities.) We probably know an assortment of people whom we might variously trust to drive a car safely, cook us a good meal or hold on to something important for us without forgetting about it. We may not know anyone we could trust to do safe open heart surgery, helicopter piloting, or bomb-disposal.

Trust has NOTHING to do with morality. You cannot trust me to fly a helicopter because I have no idea how to. I'm not a trustworthy pilot. We trust our brain and body to remember how to walk safely in most terrains. WE may not trust them to be able to do so on craggy ice or in deep sand. These are facts, with no emotional values attached.

Trust is about ability. Can you trust someone to have an ability? Think of six people you know and like. Which of the following things do you think each one is able to do competently? Which ones could you be trusted to do?


Remember to post a letter on a certain day

Write a computer program

Pay attention to what is said

Remember that something is meant to be kept confidential

Keep something confidential

Understand the importance of something to someone else even though it's not important to them

Fly a plane

Design an efficient trap for catching live animals

Arrive at a place at an exact time

Change a baby

Navigate a strange place without getting lost

Remember that they promised to do something

Handle dangerous reptiles

Learn a new dance


Trust is about capability-assessment. Is someone ABLE to keep a secret? Is someone ABLE to fly a plane? Is someone ABLE to copy a procedure? Is someone ABLE to experience genuine emotion? Is someone ABLE to control their emotional expression? Is someone ABLE to interact? The inability to keep a secret or remember something important is a lack of ability, not morality.

If someone is not able to do something, it is not a moral judgement to assume they cannot be trusted to do it safely. If they are, they can. It's important to remove sentimental attachments from the concept of trust, because trust is simply a measure of ability. There are things that none of us could be trusted to do (a professional ballet dance, for example), and that does not mean there is anything wrong with us (unless we're professional ballet dancers). NOBODY is 100% 'trustworthy' because nobody can be competent at dong everything. EVERYONE is 'trustworthy' in the things that they are competent at doing.

To find out what someone can be trusted to do, you need to know them really well. That includes yourself.

hacks for improving congruity and communication between unconscious & conscious awareness


Hack Your Dream Life

We talked about how to make sure you get enough sleep in earlier tutorials, but are you sure you’re getting enough quality dream time? You need at least two hours of dreamtime each night. Try remembering what you dreamed when you wake up each day. If you remember your dreams or at least remember dreaming, you’re probably okay. If you don’t remember your dreams, increase your input of B vitamins for a couple of weeks. If you still don’t remember your dreams, there could be a problem with your memory.

lucid dreaming (hack + exercise)

Lucid Dreaming is consciously being aware within your dream.

Studying your dreams can teach you many things about yourself. The state of dreaming can arguably be viewed as the ultimate form of meditation. Dreams bring your unconscious mind to the forefront, and can convey unconscious knowledge about your health, relationships, and other matters. For example, they may offer symbolic images that tell you about biological processes going on inside your body, and what you need to do to stay healthy.

When you are dreaming and you become conscious that you are dreaming you can start to control your dreams. It can be an exhilarating experience, and the feeling of euphoria after your first few lucid dreams can last for days. To start remembering your dreams try this simple technique -- Keep a dream journal. Even writing a few short sentences about your dream is enough. This will get you into the habit of remembering your ordinary dreams and to start looking for dream signs within your dreams.

Next, pick out dream signs. A lot of your ordinary dreams will have objects or people in them that could act as a cue to becoming lucid in your dreams. Choose an easily-remembered one that you can use as a reminder that you're dreaming. Whenever you see it in a dream, your unconscious can be trained to give you lucid awareness whilst still dreaming.

Working from themes or symbols that have occured in your own sleeping dreams is often most productive here. Refer to the 'basics/ details/ idea' document.

If your images are irrelevant, erratic, unfocused, confusing and generally not getting anywhere it may be useful to start off by 'entering' an imagined archetypal scene.

The scene should, as far as possibe, be emotionally neutral in itself so that the dream activity that evolves out of this scene relates to current feelings in your mind rather than associations with the scene. A meadow, hill or brook are usually suitable. (check that the scene you chose doesn't have any strong associations for you.) Then once you have got yourself into the dream it should take over and develop naturally.

To be consciously aware in your dream world means you have to be conscious and aware in your waking world, so high anxiety will prevent lucid dreaming. Being consciously aware means looking around you in the here and now and being aware of what you see, feel, hear, smell and touch and able to think about it. If you start to consciously focus more often on awareness in the world around you, you will carry this ability over into the dream world.


Ask yourself right now ‘Am I dreaming?’. Your obvious answer is to say no, of course you are not dreaming. How do you know? Try and think about why and how you know you are not dreaming. This again will carry over into your dreaming world and your unconscious will start asking the same questions in your dreams.

The unconscious is very suggestible. Many people have their first lucid dream simply by reading an article like this about it. You might find that you become over-excited at first and lose the lucid dream, however, your first lucid dream will be remembered for years to come. By far the best technique for overcoming anxiety at the surprise of finding yourself aware that you are dreaming is calming yourself down with self suggestion and hypnotic scripts (see below). If you find that you are losing your lucidity, you can talk to yourself to calm yourself down and just start noticing the things around you in your dream. Hypnotic scripts encourage you to look at details and this focuses your mind on staying lucid.


inducing hypnagogic experiences (hack + exercise)

Hypnagogic experiences can be induced in a number of ways, from sensorimotor tricks such as holding up one of your arms as you go to sleep, to using tech to induce alpha or theta states which are subjectively similar to sleep onset.

More complex methods include forms of sensory deprivation or enhancement, the use of techniques like meditation to "hover on the edge of sleep" thereby extending the duration of the hypnagogic state, self-suggestion, and training yourself in the art of introspection to heighten observation and attention while relaxing front networks.

Most of these are also hypnosis techniques, so read on...


Hypnosis is one of those methods that is both a hack and an exercise! Self-hypnosis incorporates some of the features of guided imagery and visualizations, with the added benefit of enabling you to communicate directly with your unconscious mind to enhance your abilities, more easily give up bad habits, feel less pain, more effectively develop healthier habits, and even find answers to questions that may not be clear to your conscious mind! It takes some practice and training, but is well worth it.

Self-hypnosis is way more effective than getting someone else to do it -simply because with a stranger involved, the unconscious feels more stressed and often suspects coercion. This is why many people can't 'be hypnotized' by others, and we recommend self-hypnosis as being a lot easier for this reason.


Before doing anything it's always useful to know what it is, so let's shift our concept of hypnosis associations away from 'you are feeling sleepy' and stage magicians and pendulums and old horror movies. Hypnosis is simply the focused, relaxed use of imagination-based abilities. It is the beginning of 'self-programing' for many and as such their gateway to self awareness and self control.

Hypnosis is one of the most effective methods for inducing interaction between unconscious and conscious awareness, because it induces the brain chemistry that correlates with the first stage of learning.

If we couldn't 'go into hypnosis', we wouldn't be able to learn, to sleep, or to get ourselves anxious by doing 'negative self hypnosis'. (You know when you imagine things going wrong and it makes you feel anxious? Well that's hypnosis!) When you are 'hypnotized', you are just really relaxed and focused; you have achieved the relaxation response chemistry, and added CNS ACh.

That's the state of 'concentration' in learning; the perfect chemistry to begin learning, as we are fearless, comfortable and receptive. It is important to learn that hypnosis isn't like being asleep - we can be aware of everything around us, just like when we meditate (in fact the two states are nearly identical). In hypnosis, we simply have a stronger focus on input, plus wonderful deep relaxation.

We never try to 'tell ourselves what to do' in hypnosis. As in any other context, coercion slows us down and gets in the way. We need the unconscious to work with our conscious minds because it wants to, because it feels safe and it knows from experience that's the most beneficial thing it can do. And its fun. Exercises in self hypnosis give it that experience.


The intelligence factors we are using in self hypnosis are attention, orientation, association and imagination, plus our ability to initiate the relaxation response. When we go into hypnosis, we simply get very involved with an inner reality, and we create this involvement, this focus, by drawing attention to detail in an interesting way. This is not just about creative imagination or data-mining our memory, it's about controlling our attention - learning how to get it focused on one or several things.


We use various tools in hypnosis that make it easier for interaction and communication between conscious and unconscious awareness. The most helpful ones to learn to use first are hypnotic 'scripting' (HS) and the six 'hypnotic language/thought patterns' that are useful in programming:


Universal Nominalizations (UN)

Embedded 'commands' (EC)

Metaphor and analogy formats (M/A)

Illusory choice algorithms (ICA)

Presupposition algorithms (PA)

Adjunctive suggestions (AS)



Universal Nominalizations (UN)

UNs are words whose specific meaning is personally interpretable (unlike words such as 'head', 'mathematics', or 'tree' that have specific formal scientific definitions). Using UNs in hypnotic scripts tends to grab unconscious attention and to focus us inwardly.

UNs are words that tend to evoke emotion and imagination, and can be used against us by unscrupulous people (and are every day in the advertising industry, by professional interrogation teams, and by all political and religious leaders.) You'll start to notice how others fall unconsciously into using them if they get confused (or are trying to confuse you), but like many other tools they can be used for our benefit in healthy ways.

Sentiment-related words like 'worry', 'guilt' and 'shame' are UNs too, and unfortunately they tend to encourage inner searches just as efficiently laced with anxiety. That's why we avoid sentiment terms in hypnosis. Instead of saying, "I felt worried" we replace it with something like "I felt less confident". Instead of saying "I felt angry" we say "I felt less amity" or "I felt less empathy". It is important to use positive nominalisations during hypnosis, rather than 'the absence of negatives'. For example, "A pleasant memory came to mind" rather than "No nasty memories came to mind".


Of all hypnotic language/thought patterns, UNs are one of the most important to learn about.


The first stage in self-hypnosis is the relaxation stage and if you can't achieve the relaxation response you won't achieve self-hypnosis (and you shouldn't be doing intermediate tutorials).

Those who have got this far will already have their own favorite methods for inducing the RR, so we begin with that.

The next time you deliberately initiate the relaxation response, focus on the experience and sensation of gently directing your mind to create a restful state of internal calm. This is the same method you will use for self-hypnosis, so that's where we start.

When we are in a state of relaxation, we induce an hypnotic state by drawing attention to details of an experienced event. The idea is to 'create a VR scene' in our mind.

We use UNs in hypnotic scripting to develop the most important hypnotic ability -the ability to recreate concept-sets consciously within the mind.


Try this exercise: (you will need somewhere comfortable to sit or lie and some way of writing things down.)

Invoke a pleasant memory of an experience you have already had; something relaxing such as a holiday, a cool place you have really been to, or something you have enjoyed doing. Instead of just recalling this as 'walking in the forest' or 'sitting by the lake', break the experience down into the separate components of experience and write down what you remember seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling (tactile sensation) and mood (emotion) in the event you are describing, incorporating the experience into a dialogue (like a story) and associating as many UNs as you can with your experience, from those in the list below:


Universal Nominalizations (UNs)

Peace Calm Relax Tranquility Easy Nice Pleasant Peaceful Relaxation Strength Lovely Special Wonderful Deep Amazing Comfortable Warm Cool Drift Float Dream Fantastic Enjoyment Sleepy Gentle


To help you, here's another student's example:

"We went to a lovely forest on Jersey Island, there was a deep, deep ravine with a fantastic view all the way down and a wonderful slim bridge across the gap. I stood on the bridge in the pleasant semi-shade and felt an amazing special calm and tranquility. I could see lovely shades of green with flashes of color, in trees and plants everywhere around. There was almost silence, behind me the gentle drift of dream-like voices, ahead the peaceful sounds of nature, leaves drifting and floating by on either side in the warm breeze, comfortable on my skin, smelling wonderfully of pine resin and flowers. The lovely taste of strawberries was still in my mouth as we'd eaten some. I felt relaxation and strength, all at the same time."


...we count 23 UNs in this example.


Words, even silently in our minds, can evoke an experience. When you're building up an hypnotic experience, you're looking to use all the components of experience. Read back your story, imagining yourself in the same situation now, then 'zoom in' on one detail and think of more associated details. For example, in the story above, what position is the body in, what sort of other things are there to be seen? What is the texture of the ground beneath or objects in the hands? What sort of clothing is being worn? What is overhead? What other colors make up the landscape? What other sounds form an ambient backdrop? Analyse the details of what makes up a particular taste or texture or sound.


Now write this second part down, incorporating it into the dialogue and using UNs as before.

This is a basic hypnotic script. The next stage is to either record your script and play it back to yourself, or ask an assistant to read it to you in a calm, peaceful voice, immediately after you have achieved the relaxation response. As you listen, you will drift away from the immediate environment and start to focus on the scene in your imagination. Look at each detail and notice how memory 'goes searching' for associations. Noticing the details in surroundings and in our own body deepens relaxation, and UNs interspersed in the contents tend to increase this capacity for this inner search.

If you do this exercise regularly, you will achieve an hypnotic state.


Embedded 'commands' (EC)

Rather than be too direct when doing hypnosis, this hypnotic language/thought pattern allows us to be more subtle in imparting interactive instructions. If we want the unconscious to listen carefully, for example, we could say: "Listen carefully", or we could say "When we listen carefully, we tend to remember much more."


By saying this, we have not only given the instruction, 'listen carefully’, but also put it within a context that gives the unconscious mind a compelling reason to do so.

When read aloud, the embedded command ('listen carefully') should be emphasized or spoken slightly differently to the rest of the sentence to 'mark it out' so that the unconscious mind is more likely to pick it out.


Here is an example of an hypnotic script containing embedded commands:

UPPER CASE = Universal Nominalization

Underlined = Embedded Suggestion


"You can go into hypnosis with eyes open or eyes closed, but it may well be more COMFORTABLE just to take a moment to close your eyes right now.

And the interesting thing is that when you begin to relax deeply, the flow of blood in the body is altered. When a person becomes tense, blood tends to leave the stomach and go into the major muscle areas and people can develop digestive problems but when you RELAX, quite often parts of the body feel warmer. The hands can feel warmer sometimes and blood flows into the hands and the stomach often begins to function in a very NICE, EVEN way as you begin to RELAX.

Now what you can do, is just to take a few seconds now to imagine the sort of place where you could be at this time on listening to this where you’d be BEAUTIFULLY, NICELY, PEACEFUL and RELAXED. The sort of place that can give you the space in your mind, to really learn and discover the new ways of doing and being in your life."


IMPORTANT!: When you record hypnotic scripts, do not listen to them when your conscious attention is employed (for example using machinery or driving).



Illusory Choice Algorithms

When we use self hypnosis, we want to restrict the attention to one particular area of experience. We don't want our attention wandering off all over the place. A neat way of doing this is to give the illusion of a set of choices in our hypnotic language. This holds attention as the unconscious believes it is considering and making choices.

An example would be "You can go just as relaxed, calm or peaceful as you wish". You get the feeling that you have a choice, but all those choices are pleasant.


Adjunctive Suggestions

To make a suggestion more likely to be accepted, you can tag it onto the end of a 'truism', or something that is undoubtedly true. Examples below; suggestions are in upper case:

"You can sit in that chair and BEGIN TO RELAX." "You can listen to my voice and NOTICE HOW MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE YOU ARE BEGINNING TO FEEL." "You can wake up tomorrow and just BE AWARE OF A GENTLE SENSE OF CONFIDENCE."


Presupposition Algorithms

To achieve a change in a number of steps, for example a deeper and deeper relaxed state, we can use a set of presuppositions. For example if we want to relax more, we could say "Try to relax a little more", or we could say "As you relax a little more, notice how your hands feel". We are presupposing that we are going to relax ‐it simply isn't in question.

Of all hypnotic language patterns, presuppositions are probably the most important for ensuring we get the response we need, because the unconscious tends to do what it believes is expected of it. A series of presuppositions can get you there faster than most other methods. It's easy to succeed when failure is not an option.


Analogy, Metaphor and Stories

The unconscious mind works more with underlying patterns than details and so this sort of language can be very useful in communicating ideas to the unconscious mind.

For example, if I want to convey an idea about running smoothly and powerfully to an athlete, I could say "Imagine what it would be like to be running smoothly and powerfully". Alternatively, I could use metaphor and say, "Imagine what it would be like to be a cheetah chasing its prey, the way ahead clear, your muscles working in perfect harmony."

This is a simple example, but metaphor can be used in many ways, including full stories that can serve to 'lay down patterns' for the unconscious to follow later.

Learning about hypnotic language patterns can add grace, subtlety and effectiveness to our communication.



self hypnosis practice

The Staircase Induction

During the last three tutorials we have learned the basics about hypnotic language patterns, have read hypnotic scripts and have grasped how they are used to create a hypnotic experience. We are now going to start using them to creatively compose our own trance scripts using a 'structured' induction - that is, a 'scene' for the script.

The 'Staircase Induction' helps with unconscious-conscious bonding. Extremely simple, but within its structure the only restrictions are the limits of your own imagination. The scene goes like this:


1) You imagine a staircase (you cannot at first see what is at the bottom)

2) You start walking down the staircase

3) As you walk down, the bottom becomes visible and you can see that it leads to a beautiful and relaxing place

4) You enter that relaxing place and enjoy being there

5) When you're done, you come back up the stairs


We can construct an hypnotic script for this scenario using our hypnotic language patterns. If necessary revise past tutorials to see how you could incorporate each:

(T9) Universal Nominalizations (UN), Embedded 'commands' (EC)

(T1O) Illusory choice algorithms (ICA), Adjunctive suggestions (AS)

(T11) Metaphor and analogy formats (M/A), Presupposition algorithms (PA)


Here is an example of the first part of such a script created from editing our example in tutorial 11:

KEY: Underlined = embedded suggestion

BOLD CAPITALS = Illusory choice

Bold = presupposition

BIG CAPITALS = nominalization

Italic = Dependent suggestion


You can go down the stairs at whatever speed you like, but it may well be more COMFORTABLE to take it easy, one step at a time right now. And the interesting thing is that as you walk down you begin to relax deeply.

You step down in a very QUIET, EVEN way as you begin to RELAX.

Now after a few steps, the bottom of the stairs become visible so just pause on the steps to see that at the bottom is a BEAUTIFUL, WELCOMING, SAFE, PEACEFUL and RELAXING place. The sort of place that can give you the space in your mind, to really learn and discover the new ways of doing and being in your life.

Now in a few moments you will be at the bottom of the stairs and you can just allow the process of stepping down to take you more and more into that place, noticing the things you can see and hear, taste or smell and just being aware of once being in that SPECIAL RELAXING


And now you can imagine yourself walking down to that place WALKING OR JUST DRIFTING THROUGH to that place, that’s it. RELAXING deeper ...and you know the more you experience GOOD INPUT in your everyday life, the more clearly the mind can work in certain ways.

And you know when you go into hypnosis, the mind wanders inward the same way that it does when you go down these stairs and you become open to creativity


...You should know enough to compose the rest yourself. Try out several versions and see which works best.


self hypnosis practice: 3 vital hypnosis techniques

1: Rehearsal

Put simply, this is just a way of using the imagination constructively. It is a fundamental technique in hypnosis. As we know, imagination is an unbelievably powerful tool that can be used by others to coerce us, or that we can control and learn to use for our own benefit.

If we constantly imagine things going wrong, we are constantly going to feel anxious. If we are able to imagine things going right, and in a detailed, relaxed way, we are likely to feel more optimistic and calm. Plus (and it's a big plus) we are much more likely to get the responses we want from ourselves in the situation we have rehearsed. Learning to use rehearsal well allows us to prepare ourselves to perform the way we want, be it in relationships, in learning, for sports, performances; anything.


The 2 stages of rehearsal

There are two stages to good rehearsal: Stage 1: Dissociated: this simply means to see ourselves in an experience as if we were watching ourselves on a screen. We feel less (if any) emotion when viewing an experience in this way. Stage 2: Associated:this means to imagine an experience as if it were happening now; seeing the world through our own eyes. We feel more emotion when imagining an experience in this way.


The best way to go about rehearsal is firstly to imagine ourselves on a screen looking and sounding the way we want to be in the situation we are rehearsing. Then, once we have got a good idea of how that would look, 'float' into the screen and experience it from within ourselves. Once in this position, we should really focus on how we want to feel; what we would see, hear, feel and touch in the situation (behave as though).


2: Association anchoring

Amplifying resources. Sometimes just called 'anchoring', this technique focuses on the area of our life where we feel good, or can do something well, and 'transfers' it into another area where we feel less capable. This technique is unbeatable for helping with public speaking, confrontational situations, cultural anxiety and many other scenarios people have difficulty with.

How does it work? 'Anchoring' works due to our programming ourselves with an association-sensation link. It works the same way as conditioning except that here, we are doing the programming and making a deliberate association for our own benefit. Used well, this is perhaps the most effective and important technique for self hypnosis.

How to do 'Association anchoring' in Self Hypnosis: we set up an association between a stimulus (anchor) and a positive state. The stimulus we use is touching the first finger and thumb together on the same hand.

First, we create deep relaxation and a positive state by using nominalisations. Some people like to use drugs, music, alcohol or physical exercise to help achieve the initial relaxed but happy, carefree, and playful state. Often a good memory will come to mind in this state. Next we bring our finger and thumb together to create an association between this physical 'anchor' and the positive emotional state.

We repeat application of the anchor until we observe that we feel good when the anchor is applied.

Next we imagine a situation where those resources would be useful. Bring the finger and thumb together. Notice the differences as you experience the situation whilst feeling really good.

We can now use this association anchor in real life.


3: Pattern Interruption

Breaking habit patterns. Although it may not seem like self hypnosis at first, this technique is highly hypnotic. It is good for getting rid of bad habit patterns and addictions.

How does it work? Pattern interruption works by 'breaking the flow' of a habit, interrupting the unconscious process by making it conscious.

If we are driving a car or riding a bike or playing a well-known tune, and someone asks us to describe what we are doing, it can quickly become difficult to continue, much like it was when we first learnt. This is because we are suddenly making a smooth‐running unconscious process more conscious. Using this sort of interruption during harmful habitual processes works just as well.

Here’s how to do it: To disrupt an old sequential pattern of problem behaviour, first imagine you have to describe the steps of your habit to an alien. Work out the steps of the habit from start to finish. You will find that there is a common 'beginning' step, even if further steps vary.

Student's example:

Bad habit is immature behavior. Stages: 1 Sensation of threat or anxiety 2 Look around for a nearby material object 3 Hit, smash, kick or throw object 4 Feel unfulfilled and angry with self 5 Repeat step 3 again 6 Feel embarrassed 7 Leave room 8 Feel guilty 9 Pick up damaged things 10 Pretend it never happened.

Remembering past tutorials, you will recall that we cannot just 'give up' habits but must replace them if change is to be permanent, so there will be a healthy, desirable behaviour you would like to 'substitute' for the unwanted habit; write that down too.

Next, go through the steps in order. Close your eyes to imagine each step happening on its own, then open them again before going onto the next step.

Now do the same thing with your 'good habit' or replacement activity.

Student's example:

Replacement habit is mature behaviour. Stages: 1 Be aware of anxiety at onset 2 If necessary tell others not feeling too good 3 Take immediate long, slow breaths 4 sit down 5 remain still 6 use association anchoring or other techniques to reduce anxiety 7 get myself a drink of herb tea or cocoa, failing that, water 8 Relax and enjoy sense of achievement at having beaten this stupid habit.

Then begin to go through the steps of the bad habit again, but this time, imagine moving from step 1 of the bad habit straight into step 1 of your replacement behavior. Rehearse this sequence in your imagination.

Student's example:

Stages: 1 Sensation of threat or anxiety 2 Be aware of anxiety at onset 3 If necessary tell others not feeling too good 4 Take immediate long, slow breaths 5 sit down 6 remain still 7 use association anchoring or other techniques to reduce anxiety 8 get myself a drink of herb tea or cocoa, failing that, water 9 Relax and enjoy sense of achievement at having beaten this stupid habit.



Self Hypnosis: Tips:

As we mentioned in previous tutorials, the unconscious responds to the term 'you' much better than the term 'I'. For this reason we use "you" instead of "I" when hypnotising ourselves or doing self suggestion.


Don't be tempted to miss bits out when running sessions; we may think we should 'keep it simple' and don't need all the formal language; but it is there for the unconscious; not for our conscious awareness. Programs have to respond to programs. Some people find self hypnosis easier if they pretend they are hypnotizing someone else.


A good way to learn hypnosis quickly is to record your intended sessions in advance and then listen to them later (if you can leave a day or so between recording and listening

that's even better).



Self Hypnosis: how to structure a freeflow induction

If you've been practicing you should now have tried a few versions of the Staircase Induction from Tutorial 12. A freeflow induction is one in which we create the context ourselves, without using a preset. Here's how to structure a freeflow induction:


1) Sit in a comfortable chair or lie down in a warm comfortable place where you will not be interrupted. Our hypnosis technique should match the way we feel, so start by observing the way you feel. If you are feeling a bit 'hyper', then start your induction off briskly; talking quite quickly and in an 'everyday' voice'. This parallels your emotional state and makes it easier for your unconscious mind to get involved. If you're already laid back, just speak in an ordinary relaxed voice. Do not put on an artificial voice; contrary to popular belief we do not have to sound like Christopher Lee or Darth Vader to do hypnosis and your own voice will do just fine.

2) Talk about things that are immediately observable to start with - "You are sitting in that chair", "You can listen to my voice", "You are still nice and awake" - remember adjunctive suggestions? (see Tutorials 9, 10, 12).

3) As you feel yourself beginning to focus, just start to slow your voice down slightly, and soften it a little.

4) Begin introducing nominalizations (see Tutorials 9, 12) for the sort of response you want; for example relaxation, calmness, focus, confidence. Start making suggestions for responses.

5) Start to use imaginative involvement – imagine an appropriate context (see notes below) and talk about things you imagine you can see, hear, smell, touch and feel in this context. As you begin to relax more, your imagination will respond better.

6) Once you have attained a good level of relaxation, you can do any rehearsal you want to do - you can rehearse how you want to feel in a particular situation.

7) When you decide you want to bring the session to a close, draw the attention away from internal imagination back to things in the immediate environment, such as sensations in the body, sounds in the room. This will begin the reorientation process.

As you do this, very gradually make your voice normal volume. This will serve as another message to the unconscious we are returning to the normal waking state.


Note on appropriate contexts: the more archetypal we make it, the better it works. Therefore concepts representing accessing the unconscious may be used (such as descending, moving downwards, passing down steps/across rivers/into valleys/caves/underground tunnels etc) -and use the same imagery in reverse when returning. For inducing change, images such as passing through doors, gates or entrances works well. Do not include archetypal characters or talking animals etc in this type of induction.


keywords for self programming

There are six important words for self programming and they are:

you because free now new why

These can be extremely powerful in self-suggestion or self hypnosis.

'you': is the name our unconscious responds to and takes it personally. It may seem odd at first to say to yourself, 'You are going down the stairs' instead of 'I am going down the stairs', but honestly the former is much more effective.

'because': Creating a causal relationship is incredibly persuasive in self suggestion.

'free': The unconscious values freedom very highly.

'now': Jolts our unconscious into the present.

'new': Novelty engages our attention.

'why': 'Why?' is the most powerful question for tracing back issues to their origins (see 'why chain analysis'; Tutorial 13.)


Practice including these terms in your hypnotic scripts.



Hypnotic scripting -self programming to improve confidence in decisions & plans

Begin with a staircase induction, and select a friendly archetype to meet when you reach the bottom. Write the following into your script as spoken advice from this entity (you will need to record your script, including this part, ahead of time or get an assistant to read it out):

“It's important for you to see how confidence is relative; how you are confident that you can do some things perfectly easily like lift up a cup without spilling the water. But the only reason it's so easy, is practice.

The truth is, the key to realistic self confidence is more a case of taking things away than adding things in. You don't need to think about what you are confident about. You just need to relax, and let your mind free of anxiety to think clearly.

You may not think of yourself as a self-confident person because you haven't been that way in the past. But relaxing into self-confidence is more about reclaiming of how you would have been and letting go of anxious self-doubt, letting go of self-criticism, and letting go of fear of mistakes. Self-confidence is your natural state, and you can let go of any conditioned anxiety about what others 'might think of you' and realize that change is a challenge, but not the 'end of the world'.

We learn habits of doubting ourselves, but where it matters in life I want you to relax and let go of old habits and start trusting in your own intelligence.”

(conclude your script by returning up the stairs)

Self Programming hack

Directed Association is a powerful tool when used in self programming for direct synaptic modification. Synaptic modification is the process by which the nervous system strengthens certain neural pathways and weakens others, resulting in altered electrochemical and electromechanical patterns of activation. Association Nodes (ANs; sometimes known as 'anchors') may be deliberately engineered to take advantage of synaptic plasticity. This can be useful when changing harmful habits into beneficial ones.

How it works: A pattern of electrochemical and electromechanical activation encodes the simultaneous (parallel) activity of all five senses as if it were one piece of information (due to the formation of connecting trajectories). At the same time, the brain is propagating information from the internal environment, encoding the body’s entire physiological response to the outside event in the same activation pattern. Anything that reactivates this unique pattern of activation (reliably replicates the pattern) also activates the physiological response directed by the brain that was encoded with that pattern.[135] The resulting pattern of activation is called an 'attractor'. The more effective the synapses become through modification, the deeper and more stable the attractor. Each sensory systems encoding of this simultaneous event is connected by trajectories to form a 'node of attraction'. That's a programming node.

Any of the attractors connected to the node may be capable of causing the entire pattern to be replicated, since each of them can act as the initial conditions necessary to specify the phase path of the state vector. This is how memories call up other related memories.

You will need: something tasty that you like to eat, something you think smells nice (these are your association 'triggers'), plus your chosen method of reaching the 'desired state'. The 'desired state' is the state of mind you wish to be able to access on demand or repeat; so for example you could choose a self programming goal of 'rapid relaxation', or 'rapid focus', or even such things as 'higher immunity' if you time it right.

How to set up a programming node:

First you need some method to get yourself into the state of mind that is your 'desired state.' If you use drugs or tech to achieve this in the first instance, bear in mind you may not need them to do so again after you have successfully installed a programming node. Alternatively you can have your stuff prepared (for example, a bar of chocolate and a bottle of perfume) and take advantage of the moment whenever you coincidentally find yourself in a beneficial state of mind that you'd like to program to repeat.

You will need different association triggers for each mental state; do not use the same ones!

When you are in the chosen state, eat the pleasant food and sniff the pleasant smell while you enjoy the feeling.

In future, exposure to those specific paired inputs will modulate your neurochemistry to move you closer to the 'desired state'. Sometimes it takes two or three sessions to program in the associations, but rarely does it take more. Unusual or new pleasant stimuli have the strongest effect.

Magnetic, audio or visual stimuli may also be used with association triggers to achieve a given state. A good example is a person who is suffering with the adverse effects of blood pressure medication and is interested in learning to influence their blood pressure on their own.[136] To accomplish this, they need two tools: an indicator to test blood pressure and an association trigger to influence their state. Since the brainwave states of Alpha, Theta, and Delta are strongly associated with lower blood pressure, they can use any tool that acts as a control parameter to lead the neurocognitive system through these states. There are many auditory-or visual-based tools that can be used for this purpose, including mind machines that provide brainwave frequency outputs of Alpha etc., which our brains will happily model; and a corresponding decrease in blood pressure will follow in many cases almost immediately.

If olfactory and gustatory triggers are input at the same time, these will interact to produce an association node. In future, exposure to the association triggers alone should prime them to move into Alpha and reduce blood pressure without needing the tech or the blood pressure drugs.



Self programming: Bias hack - Unlearning implicit biases or false beliefs during sleep

This hack builds on our rapidly developing understanding of the way recent memories become ingrained in our mind during sleep.

The consolidation process takes an unstable new memory and makes it stronger and more resistant to forgetting, changing its nature in the process. Previously we explored odor cues in assisting memory consolidation for learning. The idea here is that sound cues can also reactivate the memories of recent events and facilitate their consolidation. In effect, using sound and/or odor association in sleep is a way of picking out particular memories and asking the brain to give them special treatment during consolidation.[155]

You will need:

1 Good self knowledge -it's impossible to overwrite false beliefs or prejudices unless we know what they are! At this stage in NH, it shouldn't be too hard for you to determine if you have any.

2 A chosen song, preferably without lyrics, not more that 5 minutes long.

3 Your own personal anti-bias program. (We'll explain how to construct this in a moment)

4 A device that will repeatedly play back your chosen song, even when you are sleeping.


How to do it:

We write our personal anti-bias program as follows: we find an example that shows up the bias, and reverse the results using pictures and associated text. Here's a student's example:

Alice found she repeatedly thought of mathematicians as more likely to be men than women, so she collected a selections of pictures of women, labeling each one 'mathematician' (with text on the actual picture), which she viewed as a slide show while playing her chosen song, twice a day. When Alice went to sleep at night she left her music player on 'repeat', playing only that song.

During the times Alice was in deep sleep, the song assisted in prioritizing those associations in Alice's memory, and now she thinks of mathematics as a gender-independent field. (This has by incidental association increased her interest in maths.)

Of course, biases developed over many years are not going to be eliminated overnight using a short intervention and then giving the natural consolidation process a helping hand. Practice, as always, is important. Maybe Alice did this for days, weeks or even months, depending on the strength of her initial bias, but the good news is, the healthier our brain becomes and the more it is allowed to develop, the fewer such problems or issues we encounter. At this stage in NH, we should not have so many biases or false beliefs to deal with.

It is important to use graphics rather than just text, as N3 processes in that format to begin with. If you use odor association as well as the chosen sounds, the effect will be stronger.

Furthermore, unlearning implicit bias is a lot like breaking other bad habits. The method also has potential to combat habits such as anxiety, sentiment, addictions, phobias or unhealthy behaviors.

Remember when constructing your program, we cannot just take away a wrong idea; we have to replace it with the right idea.

hypnosis hack - Using priming manipulations to overcome judgmental or decisive bias

If you know yourself, you can override current automatic framing habits or decision biases by construct a priming manipulation, which adjusts the weighting so that unconscious and conscious influence in decision making is balanced.

Words can prime neurotransmission response (if anyone doubts this, try reading some pornography aloud. Dopamine receptors firing away nicely, hmm?)

The useful application with regard to decision making is this: if we are primed with terms that tend to increase norepinephrine and/or serotonin, we will more easily take a more practical, objective view/decision, and if we are primed with terms that tend to increase dopamine and/or acetylcholine, we will more easily take a more humanistic, subjective decision.

So for example if you know that you have difficulty making personal relationship-related or emotional decisions, it would be helpful to prime yourself for a more objective view, thus canceling out any bias. If on the other hand you have difficulty with administrative strategies, time management or organizational plans, priming yourself for a more humanistic approach could benefit you. If you practice this regularly the bias will fade due to plasticity as the brain gets used to including the new (primed) pathway; thus accelerating healthy development.

How to do it:

Write a simple script in which you enter a place at ground level and are given a choice of whether to go upstairs or downstairs. If you need to be more objective, go upstairs and emerge onto a balcony/tower/aeroplane/spaceship or anywhere light and airy with a long range, panoramic view of the surrounding area. If you need to be more subjective, go downstairs and emerge into a cavern/subterranean room/deep forest glade/the shores of an underground river or anywhere dark, warm and comfortable. In either case, rest there for a while and consider your problem or issue.

If you are upstairs, you wished to be more objective, so prime your script with behavioral words & phrases relating to networks 1 and 5 (for examples; ascending, self, climbing, attention, autonomy, resources, energy, material, intellectual, ergonomic, analysis, reasoning, consequences, generosity, feedback, benevolence, innovation, facts.)

If you are downstairs, you wished to be more subjective, so prime your script with behavioral terms relating to networks 2 and 4 (for examples; descending, stepping down, exploring, nurturing, synthesizing, kindness, desire, understanding, exploring, focus, tenacity, culture, gentleness, cooperation, creativity, being in the right place at the right time, synthesis.)

In both cases, if you want to interact with other beings in your script, use any archetype appropriate to those networks, and use some of the networks' keywords to describe them or their behavior. Examples:


'You meet the faithful servant, who looks at you with kindness'.

'You meet the king, who is busy analyzing his resources but is happy to help out'.


'You meet the young seeker, exploring the territory. S/he has a gentle smile'.

'You meet the old wizard, who kindly gives you a gentle hug.'

If you use archtypes in your script, end the story with you sitting alone somewhere nice to consider things, then when you feel you are ready you can go back up/down stairs and return to normal consciousness.


DO NOT deliberately attempt to prime yourself for oxytocin or endorphins at this stage; as without advanced control of frontal networks this can lead to incongruity and some wildly inaccurate decisions. The same hazards occur if taking decisions when drunk, or on MDMA, or morphine derivatives.

DO NOT write 'go to sleep' or 'sleep on it' into an hypnotic script at this stage, as messing with levels of awareness during self suggestion without sufficient control can kick off automatic memory consolidation, and consequently include unintended dream imagery as input content. This may not sound so bad, but it can cause inapproproately-associated concept formation or 'self inception' (accidentally priming yourself to believe something happened in real life which didn't, via misinterpreting input sources during access of unconscious associations). This in turn can cause biased judgment & decisions, choices or behavior that you would not ordinarily make or do, miscalculated as 'appropriate' from inaccurately weighted input).



Incongruity hack

Hypnotic script for congruity - integration of conscious awareness and unconscious knowledge

Note: (comments in brackets are user notes and not to be read aloud as part of the script)

(You will need:

1 Half an hour somewhere comfortable, warm and dark, with no interruptions or distractions.

2 A pre-recorded hypnotic script which we will give you the basics for below. You can add the details yourself. The script will resemble a story. If you choose to use an assistant to read the script for you, make sure it is someone you feel absolutely safe with and whom you can trust.

You may also choose to use enhancing tools such as pre-meditation, archetypal preparatory behaviors (baths, going through doors, etc), drugs or tech. Do not use ambient music during this induction; it is best done in silence and darkness.

In part three of this induction you may choose to play any of the following roles:Guide/ Shaman/ Wizard/ Time lord/Super-intelligent friendly Alien/ Superhero. If you can't decide, choose the one most relevant to your 'highest scoring' network in your FA.


Read through all three parts of the script before you start, as you will want to adjust details to suit your chosen archetype (for example, if you are playing Shaman, you will want to write in a spirit journey rather than a time machine, and you will be going through tunnels rather than wormholes. Be creative, but keep it simple; leave the descriptive details to be filled in by imagination during the experience)).


Hypnotic script

Part one

We are going to go on a journey in a time machine. Before we go, we have to set the coordinates at both ends, so for now you can close your eyes and enter a state of relaxation and body-mindfulness...

...because when you pay attention to and focus on your body, your sense of proprioception is enhanced. You can feel the position of all your limbs and the textures around them, you can relax and feel your muscles lose tension, like sinking into a soft cloud...

...pay attention to your context in this memory; what can you feel? Hear? Smell? Experience yourself in this context and make a picture of it in your mind, because remember, this is where you will be coming back to. This is the context you must bear in mind whenever you want to come back. This is your 'No place like home' moment. When you have a clear picture of how this moment feels, you need to link it with a code coordinate, so say aloud, 'One - two – three', and return to the here and now and stretch your arms and legs...

(You can go straight into part two if you feel ready.)


Part two

We have set our coordinates for 'home', so now you can relax, close your eyes and consider your outbound coordinates...

... Search for a memory of yourself in childhood or youth; can you think of a time, possibly when things weren't going so well, when you felt you were being held back, when lots of things were getting in your way, there were lots of problems; did you ever wish or wonder whether there was any kind of 'higher power' that you could access to help you? Most of us consider the possibility at some time in our youth, and wonder whether it's true – is magic real? Are Wizards real? Are there really supersmart aliens? What about gods? A real Batman, or even some vague benevolent power in the universe somewhere, somehow, that would help us if we only knew how to contact it?...

...Did you ever feel a strong conviction that you were meant to do something more exciting and fulfilling that the boring situation you were in? That you were meant to BE something more? That there was 'something more' to life than the contemporary, over-hyped boring story.

These thoughts are the result of creative imagination blossoming, and they were some of the first signs of your intelligence exploring possibilities in response to need... developing problem solving skills... and giving foundation to further development...

...Find a memory of a time – preferably the earliest time – when you thought these kind of thoughts...

...Can you remember where you were when you were thinking them? Find an example where you can remember the context, and remember what it felt like to be in that context. What were the surroundings like? How was your mood at the time? Can you remember details of the surroundings? …

When you get a clear memory in your mind, make it as detailed as possible...

The coordinate code for this location in memory will be the opposite of your 'home code', so say aloud 'Three two one' to tag this location and store it in RAM; ready and primed for recall...

...Now, slowly return to the here and now and stretch your arms and legs.

(You can go straight into part three if you feel ready.)


Part three

Relax and close you eyes. Now you are ready to journey through time. Compose your mind into the persona of the archetype that you have chosen to use. Feel as they would feel. Appreciate and enjoy the feeling of power this archetype is familiar with, and be aware of the responsibility it brings to share. In this persona, feel what it's like to be kind, considerate, understanding, loving, happy, at peace, strong, nurturing and gentle...

As this persona, recall the location of the child – but do not go there yet. Simply 'peep into the memory' as an observer. Observe the child in that context as though from a distance, like watching through a tunnel in space, back to the point where that happened; a wormhole between here ad then. As your current persona, you can empathize with the young person who, so inexperienced compared with the adult, was still somehow aware that there was 'something more' to life than the contemporary, over-hyped, boring story of mundanity...

...Look down at the youth and now appreciate that you are in a privileged position of being able to 'go back and rescue yourself'; to bring the younger, hopeful you into the current reality you now inhabit...

...you are in a position where you can answer that question from long ago...

...Say aloud your outbound coordinates: 'Three two one' and feel yourself shift into the memory. Imagine the youngster responds with wonder and fearless delight to your archetype appearing to answer their question, and say aloud, 'Never be afraid. There IS more and you ARE more; in my time you have already journeyed the gap between us, so I'm here to take you out of all this.'...

(you can write your own phrases to fit your own archetype, but 'let's go kick ass' or 'this time we stick together' works quite well for general purposes.)

...Hold hands with the youngster, and with a light hearted happiness, say aloud your return coordinates; 'One two three' and zoom back up the tunnel...

...Slowly become more aware of your current surroundings, and stretch your limbs. As you come back to ordinary awareness, consider that you can use this induction to go back to any time in the past and literally 'comfort yourself' and bring that person (those memories) up to date with current perspectives, knowledge and awareness...


(Post-hypnotic exercise: Over the next few days, use mindfulness to reinforce the idea that you now have the younger you 'with you' and will work as a team from now on. You will re-access the open-mindedness, imagination and motivation of youth and they will access the benefits of experience, creativity and rational thinking. As you work together, you'll slowly become aware that you are one congruous entity, stepping forward into the future.

Practices like this improve the connections between rear nets and frontal ones, because we have to USE those networks in coordination in order to do the induction, and cells that fire together wire together, which upgrades connections via plasticity. Nothing builds connections like regular use.)


Helpful trick for enhancing self suggestion:

Some have found adopting the following posture augments meditation, mindfulness and self suggestion: Sitting down, keep your eyes half open and focused towards the floor.

hacks to help you build up strong congruity in association & imagination

“Hippo-compass” Hack/game to improve inner model congruity AND spatial navigation skills

Great fun at parties -especially office parties!

Sitting version (requires swivel chair)

Playing Alone: First make sure you know how the main compass directions (NSEW) roughly apply to the room or place you are in. Assign each wall or corner its direction (depending on orientation, you may have a 'North wall' or a 'North corner'). If you keep forgetting which is which, label them with big paper signs. If you feel compelled to play at work, remember if anyone sees this they will think you have lost it bigtime.

Next, make sure the room is evenly lit (spot lights or bright windows will give the game away) or dark. Sit in your swivel chair, close your eyes and keeping them closed, swivel around in one direction, either by pushing yourself round with your feet or stepping repeatedly in one direction. Continue for about ten seconds, then stop, and keeping your eyes closed guess which direction you are facing. Then open your eyes and make a note of your guess and the reality and how far out you were.

In pairs, groups or teams: You twirl one another. Whoever guesses the closest to the real direction wins (and can nominate a player of their choice to down their drink in one, if you're into that kind of thing and have plastic on the floor.)

Bear in mind when you first get out of the chair your balance may be affected by centrifugal effects on the vestibular system and/or alcohol.

Standing version (requires assistant)

Your assistant twirls you round and round while you keep your eyes closed, then proceed as above.

Traveling version: On sunny days it is easy to tell where South is, otherwise you may need a compass. Close your eyes when you're a passenger on public transport. Allow the vehicle to take several turns and try to keep track of which direction the vehicle is traveling. Check and make a note of how far out you were.

This game directly stimulates head direction cells in the hippo. With enough practice at any of these, something that seems uncanny occurs. You begin not to have to guess, because you just 'know'... although you don't know HOW you know, because it's natural learning and its unconscious. Your practice while playing the game has built up and fine-tuned a rich density of head direction cells in your hippocampus.

This happens faster in the group or assisted methods, and it also happens faster when we make notes recording the results (presumably the unconscious thinks it's 'more important'). In fact looking back at your notes will show you when the change from random guessing to intuitive knowledge took place. You can actually see the figures reflecting how your brain is increasing connections.

So if this happens to you, don't call Mulder and Scully. It's not ESP. Nor is it an NH superpower -rats can learn this process really fast. But do enjoy it. You (and the rats) will never get lost again. Plus you can now get other people really drunk playing them at this game.


Data mining & coding (exercise)

You need either paper and a pen, or a (small) computer. You’ll have to carry it with you for a while so try to make it light.

Prepare a spreadsheet or note page as follows: create three columns, the first two of which are only about 3cm/1" wide each.

Label the leftmost column ‘Basics’, the central column ‘Details’ and the right hand column ‘Idea’.

Carry this document with you as you go about your daily life. Whenever you have an idea, you should make a note of it.

What do we mean by ‘an idea’? Well, it might be, “Hey, I haven’t eaten Chinese food for ages; I’ll have some tonight!” It may be, “Ah, I wish I’d said such-and-such a thing to so-and-so in that argument with John at work today.” Or it may be, “Wouldn’t it be great if someone wrote a computer game about giant lobsters?” Many ideas crop up in our everyday thoughts all the time.

But this is not just a simple record of thoughts. The ‘Basics’ column is where you list the 'overall subject' of your idea; the examples here would be ‘Food’, ‘Argument’, and ‘Game’. The basics will be big concepts associated with many thoughts.

The Details column is for the details, in this case ‘Chinese’, ‘John’, and ‘giant lobsters’.

The last column is for the actual idea. Don’t write in lots more details, just one or two sentences at most.

You can collect as many ideas as you like, but about a week is a good length of time. After a week, look through your list of ideas. Ignore the actual ideas themselves; just look at the 'Basics' column. Scan the list for recurring subjects.

For each recurring subject, begin a new page. Title the top of the new page with the subject, then make 3 columns as before.

Transcribe (or cut/paste) the ideas from the first set of sheets onto their relevant pages, but instead of naming the ‘subject’, number them instead. The second and third columns will be exactly the same. Now you have subject-specific sheets for recurring subjects. Once you have subject-specific sheets, you can collect your ideas there instead.

You need about three weeks’ worth of ideas to move on to looking for patterns. To do this, think about how the ideas connect with each other. Look at what subject your unconscious pays the most attention to (it will be the biggest subject list). Think about what you might be paying too much attention to! Think about what inspires you… Look for associations.

If you kept your lists well, some things will become apparent to you straight away. We may be surprised at the things we discover, once we realize what we spend most of our time thinking about!

What’s the point? In much the same way as keeping a dream diary improves your dream recall, keeping an ideas diary improves your strategic thinking and your awareness of unconscious content. Your mind ‘gets the hang’ of what you appear to want from it and begins to associate ideas for you in the same way that you associate them in your notebook.


If you then pay more attention to creative or logical thoughts, more of them will occur to you. Doing this exercise properly can really make you consciously aware of the plasticity of your brain, and you’ll begin to get a glimpse of some of the things you will be able to do with it as you start to direct that.


Input control with stories

Sit quietly for a moment and think about someone you think is a fast, quick thinker with a great memory. It doesn't matter if they're a fictional character or a real person, dead or alive. Write down all the reasons why they are awesome, why they are fantastic, why they are worthy of respect. Have a good rave about why they are great.

Whenever you are about to learn something new, read what you wrote.

On taking a test or exam after reading this sort of thing, we do better. Why? It’s called ‘exemplar activation’. Our unconscious brain has soaked up all those words about a fast, quick thinker with a great memory and applied then to our own performance. It seems kind of creepy, but it’s a very useful tool. Before a race, for example, athletes who read about 'heroes with great strength & endurance' will perform better themselves. Reading about a calm, beautiful place assists anxiety reduction. If we describe/read about a brilliant person just before an exam, we’ll get higher marks.

This effect has a weird side. If we spend a short amount of time reading about/describing elderly people with mobility problems, and why they may find it difficult to get about, we will actually walk slower for a short time afterwards, and the opposite is true if we read about/describe super-fast athletes.

This simple exercise will increase awareness of our control with regard to input. Bear this in mind when choosing stories.


Working with stories

The lack of sufficient storytelling, fantasy play and imaginative pastimes causes many later limitations and dysfunctions, and many of us develop our imagination later in life. To do this we must familiarize ourselves with analogical language and metaphor, and while this is relatively easy for some it is very difficult for others. It is well worth the effort, as the improvements to main mental functions are noticeable quite quickly, and perseverance will pay us back tenfold.

We should be aware that when we are doing this sort of thing that people who are afraid of imagination may accuse us of getting caught up in airy-faery nonsense. This is not our problem; they are afraid; not us. (A lot of the things we do in NH raises the eyebrows of those who don’t.)

It's important to avoid TV and movies for a while and start listening to stories. If you can get someone to read to you, make sure they read well. Alternatively use audio books.

This is the fastest way to develop imagination. The more we do it the faster we will progress. When listening to stories, don’t try to make imagination a conscious process. All we need to do is play. In this case that means just listen. Don’t try to consciously fabricate images to match the words. Imagination is there inside us, ready to activate a ‘growth’ process when the relevant input comes in as words. Our imagination will respond to the words all by itself, internalizing the action of the story via spontaneous image rendering, and we can just sit back and enjoy the ‘movie’.

Students working on improving imagination often find that when they first start listening to stories, they fall asleep! Far from being a problem, this is a good sign of development reinitialization -suddenly we are providing the mind with exactly what it needs and memory is devouring it voraciously. We need more defragging time and a brain-growth spurt may well be triggered. When the mind is stretching itself, we need more relaxation. If the problem continues with time, shifting our listening time to the morning usually resolves it (although we may still need extra hours' sleep that night).

Another common problem is attention drift -we stop listening to the story and start thinking about something else. If this happens, go back to the last part of the story you can remember and direct your attention to whatever is going to happen next.

Choice of material:

Fantasies, faery tales, science fiction, myth and fable, fantasy comedy, magic and mystery, anything unreal or improbable. No horror.

Make up stories yourself, and fantasize about your favorite characters.

Reading literary (but not pop) fiction
Boosts our understanding of other people's minds. Literary fiction takes the reader on a journey into other worlds, other lives, other minds. Studies show that this has an immediate effect on the reader's powers of empathy, as judged by simple lab tests. The same benefit is not found for popular fiction. If you're not sure of the difference, choose fiction that has been awarded or short-listed for literary prizes.

Other helpful activities

Anything creative such as painting, drawing, music or sculpture can't avoid putting your imagination to work. Technical hobbies can also provide creative exercise, eg amateur radio, electronics, model construction, computer programming.



3.4 Eidetic processing; Imagination, Perception & 3D mapping

Using gestures and speech to enable faster learning and more efficient planning (hack + exercise)

The drive to gesture when speaking is fundamental to human nature. If you have thought about this you probably assumed that we gesture to help others understand what we are saying. But gesture also serves another purpose. Moving your hands can help you think.

Researchers have become increasingly interested in the connection between the body and thought – in the ways that our physical body shapes abstract mental processes. Previous research has shown that students who are asked to gesture and speak aloud while solving math problems are better at learning how to do them.

Saying aloud what you want to do (even as simply as “I want to find the answer to this”), and making an accompanying gesture (we find the 'peace sign' “v” gesture works very well) involves the whole body in learning. The brain associates the problem, the speech and gesture in a way that makes other associations easier, and this speeds up its processing.

The same hack can work in any situation where the person who is speaking and gesturing is also trying to understand or learn.

(This discovery and others have instigated important changes in the field of cognitive psychology. The old notion of Cartesian Dualism is now being replaced by Embodied Cognition. Embodied Cognition views concepts as bodily representations with bases in perception, interaction and emotion. There is much evidence supporting the Embodied Cognition view; we have detailed, experimentally supported accounts of how embodiment through gesture plays a role in learning new concepts.)


Imagination exercises

WARNING If you have unconscious anxiety or unbalanced rear nets and you try to augment imagination without first being able to initiate the relaxation response, you WILL get problems. Don't complain to us; we told you at the beginning of this section what you would need to know to practice safely!


Hack to experience how synesthesia & association help you get the ‘big picture’

You need a bag of some crunchy food and some earplugs. Wearing the earplugs, start eating the food. After two or three mouthfuls, remove the earplugs and continue eating.

Does the food taste a bit crisper and fresher with the earplugs removed? We associate high frequency sound with crispiness. With the earplugs in, crispy foods seem more stale.

[needs a sound system & mic] Rig up a microphone to your sound system. Rub your hands together in front of the microphone and turn up the high frequencies (treble) on your stereo.

Your hands will feel smoother and drier, like parchment. If you whack up the bass, your hands will feel rougher and more moist.


Imagination, association and memory

Read through the following list of random words just once. Then turn your back on the screen and see how many of them you can write down.























How many did you remember? Make a note of it and read on:

These are individual, unrelated words and none of them is particularly emotionally charged with the possible exception of “help”. If you remembered more than half, you almost certainly used association to link a couple of them together. On first encounter, we scan stuff loosely and pick out the most interesting bits; only if anything grabs our attention as being associated do we begin to direct it, and what does the “grabbing” is recognisable patterns.

Now try this –The following is a list of words extracted in their correct order from a short newspaper story about an accident. Read through this list of words and imagine how they were associated into the story. Try to figure out what the story was.
























Now turn away and see how many you can write down

Chances are it’s quite a lot of them, and you’ve probably also realized that it’s exactly the same list of words as the first list. Imagination can help you like this because you can use this method to remember other stuff –make up a story about it.



Hacks for experiencing how imagination affects perception

This is a very old trick known as the ‘Aristotle illusion’. You need a small spherical solid thing such as a dried pea, a rabbit turd, a bead, piece of blu-tak or plasticene etc. Cross your fingers, then align the object so you can touch it with the tips of both fingers, close your eyes, and touch it.

It feels like you are touching two peas. Your brain can’t imagine why the hell you would go around touching things with your fingers crossed, and it doesn’t compute. If you look at the object while touching the effect will wear off (but can be surprisingly persistent).

[NEEDS ASSISTANT] Now get two different objects of this kind. Cross your fingers, close your eyes and then touch the two different objects simultaneously - a piece of Blu Tack and a dried pea, say - one with each fingertip. [You will need assistant to guide your fingers onto the objects]. This is a variation of the same hack. It’s not so reliable, but if it works your sense of touch will tell you that the objects are the opposite way round from where they actually are.

There's also the reverse Aristotle illusion: cross your fingers, close your eyes and touch the inside of a corner of a room or a box. This time, because the wall is contacting the insides of your fingertips, you should feel one surface, not two. Some people even experience three.

A similar effect can be achieved by holding your hands in front of you with palms down. Close your eyes and get somebody to lightly tap the back of both hands once, one after the other, with as short an interval as possible between the taps. Open your eyes and wave the hand that was tapped first. You'll get it right every time. Now do it again with crossed arms. If the taps are sufficiently close together - less than 300 milliseconds or so - you'll get it wrong a lot of the time.

Amazingly, the illusion can also be made to work with sticks. Hold two wooden spoons out in front of you, one in each hand, with arms uncrossed, and get somebody to tap the ends of the spoons in quick succession. Again, you automatically know which stick was tapped first. But cross the spoons (not your arms) over and you'll get it wrong. Even more weirdly, if you cross your arms and the spoons, the two crossings-over cancel each other out and it again becomes obvious which one was tapped first.


Aristotle effect reloaded [NEEDS AN ASSISTANT]

Hold your arms out in front of you and cross them over, rotate your hands so your palms face each other, then mesh your fingers together. Now slowly rotate your hands up between your arms so you're staring at your knuckles. Ask someone to point to one of your index fingers, then attempt to move it. Did you move the wrong one?

the link fails because of a confusing visual input. You don't normally see your hands in this convoluted position; the finger you move is the one that is pointing in the direction that the correct one would be pointing if you had simply clasped your hands.

If you want to go all the way in confusing this link, repeat the research above: get hold of a model hand (it doesn't have to be very realistic) and put it on the table in front of you. If it is a left hand, put your actual left hand somewhere you can't see it, in the same pose as the rubber hand. Now get someone to touch and stroke your unseen hand and the rubber hand with identical movements. If you concentrate on the rubber hand, you will probably get the uncanny feeling that it is your own.

Imagination will happily override information from proprioception to conjure up an incorrect yet coherent body schema based on vision and touch.

  • [Adepts only: If you do this on hallucinogens or even cannabis, you can convince yourself pretty much anything is part of your body. Sit at a table or desk and put your hand out of sight underneath. Get someone to tap and stroke this hand while doing exactly the same tapping and stroking on the table/desk top directly above. If you watch the table/ desk top, you may experience the illusion that the table or desk has become part of your body! Warning: some experiments of this nature may cause bouts of giggling.]



Find out how your perception can be fooled as the brain picks up different information:

Take a look at the pictures below. It looks like an angry man on the left, and a sad or neutral woman on the right, right? Now, get up and walk away from your computer about ten feet. If you wear long-distance glasses, put them on. Walk forward until you can see the images clearly. What do you see when you look at the faces now?





Improving self esteem with imagination

Your biology is responsible for how you imagine yourself, and it has its own definition of 'successful'. 'Success' to biology has nothing to do with whether or not you have a good job, lots of money or a good looking spouse. It's not what you have or who you know; but what you can do that defines you. To biology, success means ability to capably and confidently do the things that enable thriving and improvement in a natural environment. The unconscious awareness of your own capability for interaction and adaptation is what makes you release the chemicals and hormones that induce feelings of self esteem and enable confident behavior.

Without this unconscious awareness, it's hard to get a clear image of how and where we 'fit in' with our culture and among our peers. Our inner picture of ourselves can be inaccurate in two different ways -arrogance or paranoia. Both are related to low self esteem and both are defenses.

The arrogant among us spend their whole lives wishing that others might one day see what they are really like, realize their true value, and respond accordingly. The paranoid among us spend their whole lives terrified that others might one day see what they are really like, realize their true value, and respond accordingly.


If you have low confidence:

You can use imagination to improve your confidence by doing the following exercises.

Read or listen to inspiring praise about other people whom you either do not know, or whom you already respect. It may seem odd to you that reading about the skills, qualities and achievements of others could affect you personally, but it does. Simply hearing the terms convinces your unconscious that you hang out with great dudes and it happily forms a self-image of you as great too.

In experiments, students who read glowing reports about strangers before taking intellectual tests scored notably higher than students who read either neutral reports or criticisms of strangers. What's more, those who read criticisms scored notably worse.


You can hack an arrogance or low self esteem problem by practising the skills that biology rates as important. Any of them will do. Learning lots of different types of new skills is a good choice for many.



Learn interactive reading/listening (hack + exercise)

If the story says the hero looked alarmed, pull an alarmed face. Tense your own muscles as s/he creeps down the dark tunnel to slay the evil monster or fight the dark tyrant. Laugh with glee as you (they) outsmart the baddies and save the day. At this stage, play only the goodies' characters (because you are learning the first 'batch' of archetypes). You don't have to imagine you're the same character all the time -imagine being some of the supporting characters too.

Imagine you are someone else from far away, a child, or another creature. What would they think of the way you live? Thinking from a child's perspective, seeing the world as a whale or a gorilla sees it, seeing things from another culture's perspective are sure ways to give the imagination plenty to play with. Try also to see things from the imagined perspectives of different characters in movies.

Sit, relax and close eyes. Imagine yourself doing some physical activity. It might be a job around the house like fixing the gutter, or it might be a sequence of Yoga or Tai Chi. Concentrate on what the movements feel like.

Start off with short, simple sequences and work up to long, complex tasks. Feel the effort required to do different actions. Be aware of any counter-balance necessary. Careful not to bump into things!

Physical tasks may be practiced in the imagination before actually doing anything. Dancers will often learn to image a sequence of steps before they do it. These kinds of exercises may be done in the imagination with real benefit to your physical condition, as we'll explain later.


'Camouflage & infiltrate' (hack + exercise)

The way we appear influences the imaginations of others to make choices and 'pigeonhole' us and then treat us accordingly. You can use this for your own protection and success, because others feel less anxious if they receive 'safe' images.

The clothes we wear always communicate particular attitudes even if its 'I'm not caring about my appearance' or 'You can't label me'. They also prompt others to associate us with imagined social groups. Most people believe that “You can tell a lot about a person by the way s/he dresses”. The clothing conventions of particular groups are more rigid than most people are prepared to realize.

Try adopting a particular style of dress for a week and note the differences in the way people respond to you. Then change to something different for a week. Continue this chameleon existence for a month. Even in this short time you will be able to make enough observations to considerably develop your skill at sussing out what choices, styles and colors get the least anxious responses from others.

Notice too your own response to your appearance in different styles. Does your self esteem increase when you are in certain outfits or have your hair a certain way? There's input control for you.

You can now 'dress for the occasion' wherever you go and get more polite interactions and a lot less hassle. You'll also have learned a lot about who is anxious and who isn't and your own attitude to how you look.

'Home' is the places where you can dress for comfort and pleasure and those around you will not change their behavior towards you.


'Reality check' (hack + exercise)

Challenge all your assumptions. What are the real life requirements for any creature's survival? Imagine six different wild creatures. How does each meet these needs?

Imagine ten things you believe are impolite. Why are they impolite?

Imagine six things that are normally really good. In what circumstances might the same things be not good?

Imagine six things you believe are morally wrong. In what circumstances might they be permissable?

Your imagination should have no problem with these exercises if you have been practising those above.

'Upgrades' exercise

Start mentally redesigning everything you see. Imagine a better bicycle, a faster mail service, a lighter laptop or a more comfortable chair. Continue this for three weeks, and it will become a habit.

Through a glass darkly (hack + exercise)

Take a printed page of anything fictional that you haven't read before and hold it in front of a mirror so that the writing is reversed. Read it.

Was it more difficult to keep track of the story? If so, you are a 'rescanner' and you will be able to speed up your reading ability and improve your imagination with this exercise. Choose a different page every time, and it must be something you have not already read.


Guided Imagery (hack + exercise)
Do your functional analysis first, because this method (and the next two) works well if you have a strong network 3. It takes a little time to practice guided imagery, but this is a great way to leave anxiety behind and relax your body. Some find it easier to practice than meditation, as lots of us find it more doable to focus on ‘something’ than on ‘nothing’. You can play natural sounds in the background as you practice, to promote a more immersive experience.

The technique is to make up a little story and imagine you are transported to a beautiful place where the weather is fantastic. Fantasize as much as you like, happy in the knowledge that it’s good for your brain. There's only one rule: everything that happens in this place is really cool.

Visualization (hack & exercise)
Building on guided imagery, you can also imagine yourself achieving goals like becoming healthier and more relaxed, doing well at tasks, and handling conflict in better ways. Also, visualizing yourself doing well on tasks you’re trying to master actually functions like physical practice, so you can improve your real life performance through visualizations as well!

Using your imagination to speed up learning (hack + exercise)

Imagine how you would currently answer the question from a new student “Hey dude, what is neurohacking?” It’s not an easy question to answer clearly and simply, is it? Where would you start?

Now spend a couple of moments considering how would you answer a student who asked the questions below:

  • So, what’s the best cure for anxiety?

  • How does memory work?

  • I don’t understand this ‘stretch-relax’ thing, can you explain it to me?

  • What do neurotransmitters do in the brain?

Whatever answers you come up with, you’ll notice that (even if you’ve read the tutorials lots and really know your subject) these questions are not ever easy to answer in a simple way. It’s a good habit to make up questions like this for yourself. Imagine teaching the subject you are learning about. Think about what your students would need to know first in order to understand later ideas. Whenever you are learning, imagine how you will use what you are learning. There is so much information (especially if you’re following up theory in the files), but only a small part of it is the "important practical NH stuff" that you need to actually use (and this is what we put into tutorials).

By imagining ways to use any new information, you’ll tend to automatically focus on the things you really need to know. This also aids in retention of the new information, as you understand how it is relevant to the hacks and exercises we do.


Tactile Imagery Tours (exercise)

Sit in an armchair with eyes closed and take an imaginary tour of your home touching surfaces and objects taking particular note of the different textures. Opening your eyes, make the same tour in reality as you imagined. Remember the imagined texture before you touch for real. How close was the reality to your imagined texture?

Next, imagine a fantasy situation for yourself to explore. This may be a castle, igloo, spacecraft, penthouse suite or whatever. In the fantasy use your 'minds eye' and set off to explore the textures of your imagined environment.


Exercises for imagination and spatial skills

You were born with a rapidly developing 3-dimensional imagination. Here are some exercises to continue developing it.

Imagination is not visualization. Most people talk about their three-dimensional imagination as `visualization', but that isn't exactly right. A visual image is a kind of picture, and it is really two-dimensional. The image you form in your mind is more conceptual than a picture-you locate things in more of a three-dimensional model than in a picture.

Three-dimensional mental images are connected with your visual sense, but they are also connected with your sense of place and motion.


Face imaging

Practice imaging faces until you can 'see' them in your imagination, large and detailed. Do this by studying faces of people you know in a picture then shutting your eyes and reconstructing the face with your imagination.

Then when you can do this, have a five minute session with your eyes shut bringing to mind a series of the faces. Each face should be 'held' for several seconds as a clear image and may even talk or make different expressions. Try and make one face 'fade out' into the next. The series may be chosen from different situations. e.g. friends, movie actors, neighbourhood, lovers, relations, business acquaintances, advertising models etc.

As an advanced experiment try imaging a series of faces you have never seen before. Hold each new face for several minutes and examine it in detail.

This exercise may be fundemental to our imaging ability because the first pattern we are primed to look for after birth is a human face.

Shape & size imaging

The size of an image is important. Imagine a little cube in your hand, a large cubical box, and a huge cubical room that you're inside. They all have very different associations despite similarity of basic form.

Imagine cutting off each corner of a square, as far as the midpoints of the edges. What shape is left over? How can you re-assemble the four corners to make another square?

How many edges does a cube have?

How many different colors are required to color the faces of a cube so that no two adjacent faces have the same color?

Picture Imaging

Go to an image website and find a picture of a landscape that you like. Study the picture for not less than five minutes until you are familiar with all its details. Now, turn away from the screen and imagine the picture with your eyes shut. Return to the picture to fill in details that escape you. Return to the picture again and again until the it lives as vividly in your imagination as it does on the screen.

When the picture is established allow it to come to life. Figures move, leaves rustle, water twinkles. Notice how the impression changes and the picture evolves. Blink. Can you now regain the original image?

Technique for unconscious image generation

The generally accepted preparation is relaxation. This is not strictly speaking essential as many people will see images when excited or speedy, but physical relaxation usually helps silence any routine considerations of the conscious mind.

Use an abstract image or medium such as smoke, woodgrain, tree bark or clouds in the sky. How many images can you 'see' in the pattern?


Visual Image Manipulation

Choose an object from your room which you can visualise clearly.

Holding it in your minds eye... make it rotate, stop. Then walk around it whilst it is still. Look at it from above then from underneath. Move it away from you until it is in the distance... then gradually bring it closer until you are looking at one detail of it. Make the colour change once, twice and three times. Make it grow larger and larger. Make it grow is gigantic. Make it shrink... continue shrinking it until it dissappears. Then make it reappear in its original form.

Use simple objects at first then gradually progress to more complex ones.


Imagine a familiar reality

Choose a room you are familiar with for this exercise. After putting aside anything potentially dangerous, blindfold yourself, turn out the lights and navigate around the room or area. See if you can identify objects as you move around. It may sound a little silly, but doing usual things while blindfolded is an extremely powerful workout exercise for your memory, imagination and senses. Good examples are getting dressed, cleaning your teeth, bathing, brushing your hair.

During the first few exercises you’ll probably have a black image in your mind and you’ll feel very disoriented, but as you keep doing it you’ll find that your imagination will get to a level where you can “see” what you are doing without actually seeing it.

Exercise using spatial association with imagination

In this exercise instead of physically moving, you walk around only in your imagination.

Pick 6 locations or permanent objects in your room, garden or workspace: one at the front, one at the back and two on each side. Associate each one with a brain network, like this:




5 4

1 2



Now when you want to remember a list of things, start with a walk around the chosen space. As you go, associate each item on the list with one of your 6 locations or objects. Stop at each location and add humorous mental imagery and associated sounds, always in a comic way. When you need to consult your list, you simply walk around your chosen space in your imagination and you will "see" the items on the list.


Sensorimotor association

Using the spatial arrangement of numbers above, use you eyes as a director for where the information will relate to. Start by splitting the items to be remembered into 6 blocks or six things. Associate the first block with looking towards your bottom left, the second block bottom right, the third block straight down and so on. When you want to recall a particular block, look in its direction.

Why would moving your eyes influence your memory?

Researchers suspect [2008] it's because the eye movements cause the networks to interact more, and the association between networks is what brings back the memory more rapidly.


Input control hacks using imagination

Because image based formats are understood and used by all networks, your imagination affects both conscious and unconscious processing and you can always use imagination to your advantage in NH. Carpet-bomb yourself with inspiration, real facts and artefacts that inspire you, and images of information you want to learn.

Even simple moves like leaving a study diagram on your desktop will allow it to creep into your unconscious every time you boot up without you having to consciously learn anything. Keep your favorite inspiring quotes or stuff you need to remind yourself of on your desktop or wall.

Remember when you speak aloud or even read silently your unconscious mind listens to you and turns those words into imagery. Always strive for clarity and honesty because you’re talking to your own unconscious mind every time you talk to others. The clearer and less anxious you can be with others, the clearer and less anxious you will be yourself.

Don't allow crap into your imagination. If you find yourself watching, listening to or reading anything and you think it’s a lot of BS, stop paying attention to it.

Put down the book, change the subject, turn off the video. Find something that will benefit you; you don’t want crap in your mind. Don’t get all caught up in analyzing why it’s crap, just flush it away. That’s what crap is for; flushing away.

Researchers have explored the cognitive benefits of interacting with nature and found that walking in a park in any season can help improve memory and attention.
Memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 percent after people spent an hour interacting with nature, but showed no improvements after an hour walking down city streets.

Getting into different surroundings for real can also encourage your imagination and creativity. Get as much experience in the real (natural) world, and read as much about it and watch as many nature documentaries as you possibly can. the real world is much more complex and wonderful than anything else, and it has the advantage of being real. It's often those artists who've spent the most time studying reality that produce the most imaginative works. The more ideas you cram into your head from reality - the more you understand how it actually works - the more fascinating things you will be able to imagine and create.

We're not asking you to go outside all the time -the researchers also had subjects sit inside and look at pictures of either downtown scenes or nature scenes and again the results were the same: when looking at images of nature, memory and attention scores improved by about 20 percent, but not when viewing the urban pictures.

Start a folder on your desktop for your favorite nature scenes. Take a mental holiday there while you eat lunch, or whenever you feel like it. Add to the pictures regularly and remove those you get bored with.

A common mistake working with imagination is to expect to have to 'think about' these images in some creative way; in fact all you need to do is stare at them blankly for them to have an effect. That's what input control is all about; unconscious influence.

The company you keep

Imagination has a big processing job. To help it, avoid confusing examples of stupid behavior and false archetypes, both in movies and in real life. There is no benefit to organic life in being a suicidal melodramatic celebrity in rehab. Ignore the actors; the real examples we need are the story characters themselves; a much healthier example of how to get into the right states of mind and perform the right behaviors to survive and thrive against the odds in real life.

Hang out with creative, imaginative people. Look for people who are fun to talk to and have a keen sense of interest in life. You will become more like everything you surround yourself with.

Some of the best imaginative company is healthy children. A healthy child's world is filled with imagination, and yours can be too, if you make the effort to interact with them. We don't mean fantasy, although they're pretty good at that too. Children are little scientists, discoverers and inventors, and they still know how to merge wok with play, which is the best road to creative imagination, strong interaction and powerful problem solving.

Try the 'clouds' association game with children or friends. You all look at cloud shapes or inkblots together and answer the questions: "What does that look like to you?" and "What does that make you think of?".

Input control: Modeling for augmentation: This is a very good hack -the 'behave as though' method  :  ) The more you do it the easier it is because you start to understand how it works once you've had the experience. You need a good imagination to pull it off well, and if there's too much up front, that can get in the way; we start analyzing everything to death and lose the 'magic'.

Get your favorite movies out and use them as tools to develop yourself. Simply watching people behave in non-anxious ways (in movies etc) and associating with that through soundtracks etc., helps convince the mind that you are surrounded by sensible people and adjust itself to 'match up' its thoughts & behavior accordingly. If you experience thinking the thoughts of heroes, you will be thinking like a hero and feeling the heroes' emotions. Once your brain has the experience of doing that, it can learn to do it by itself. All we need is good examples.

Input control is about putting on a show of how you would like things to be (how things should be) so that the brain can observe and then copy it. You are fully aware that you're doing it on purpose because you know how epigenetics works, which is why it's a hack and not an accident. Unlike Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, you can pay as much attention to the man behind the curtain as you like, because knowing how the system works actually helps if you're going to take over and start using it yourself, right?  :  ) Props for input are like movie props -they 'create an atmosphere' that puts you in the right mood for the right neurochemical balance.

Use this activity to replace habits of wrong input such as watching crap TV.

Imagine Increased Muscle Strength -Experiment (hack + exercise)

A muscle can be strengthened just by thinking about exercising it.

For 12 weeks (five minutes a day, five days per week) volunteers imagined either using the muscle of their little finger or of their elbow flexor. think as strongly as they could about moving the muscle being tested, to make the imaginary movement as real as they could.

– the little-finger group increased their pinky muscle strength by 35%. The other group increased elbow strength by 13.4%.

What's more, brain scans taken after the study showed denser and more focused activity in the prefrontal cortex than before. The researchers said strength gains were due to improvements in the brain's ability to signal muscle.

We are programmed to copy whatever we are surrounded by and adapt to fit in. This is what is meant by the organism adapting to its environment, and you are practising directed evolution.

This is why you should not surround yourself with any crap, and why you should take every opportunity to observe and emulate anyone performing any skill that you require.

If you use nootropics, supplements, exercise, meditation, chemicals or other methods, try these exercises both with and without your usual input control.

Imagination and immunity hacking

When you get to this stage you should be able to use your imagination itself as input control via the 'placebo effect'. In this case however no deception is necessary; although your conscious mind is fully aware that whatever you choose as a trigger is in itself meaningless, your unconscious will happily upgrade your immune system and healing speed if you let it know that this is the expected result when you do 'x'.

'x' can be anything from a certain exercise to eating a particular food, but it works best if its something sensorimotor together with spoken words (for example “I'm going to do this exercise/eat one of these because they're full of vitamins and I'll get better quicker.”) You say the words aloud as you perform the motions.

The method can even be used for prevention; when everyone around you has the 'flu and you keep saying “I don't get viruses, I haven't got time,” it will genuinely improve your immunity.

This sounds completely bizarre, and you will not understand the method unless you have already learned quite a lot about how the mind works. The important thing is to know that you are deliberately fooling a part of your mind, because if you don't know that, you can end up stuck with a superstition glitch (see tutorials).


Imagination & Autonomy (free will)

The more you depend on your own imagination, the more proficient you will become at using it. If you rely on someone or something else to entertain you or tell you what to do or come up with new ideas, your imagination will shrivel rather than flourish for lack of exercise.

If on the other hand you develop your imagination sufficiently, you will never be bored again, regardless of what is or isn't going on your mind will always be occupied.

Remember whatever you put in to your imagination will shape its performance for good or ill. Input control is as always your best tool for refining the image based format that underlies the quality of your whole intelligence.

Once we've hacked the relaxation response and worked on rear nets until we have a nice balance, we can start some imagination augmentation. If you rely on drugs or technology to achieve relaxation, bear in mind that you are indulging in state-dependent learning and may have difficulty recalling the skills you learn outside those same states.


Stretch-relax exercises for imagination (hack + exercise)

We need to stretch and explore to get input but we need to relax (and sleep) in order to understand it. This is why we learn faster by taking regular breaks. Stretching the imagination and then allowing it to relax is the aim of this type of hacking, and one of the finest tools for this is stories that we can listen to at the end of each day, after which we fall asleep.

Read (or even better, listen to) soft fiction. By 'soft' is meant at first totally imaginary; you want to start with faeries and elves and wizards and ali baba and the forty thieves and magic swords and captive princesses and dragons and all that jazz. We are talking books or audio here NOT movies or video, definitely not TV, and not comics or graphic novels. The point is to get your imagination to do the graphics. Just listen to the descriptions of things and form an image in your mind of what they look like.

Consider investing in audio books or getting together with a partner or friend to read aloud to each other.

In choosing ancient myths and stories, bear in mind that cultural collections are associated with certain environments. Choose those in which the stories take place in an environment you are familiar with. It's fashionable and cosmic to be into stuff like native american myths or ancient mayan epics or inuit folk tales, but if you don't actually live in and were not raised in that environment or that culture, they won't develop your imagination so well or so fast as if you do or you were. Association works best when all aspects of input fit synchronize easily and your familiar environments match up with the story landscapes.


Using drugs or tech

Some people use chemicals to assist imagination development; firstly in anxiety control and sometimes to get into a mental state where they feel able to play. Many adults have no idea how to play, having had it coerced out of them at an early age, but if we want to give the mind a second chance this is exactly what we have to do; relearn the art of play. Drugs can help some people relax and open their minds to new ideas without getting embarrassed, bored, distracted or impatient.

Everyone is different, and you may already know which kinds of chemicals suit you and which do not. If you don't know and want to explore, it's best to try things outside of the experimental context before using them for the first time in it. Magic mushrooms may help some to have wonderful imaginative visions, but all some others will see is themselves throwing up on the carpet.

Likewise some people like to use tech of various kinds to augment exercises and the same rule applies. No piece of tech works for everyone; light and sound machines make some people puke while others experience marvelous visuals. Don't use tech for the first time in an augmentation experiment; get to know it first.


Exercise to associate imagery with all the senses.

Imagine something simple that you can do in real life, such as going to a movie with a friend, eating at a certain nice place or doing something you like to do.

Visualize your images clearly, and start to include in the visualization all the five senses. If it is watching a movie together with another person, imagine the two of you entering the cinema and sitting down. Listen to the people around you, use your sense of smell and feel the coldness or warmth and the textures of things that you touch. If you imagine eating or drinking, imagine the taste and smell.

You will probably find out it is easier to imagine with some of your senses, and a little difficult to imagine with some others. Go on with the exercises and you will strengthen your ability to imagine equally well including all the senses.

Do the same exercise everyday, maybe when you go to bed, and you will find that it gradually becomes easier.

Sometimes you may find that your mind starts to verbalize about what you are imagining. Be careful not to replace the images with words. The aim is to use your imagination, not your descriptive skills!

PLAY with perception (hacks)

These hacks are fun for some, but can scare some people. They are not essential, but they are here to give you a conscious real life experience of the nature of rear net processing. If you don’t feel comfortable about doing them and prepared for a bit of a surprise, miss it out. It's not wise to do these on drugs the first time unless you are adept.

  • Experience the gap in input between ‘stills’ forming in N1 & 2

To build up a big picture, your eyes constantly dart about, fixating for a fraction of a second and then moving on. These jerky movements between fixations are called saccades, and we make about three per second, each lasting between 20 and 200 microseconds.

The curious thing about saccades is that while they are happening we are effectively blind. The brain doesn't bother to process information picked up during a saccade because the eyes move too rapidly to capture anything useful.

Despite the fact that you don't normally notice saccades, you can catch them in action.

Look at your eyes close-up in the mirror and flick your focus back and forth from one pupil to another. However hard you try you cannot see your eyes move - even though somebody watching you can. That's because the motion is a saccade, and your brain isn't paying attention. Now pick two spots in opposite corners of your visual field and flick your gaze from one to the other and back again. If you're lucky you'll notice, just barely, a brief flash of darkness. This is your visual cortex clocking off.

Normally, continuity of experience relies on imagination as your memories retain information from previous fixations and integrate them into your here-and-now visual experience.

  • You can also do ‘freeze frame’ by very suddenly looking at a clock with a second hand, and noticing that it seems to take a second or so to get ‘up to speed’.

If your eyes happen to alight on the clock just after the second hand has moved, your brain assumes that the hand was in that location for the duration of ‘previous frame’ too. The "second" then lasts about 10 per cent longer than normal, which is enough for you to notice.

Hacking perception: Throwing the speed of parallel processing.

This will prepare you for understanding more complex concepts such as memory and imagination.

Make yourself a pendulum [anything reasonably heavy on a piece of string]. Hang it up in front of yourself [or get a friend to hold it] and set it swinging from left to right. Sit comfortably and watch it for a few seconds, then hold some dark-colored plastic or glass over one eye [using an old pair of shades with one side poked out works brilliantly for this]. Keep both eyes open and keep watching the pendulum.

If you get it right, you'll notice that the pendulum suddenly looks like it's moving back and forward as well as left to right...it appears to move in an ellipse.

Keep the eye shaded and now swing the pendulum towards and away from you.

You should notice an odd effect of acceleration and deceleration as it swings. Slip the shade up and down and watch the effect appear and disappear.

Perception has glitches in it, and you should start becoming more aware of that fact because you can exploit them.

What's going on here is that the shading slows down the processing of the image in one eye; lower brightness fires fewer neurons and the signal moves at a slower rate. Your brain is trying to process both streams of input in parallel, and interprets changes in brightness as speed differences instead of shading, because it isn't used to that. In effect, the image is reaching one retina at a delay compared with the other one. Because the brain knows the object is moving, the position of the incoming image is different, and the brain uses the difference in image perception input between the two eyes to compute depth and motion, and gets it wrong. You can't get a sense of one without a sense of the other.

What this experiment shows you is that from moment to moment, your brain is constructing a simulation of reality from input. It can be tricked into getting it wrong if the input is wrong. Remember that when we start to look more deeply at ‘wrong use’.


Having fun with your senses- Create your own UFO (hack)

You need a darkened room and one point of light, say about as bright as a standby LED. Sit quietly opposite the light and stare at it and relax.

After a couple of minutes the light will appear to 'take off' and fly around.

This apparent motion is due to drift in your eyes. Your brain can't compensate for it in the dark, because it has no frame of reference. You literally can't tell whether the light is still or in motion.

This is called the autokinetic effect, and it's the secret behind how 'rotating' optical illusions work. It’s also a good example of how your perception can be tricked into externalising an internal effect on input. You think the movement is going on ‘out there’, when in fact it’s your own physiology that’s affecting your input. Remember this when we look at ‘wrong use’, too.

Hacking unconscious perception: EMDR

Before you do this hack:

*Prior to using EMDR, your ability to achieve the relaxation response should be assessed and, if needed, worked on with biofeedback.

*You should do a self-assessment to define problems, goals and potential target memories.

*You should read through the entire EMDR procedure and decide whether you feel confident to proceed.

*If you are working with a friend to help you do EMDR, it must be someone you trust.

*If you are doing EMDR on drugs as part of a memory wipe you may lose more than just the target data.

You will need:

A bilateral stimulus. This can be provided by someone else, for example a friend tapping your alternate hands or waving hands in front of alternate eyes, it can be technological, such as flashing lights on alternate sides or musical tones on alternate sides [you can wear headphones].

You should decide which type of stimulus feels most comfortable for you before you begin; touch, visual or aural.

You will also need your diary for notes, unless you choose to record them by other means.



1. Target issue or memory and associations:

Assessment begins the core of the EMDR process. You have to decide what the target incident will be, and choose what picture represents the worst part of the experience. You then make a list of associated words that go with the picture (or experience) that express a negative belief (called a negative cognition) about yourself in the present time, becoming aware of any related body feelings.


2. Target replacement issue:

Next, you must decide what you would like to believe about yourself in place of the negative thought. (This is called a positive cognition).


3. Desensitization

The desensitization process begins with you holding in focus the picture, the negative self-perception and any body sensation associated with a disturbing event. You should begin the bilateral stimulus as soon as you begin to concentrate on these and try to continue concentrating on them while paying attention to the stimulus.

These times of bilateral attention may last from less than a half minute to several minutes, depending on your response. Do not go on for more than four minutes. Then stop the bilateral stimulus, clear your mind and allow whatever comes into awareness. Write or dictate a short description of what thoughts or feelings come up in your mind, then do another set of eye movements (or other method of bilateral stimulation) once again focusing on the target issues. Over many sets of bilateral stimulation, your notes will show the processing of whatever comes to mind. Stop whenever you get bored or feel too anxious, or if the thoughts and feelings remain the same for two or three sessions.


4. Installation of Positive Cognition

When the processing of the disturbing memory is complete, as measured by the amount of residual disturbing effects of the memory, the positive thought (positive cognition) is revisited and reassessed as the most realistic response to the memory of the original experience. Sets of bilateral attention are applied until the positive thought is experienced as being totally valid and the memory no longer disturbs you deeply but is perceived in context with the correct weighting.


5. Body awareness

Then concentrate once more on the target experience and mentally scan the entire body. If unpleasant sensations or lack of sensations are reported, short sets of bilateral stimulation should be applied until the sensations subside or a positive feeling is experienced.

End the session when you get bored or when you get positive results. It is generally wasteful to go on more than an hour at a time. After the session, initiate the relaxation response by whatever means you use.


6. Closure

You may continue to process the material for days or even weeks after a session, perhaps having new insights, vivid dreams, strong feelings, intrusive thoughts, or renewed recall of past experiences. These experiences may feel unfamiliar, confusing or even mildly disturbing to you, but they are considered to be a continuation of the reprocessing you have begun. These new sensations and experiences should be recorded in your notes too. If at any point you become concerned or surprisingly disturbed, you should stop the sessions.


7. Re-evaluation

You should do one session a week. At the beginning of each session, review the last week’s notes, considering any new sensations or experiences and adding any notes you want to before you proceed.

Generally, the process is also applied to past events, current triggers and anticipated future events related to the original target event.

Neurohacking in the woods (exercise) (new)


Great fun with friends, if you do this alone you don't want to get actually lost while improving your sense of direction! Choose safe woodland or wilderness with no deadly wildlife. Make sure you tell someone where you are going, carry fresh water, a knife, painkillers and spare clothing. Wear sensible boots. Don't go at night. If possible take a phone/ GPS with you in case of emergency. Hopefully you won't need any of this but hey, you're sensible right?

To 'embody' direction we need full immersion experience (ie, we need to be in first person 3D in natural surroundings). That means finding a large space, so a trip to the forest, moors, hills or wilderness is your opportunity to do a little spatial hacking to improve direction. Off we go.


1. Make a landmark. You can do this by tying a bit of cloth, foliage or debris to any feature, eg tree, rock or plant. Or you can pile things up in a particular way, or you can stick a pole in the ground, whatever, but your landmark must be visible for a short distance.


2. Stand by your landmark and look around. Decide which direction you will call 'forward' (it doesn't matter) and stand facing that way. 'Backward' is now the direction behind you, and its obvious which directions are right and left. Make a mental map imposing those direction names onto the real landscape. Make the associations yourself, (eg 'Forward is the rocky hill, backward is the biggest trees, left is the slope that goes down and right is the bushy undergrowth.') Think of these directions as four 'territories'.


3. Walk in as wide a circle you can around your landmark while still keeping it in sight. Do this in both directions; and decide where the territories 'change over'. This gives you a broad association perspective on the immediate surroundings. Examine the different types of trees, plants, terrain etc and make a mental map, considering differences AND similarities. If it 'all looks the same' to you, MAKE differences (eg, 'Forward is where I tied those branches in a knot').


4. Face the 'forward' direction and walk that way, counting 50 paces. Turn left and walk another 50 paces. Keep doing this until you have walked out a rough square around your landmark and gone through all four 'territories'.


5. Walk 100 paces in any direction and turn left. Walk 50 paces. Find your landmark without retracing your steps.


How far away were you from the landmark?

You can adapt and extend this method with different directions, different distances and different locations.

Next, stand by your landmark facing forward and imagine you are able to fly upwards like a bird and hover over your landmark. What would you expect to see? Which direction do you think would be most likely to lead to water? Which direction might lead to a better view?


FREEZE IT: Are you thinking in 2D or 3D?

If you broke out of the primed 2D mapping context we've been working in to answer this, you chose 'downwards' for water and 'upwards' for the direction with a better view, and you're thinking in 3D. If you have directional difficulties it's probably due to attention issues, not spatial abilities.


If you translated 'upwards' and 'downwards' into terms of your existing map, you may have chosen whatever direction led downhill for probable water and whatever direction led uphill for better views, from your existing four choices, forgetting that there are three dimensions and six directions in reality.


Finally (maybe when you've gone home, maybe on site) get a map of the area. See how closely you can relate the map to the terrain and whether you can tell which direction you chose to call 'forward'. Where was it on the compass? You may notice an emerging pattern in your choices if you do this a few times.


Ways of expanding 2D into 3D (hack + exercise) (new)

Take up trampolining, climbing, caving or swimming.

Study topographic maps to get the "lay of the land," Concentrate on imagining what the valleys, streams, and mountains will look like in relation to one another in real 3D. Make a mental picture. Go there and check similarities and differences.

Practice learning where north, south, east, and west are in relation to your surroundings. It's quite fun keeping track of directional shifts when on public transport. The more you look at the environment whilst thinking 'this is east' (or whatever), the more you get used to the associations in the real world.

Learn constellations, particularly the North Star, so you can locate true north no matter where you are. It won't necessarily help you hone an internal sense of direction, but it will help you keep your bearings, and that's one of the foundations.

When you are out practicing, resist the urge to charge down the path. Pause, and orient yourself by noting the general compass direction you'll be heading. Check to make sure it matches what you see on the map.

Use sensorimotor association aligned with a compass to stand and physically point back toward the way you came once you reach a location. Research has shown that people are more likely to guess correctly and remember directions if they do this. Practice "learning" directions by pointing and guessing, then confirming or correcting with a compass and map.

Use audio association and recite aloud the prominent landscape features that you pass on your travels, especially when you're off-trail or in an area where markings are few. For example: "Lake on the left, hill on the right, walking through aspen grove." Studies have shown that verbally expressing this information out loud helps store it in your memory more effectively than simply reading maps and observing. It works equally well in urban environments.

With friends: put on a blindfold in camp, and have someone carefully lead you in a random direction then accompany you as you remove the blindfold and try to find your way back. This helps you sharpen up your other senses-smell, touch and hearing, in particular-to memorize the route. "While blindfolded, use everything you have. You can even keep track of where you're going by memorizing your muscular movements, counting paces etc. The sensory receptors in your leg muscles tell your unconscious brain which direction you're turning.

Play hide & seek or go gathering wild food with friends in natural surroundings. You'll get familiar with mentally mapping new territories in 3D really fast.

When working with groups, stay focused on the terrain; don't let conversations, jokes, sexuality or daydreaming distract you.



Exercises for augmenting imagination and associated skills

Recognizing Eidetic Archetypes

Association is the main supporting skill for imagination and memory.

Without association your imagination can't build your memory database to draw on for inspiration.

If you want to augment imagination its useful to learn its own format, which is only like a computer language for representing data. This is a deep subject whose study brings fast rewards and understanding of the whole system.

The imagination is largely unconscious, and it uses metaphor to represent abstract concepts in an imagery based format ('eidetic' means image based). In the unconscious networks and in stories these are represented by characters who have certain roles. It works like a code. The same images mean different things to different networks.

Forget anything you've heard about theoretical psychotherapeutian archetypes, which are in almost all cases stereotypes derived from studying people with mental problems! Imagination and eidetic memory compare all input to natural eidetic archetypes; representational concepts that cover all types of objects and events that a creature may encounter in its lifetime. They are cross-species in that they represent situations that all life must practise whether great or small in order to meet its survival needs, and basic behaviors such as seeking, avoiding, defending, collecting, learning, mating, homemaking and so on.


Get a good grasp of the main archetypes involved in imagination and try to spot the same ones in different stories. Start with the 6 main ones; interpreted over the centuries as various roles as follows:


The faithful servant (squire/engineer/machine) (the concrete material sensorimotor archetypes)

The young seeker (hero/explorer/student/knight/warrior/princess) (the spatial archetypes)

The shaman (herbalist/healer/guide/nature spirit/genie) (the eidetic 'weighting' archetypes)

The wise master (teacher/wizard/inventor/scientist/programmer/hacker/professor) (the temporal procedural archetypes)

The benefactor (good thief/merchant/fairy godmother/good king/supporting army/mentor) (the declarative energy/resource-based archetypes)

The power of the universe (superheroes/scientific law/spiritual concept/emergent intelligence/gods) (the working archetypes -the ultimate power to interact.)


The archetypes are universal and they cover the most important animal behaviors we all experience. The “seeker” for example may be the young individual seeking a mate, the hunter hunting for dinner, the explorer looking for the lost temple of boom or exploring new territory; but the required root behavior for all these activities is seeking behavior which is processed mainly by network 2.

Because our species is human, imagination uses human characters to represent aspects of ourselves and others, and story plots to represent the events and experiences of life.

We call the fictional tales we write about these characters 'stories' but to the mind they are all portrayals of real life people and real life events, regardless of what time or place you live in or even what species you are. All creatures play these roles throughout their lives. The unconscious relates everything to the stories because it knows which story plots lead to success in real life.


Consider some of the different archetypes for seeking behavior (hunter, explorer, warrior, wooer, student etc). How might they be cast in modern entertainment (e.g., Indiana Jones, Ripley in Aliens, Agent Mulder, Luke Skywalker...keep going. ) What is each one seeking?


See if you can work out the human behaviors associated with the other archetypes. This is easier if you already know what the networks do and how they relate to each other; for example 1 and 5 are both gonna be about providing our needs, 2 and 4 are gonna be about learning and demonstrating respectively, 3 and 6 are gonna be about decisions and interaction for our benefit.

1, 2 and 3 are gonna be about concrete material skills, 4, 5 and 6 abstract skills.


Next turn to your favorite action/adventure movies, which you can now indulge in enjoying in the interests of self improvement.

Focus only on the 'goodies' characters this first time. How many of the main characters can you see associate with one of the archetypes? We don't want to give too many actual examples because it's better if you work it out for yourself, but here ar some clues:


Faithful servants usually associate with mechanical engineering, personal assistant, or maintenance type jobs. Their care often saves the hero at various crucial points. If you hear they line, “I/we/they couldn't have done it without x” in a movie, 'x' is the faithful servant in that scene.

Young seekers associate in bad times with defense/security/tactical and in good times are explorers on a quest seeking something/someone/somewhere. They often travel a lot.

Shamans are characters with some special relationship with nature, enlightenment or healing and they often fix up the hero, counsel them or are guides who help them to find their way when they are lost or wounded due to inexperience. Often found out in the bush with sparse resources, they live in the wild or in hidden places. Sometimes this role is played by friendly 'ghosts' or nature spirits.

Wise masters are often eccentric scientists, time travelers, hackers or inventors, their specialist skills assist the young seeker (who often becomes their apprentice). They live in caves/basements/lonely towers/attics/sheds full of technology and they often invent things.

Benefactors can be the surprise element like the extra army or rogue individual you didn't expect that turns up at the last minute to help the heroes. Or they may be an unassuming character who hands the hero a treasure map, the wise judge who says 'give them back their spaceship and let them go', or the great king who gives the heroes the resources they need.

The power of the universe is variously represented as deities, wise beneficial aliens, superheroes, prophets, saints, or unexplained mystical forces.


Notice how the old 'traditional' occupations match up with archetypal characters and roles (eg warrior, healer, king, merchant, apothecary, servant). Can you match up modern occupations to archetypes in the same way? Notice how this tells you which networks someone is likely to be using when performing them. This is a very cool trick for predicting what sort of processes those around us are likely to be running in various roles.


If you pay attention you'll notice that a character in a movie can play more than one archetype during the progress of the story. Try to see where characters switch from playing one archetypal role to portraying another. Importantly, try to identify which archetypes tend to turn into which others over time. If you get it right, you will notice a pattern of events emerging. Each archetype often turns either into its 'defensive' partner (eg the benefactor becomes the good pirate); its opposite (eg the benefactor becomes evil); OR the archetype of the network ahead (eg the benefactor becomes a superhero or saint). There are other patterns, but these are the most popular and if you study them you will see the ongoing pattern of networks being portrayed in different contexts as the plot progresses.


Remember, we are only focusing on the good characters at this stage. Hopefully you'll notice that one character in a movie can play more than one archetype during the progress of the story. Try to see where the characters switch from being one archetype to another. Importantly, identify which archetypes usually turn into which others over time. If you get it right, you will notice a pattern of events emerging here.


Cross modal association

Once you've associated the archetypes with human behaviors, see if you can work our which neurotransmitters are needed for which types of behavior, and what kind of emotions these will invoke in a healthy human being.

If you've done the NH tutorials, there are some good cheating possibilities here because we have listed animal behaviors and their connection with neurotransmitters, but its also good to work it out for yourself because that helps you understand the system. The imagery based format is a beautifully simple pattern of basics that gives rise to all human behavior. It's a code, and in the abstract sense it uses stories and characters and metaphor, and in the concrete sense it uses neurochemistry to tie the two together -imagination and reality.



Exercises to improve imagination, association & analogy skills

Mind maps

Mind mapping, aka concept mapping, is great for association, and hence improving imagination. By using mind maps you can quickly identify and understand the structure of a subject and the way that pieces of information fit together, as well as recording the raw facts contained in normal notes.

Popularized by Tony Buzan, mind maps abandon the list format of conventional note taking in favor of a semi-graphic structure. The brain works by association; not separated, disconnected lines. A good mind map shows the 'shape' of the subject, the relative importance of individual points, and the way in which ideas associate or relate to one another. Their spatial qualities help you to make associations and remember more easily.

Drawing Basic Mind Maps

We have given an example of one student’s first mind map of “Neurohacking” below; followed by the instructions:



1. The basics. -Write the title or theme of the subject you're exploring in the center of the page, and draw a border around it. Most students find it useful to turn their page on the side and do a mind map in "landscape" style. With the main idea or topic in the middle of the page this gives the maximum space for other ideas to radiate out from the centre.

2. The details. Your initial words and images stimulate associations. As you come across major subdivisions or subheadings of the topic (or important facts that relate to the subject) draw lines out from this circle. Attach whatever words or images are triggered. Allow the 'random movement of your thought; you do not have to ‘finish’ one branch before moving on. Connected lines create relationships and a structure. They also demonstrate the level of importance, as from a branch to a twig. Allow your imagination to flow freely, meaning you ‘jump about’ the Mind Map as the links and associations occur to you. Don’t worry that you’ve got ‘too much’ on the page. There will be plenty of time for modifying the information later on but at this stage it is important to get every possibility into the mind map.

3. Modeling. The idea of mind mapping is to think creatively and in a non-linear associative manner. A good mind map is just that –a real mapped copy of the associations in your imagination. As you empathise more with the subject and uncover more information (further subheadings, or individual facts) belonging to the subheadings above, draw these as lines linked to the subheading lines.

4. Practice & variation. Once you understand how to make notes in the Mind Map format, you can develop your own conventions to take them further.


The following suggestions may help to increase their effectiveness:

As you come across new information, link it in to the Mind Map appropriately. Some of the most useful mind maps are those which are added to over a period of time. After the initial drawing of the mind map you may wish to highlight things, add information or add questions. If you run out of space, other pages can be adhered to the edges to give an ever-expanding map.

A complete Mind Map may have main topic lines radiating in all directions from the center. Sub-topics and facts will branch off these, like branches and twigs from the trunk of a tree. You do not need to worry about the structure produced, as this will emerge of its own accord.

Add a little humor, exaggeration or absurdity wherever you can Your brain will delight in getting the maximum use and enjoyment from this process and will therefore learn faster, recall more effectively and think more clearly. Cartoons work very well.

Use single words or simple phrases for information: Most words in normal writing are padding, as they ensure that facts are conveyed in the correct context, and in a format that is pleasant to read. In your Mind Maps, single strong words and meaningful phrases can convey the same meaning more potently. Excess words just clutter the map.

Print words: Joined up or indistinct writing can be more difficult to read.

Use color to separate different ideas, starting at the violet end of the spectrum in the centre and following the rainbow format. This will help you to separate ideas into layers where necessary. It also helps you to visualize the Mind Map for recall. Color also helps to memorise the organization of the subject. Sometimes enclose branches of a Mind Map with outlines in color. Hug the shape tightly and use different colours and styles. The outlines will create unique shapes that will aid your memory; these provide immediate visual linking, can encourage follow-up and remind you of action you need to take and can also show connections between branches by using the same color outline.

Use symbols and images: Where a symbol or picture means something to you, use it. Image based formats help you to remember information more effectively than just words.

Using cross-linkages: Information in one part of the Mind Map may relate to another part. Here you can draw in lines to show the cross-linkages. This helps you to see how one part of the subject affects another.

Try circular maps: Mind maps usually proceed from the centre outwards, but some concepts can better be described in a circle; a very simple example is the life cycle of the butterfly, but whole ecology nets can be structured in interlocking circles. Try these ideas after you’ve done a few basic maps.

Mind maps work best when they are done by hand, because the physical movements you make in order to draw one will remind you of the original information if you trace them. If you have difficulty with handwork though, mind mapping can be done on computer.


Draw mind maps of archetypes and their connections, or of your favorite movies and the relationships between the characters.


Archetypes Mind Map of “Lord of the Rings”:



Next, try forming analogies and using them as maps. We've used several in our tutorials, comparing the behavior of mind to that of computer software, and the brain to a starship.


Choose one of the following and make a mind map of your analogy:

A brain and a car

A body and a car

An ants nest and a humans village

Archetypal story characters and your acquaintances (choose any story)

Archetypal story plots and events in your life


Apply what you know in a different way; for example if intelligence were distributed across the six main archetypes, what type of intelligence skills might each embody? Can you mind map this?

Your imagination should have improved enough by now for you to be able to invent your own exercises to bring out association links.



Exercises for Imagination and Creativity


Construct your own archetypal story

Our unconscious story 'plots' are archetypal too. Whoever we are and whatever we do, we are always using the same basic human behaviors in different combinations, and we'll also recognize that in chains of events ('chapters' or episodes,) they often come in a certain order (the same order we actually process information in).

The episode starts off with the faithful servant and the young seeker...a journey begins... inexperience leads to problems and the seeker meets the healer. ..To gain more experience they seek the master...after training and experience, they have the resources they need to finally defeat the baddies and from the benefactor more will be given...the goodies win. See if you can write your own short story following an archetypal plot like this.

Begin with a version set in the here and now, where the 'young seeker' is 'Alice' and the faithful servant is Alice's computer, and so on.

Transport your story through time. Do a version set in the future. How have the archetypes evolved? Is the faithful servant now a robot and Alice a starship pilot?

Do a version set in the past. Alice's faithful servant may now be a person...or a horse?

Pay some close attention to this timelessness of archetypes. Everyone in all times meets these same archetypes in their own temporal and cultural context as well as in their cultures' ancient stories and myths. In the stories the archetypes are portrayed as larger than life epitomes of what they represent, but we still know who is the young seeker in Star Wars and who is the faithful servant in Lord of the Rings.

Start trying to see how the unconscious applies archetypes to all persons, places and situations as a part of basic perception and processing, and you will begin to see how this leads to our dynamic, distributed, association-based categorization in memory.


Invent something new

The new thing can be functional or it can be purely for fun. Don't take your results too seriously at first... do it for a laugh. The majority of 'inventions' are actually fairly silly things so don't worry if your first attempts are quite ridiculous.

Two types of invention may be usefully differentiated; The first is the open ended creative design such as grotesque new animal, mysterious monument or entrancing garden in which we use our life experience to produce something origional and unique. The second has very particular goals and usually a very specific function. e.g. a new tool for peeling potatoes, frightening off burglars, making beds or washing dishes.

Invent new ways of doing things, this will maximize your time and save wasted effort.


Humanity memory wipe” game

This one will really bake your noodle. Here's a test for reality: If everyone in the world stopped believing in something and all records of it were wiped, but it still existed, that means it is real.

Imagine for example that when we woke up tomorrow, all memory of bananas was wiped from everyone and every past record on the planet. Suddenly, none of us has any idea that bananas exist. How would this affect banana sellers? Would they think they had gone bananas? How would it affect bananas?

Bananas are real, and it wouldn't take humanity long to get from “Wtf are these things?” to “Tasty”, and bananas would very quickly reenter our everyday reality. They'd have a different name (whatever we'd decided to call them) but essentially they would still be what they had always been and it wouldn't take us long to figure out what to do with them.

Now use your imagination to work out some things that are not real. Just run the experiment: if everyone on the world stopped believing in gravity, would it stop existing?

What about libraries? Mathematics? Tuberculosis? Schoolteachers? Apple pie? Apples? The International Space Station? Trees? Deities? Countries? Continents? Mount Everest? Kings?



3.5 Empathy, Intuition, Prediction


Try to find one example of each archetype in your favorite movies and imagine being that person. Regardless of the story plot they are in, imagine that you are each character in a quiet moment reflecting about their life. What would be the most important things in your life? How would you feel about things? What would be your priorities? Can you think of anyone you know who fulfils these roles in real life?


Describe your inner vision (needs assistant)

Sit comfortably with a friend and imagine a person, a place and an object, one at a time. Explain the images to your friend by talking about them, not by drawing them. It will probably help to close your eyes. Gestures and drawing shapes in the air are allowed.


Empathy exercises: Time Traveller

First session:

Imagine you are a prehistoric hunter-gatherer sitting on a fur rug in a lovely clean cave one morning. You have lots of firewood, fresh water, lots of tasty berries and half a side of venison left over from yesterday, and you were planning on having a quiet day finishing the wall painting that you started last week. Life is going very well and you feel happy and contented. Just bask in that space for a moment...

Suddenly there is a flash and a bang! You find yourself in a different place altogether-right where you are now in this place in the twenty-first century.

Now, think like the hunter-gatherer. This is “Cavedweller You” (This can be quite hard at first, but persevere and it can get real fun).

Obviously you are quite surprised to find yourself in this amazing cave, wearing peculiar thin garments, surrounded by objects you don't recognize but some of which you can guess the purposes of. Take a walk around the place and see how many objects you think you recognise the use of. ..Maybe this small spiky wooden thing with a pointy end is an arrow or a missile of some kind? This hollow solid thing could be a drinking vessel of some kind?

Look around...are there pictures on the walls like your cave paintings? Are there furs on the floor and the bed like yours? Can you see what might be food or drink anywhere?

Remember that 'cavedweller you' cannot read yet, so try to avoid reading the spines of books, CDs etc; just try to evaluate things from what they look like/ feel like/ smell like etc; explore them with all your senses.

Obviously some dude lives here, but they are out. From your explorations, try to work out what kind of person lives here and what sort of things they like to do. Be aware of what you would assume, as a person from your context.

Next allow yourself to pull open cupboards, boxes, books etc to look inside. Go around the whole space and explore, but do not go outside. When you get bored being this character, send 'cavedweller you' back to their own time by clapping your hands together and saying '”Bye for now”.


Second session:

You can bring cavedweller you back any time you want to, just by sitting quietly for a moment and imagining the first scenario in the cave. On your second visit, go outdoors. Try to head for the nearest place you see that looks familiar, for example a forest, a park, a mountain, a beach. How many things can you see that you recognize as potential food? Potential tools?

You can bring Cavedweller You back here anytime to explore anywhere. This exercise, if done well, can help your imaginative skills develop very fast. When you feel you have explored all its possibilities, choose another context (time & space) and bring someone else forward in time into the here & now. You can also do this with fictional characters when you get good at it.


Group travel

This is a great fun to play at parties -a group version of the exercise above. Everybody pretends to be their cavedweller version, and you are suddenly transported here through time as a group. Decide on a mission before you start; for example one good mission for the group is to construct a safe, edible meal from whatever you are able to find.

You are allowed to talk and draw but not read/write, you can deliberately dress for the game if you like, and we will leave the rest to your imagination, but one word of advice from our personal experience:

Don't all get drunk and go all around the town dressed as cavemen, climbing trees etc. Cops do not accept the excuse, “I'm sorry officer; I was expanding the frontiers of my mind.”


An exercise to practice the imaginative capacity to see the world from different points of view, both concrete and abstract. Select a well known place close to where you live; a market square, a garden, park, hill, big tree etc. Describe the view spontaneously as you imagine it from the points of view of:

1. a baby

2. an alien from another planet

3. a dude on a horse

4. a sniper

5. a person aged 3

6. an ant

7. a flying bird


Take two or three minutes to consider each viewpoint, and notice how our own interests change what we pay attention to.

3.6 Modeling & Bonding

Modeling (exercise)

Put on your favorite movies and practice mimicking whatever good dialogue or behavior catches your fancy. Concentrate on phrases and behaviors that seem to epitomise the good things about the character whom you are viewing. Maybe their 'catch phrases' that recur in the course of the programme. Repeat these over and over to yourself making minute changes until you are able to reproduce their voice or movements with uncanny authenticity.

Learn how to copy other things; for example find samples of common bird sounds and learn to mimic some of them. In this way not only will you improve your modeling skills but as a cheeky bonus you'll be able to recognise birds by their sounds, signal friends, confuse birdwatchers, and lend your neck of the urban wasteland a quaint pastoral flavour.

Modeling & epigenetics (empathic kinesthesia) (hack + exercise)

When watching an exciting dance performance or sport match we respond to what we are seeing with tiny muscular movements in sympathy with the movements of the players. This phenomena is called the 'kinaesthetic response' and will give us an empathy with the performers' emotions which is the shared pleasure of dance, action movie, music and sports fans.

Allow this kinaesthetic response full reign next time you are a spectator at some exposition of healthy movement. Allow yourself to identify with a player you like and flow along with it. Be right THERE with every balance, swivel, collision; with every leap, fall, kick and glance.

After the event find some time in which you. can spend ten minutes alone. Close your eyes and relive the experience. Try to FEEL the main actions as vividly as possible. Allow your body the freedom to identify with the movements that have been seen and to reproduce them in miniature. Aim to gradually increase the possibility of transfering yourself into the body of a performer... this means imaging all the movements as if you were actually doing them.

Perhaps you will experience only general vague impressions at first but, if you persist, then the details will come with practice. This is your first step into the power of imagination to create reality through epigenetics -your body will signal your genome to initiate adaptive changes to make you more like that performer IN REAL LIFE. This results in improvements not just in sensorimotor areas such as balance, coordination and response time, but also in ways of thinking and doing; in other words you can learn anything this way (and this is what natural learning is all about).

Imagination effectively and efficiently communicates on an unconscious as well as conscious level (all brain networks can interpret an imagery based format). This means it will effectively signal the genome in the same manner as real life input.

The more powerfully and vividly you are able to imagine doing something, the more your body will respond as though you were actually doing it. (If you don't believe this, try thinking horny thoughts and see what your body does.)

practising healthy emotion via modeling (hack + exercise)

Choose your partners: by now you should have located some examples of healthy emotion in video & literature media that you have been able to model. Now it's time to use your imagination and abstract this behavior into everyday real life.

As you go about your daily life, it is inevitable that you will witness (and maybe involved in) events that are emotional. Imagine how your role models for healthy emotion would respond in these various situations.

Consider circumstances in your own life that are emotional and ask yourself how your role models would respond. Also think about past events in the same manner. If you see beneficial outcomes, incorporate the behaviors into your own responses.

Next, abstract the characters into fantasy scenarios. Put them through their emotional paces and observe.

Then imagine yourself in these various scenarios and considering what emotions you would expect to feel and how you would respond with healthy emotion in the following situations (remember, you are only allowed to consider healthy emotional responses). If you have difficulty with this exercise, go back to considering how your healthy emotion role models would respond.


Being misunderstood

Someone you like offering a sexual encounter

The death of a loved one

Losing contact with loved ones unexpectedly

Discovering a new activity that is very interesting

Injury or illness (oneself or a loved one)

A generally-unpleasant idiot tells a good joke

Receiving an unexpected great gift from a friend

Being abused or ignored

Becoming a parent (in healthy circumstances)

Excessive demands from others

A challenging problem you seem to be stuck on

Disagreements with allies or loved ones

Someone you don't like telling you that they love you

Lack of experience necessary to do an important task

Making presentations in front of respected allies

A super-nice meal in relaxing circumstances

Getting through boring unproductive and time-consuming incidents

Someone you really love telling you that they love you

Coercion of any kind

An interesting-looking stranger being friendly

Someone you like telling you they don't like you

Stranger on a plane faints and nobody knows what to do

Facing & treating phobias (e.g., morbid fear of the dark, silence, insects, disease, flying, heights, public speaking, chatting with strangers at a party)

Being asked to join something you really want to be part of

Someone you find sexually attractive rejecting your advances

Someone intelligent telling you you're cool

Waiting for medical test results or similar important news

A professional massage from a friend you really trust

 Modeling exercises intermediate level

Role play

Play imaginitive games with your everyday tasks in which you 'play' one of the archetypes; for example if your place needs cleaning or your car needs fixing, pretend you are 'the faithful servant' preparing a situation for the most important and respected person in your universe (later in the day, that will be you). Maybe you can imagine yourself in this role as Alfred Batmans butler, keeping the Bat cave in good order for Batman, or Sam Gamgee in LOTR, without whom Frodo wouldn't have got very far. Or maybe you're Scotty fixing up the good old Starship Enterprise, which with a bit of hotwiring in the right place will get you from here to Mars...

If you get good at this, your imagination will start to change your real life because all the tasks you do will happen more efficiently and faster.

Consider trying out role playing games on or offline, of the kind that contain wizards and magic swords, rescuing people and slaying monsters. They are not for everyone but can be of great help to some for improving imagination and focus.


Network 4 abilities & functions

4.1 Senses of time, perspective, aesthetics and humor

4.2 Complex tool use, dexterity, construction & synchronized motion

4.3 Procedural memory & association

4.4 Cultural/complex behavior processing & synthesis

4.5 Inspiration, Tenacity, willpower (self control) & propriety

4.6 Play, Metaphoric language & Creativity

4.1 Senses of time, perspective, aesthetics and humor

Exercises in time perception




exercises in shifting perspective

Shift your locus of awareness and perspective according to necessity.

Consider the following scenario:

“Suddenly there was a reverberating thud from some distance away. Alice wasn't sure where it came from.”


Now imagine how you would feel, what you might think, and what sort of behaviors you might perform as Alice, in the following contexts:

1 Alice is alone in an old house at night with no power available.

2 Alice is on board the space station and hasn't heard that particular sound from any of the systems before.

3 Alice is a crane operator unloading containers from a ship on the docks. Noises like that happen all the time.

4 Alice and Bob are asleep in bed in their home and are awakened when the noise occurs.

5 Alice is a small mouse in a large forest.

6 Alice is reading a story in which these words appear, right at the end of a chapter.

7 Alice is a paranoid schizophrenic who thinks evil spirits are trying to contact her.

8 Alice is tumbling down the rabbit hole.


The event remains exactly the same; only the perspective has changed ('the mind has moved'). We can immediately relegate some scenarios to fiction, and some of these situations may be easier than others to empathize with. We can imagine what behaviors the various 'Alices' might engage in. But the important point is that this ability; this sort of directed locus-shifting of awareness, attention, focus and control is at the root of our ability to discern; to comprehend; to understand; to make sense out of things, behavior and events as an entire whole; the big picture. In other words, our ability to experience and display conscious intelligence.


practice multidimensional perspectives:

Choose one of the following and construct a multidimensional view of the subject in less than 100 words:

a bag

a tree

a shoe

a computer

a hedgehog

a butterfly



exercises for improving aesthetic sense

Exercise for congruous association & synesthesia

Your imaginary task is to put some instructive signs together for a friend’s health farm. You have four colors of paint for background: Bright red, soft lilac, mid green and electric blue. You have four captions for the four signs she needs:


  1. “Welcome to the flotation tank chill-out room”

  2. “Cyberpunk night club –open 8pm-3am”

  3. “Conservatory café and outdoor gym this way”

  4. “Beware! Hidden entrance! No parking”


What colors would you match with what captions? Why? What brain networks might these be associated with? Why?


Color & light

learn about the color and light wheels:






Humans come in all sorts of skin colors, so this exercise will be specific to you.

You will need:

A picture of your face (passport type will do).

A selection of different colored backgrounds. (You can either do this in real life with bits of different colored card, or do it in something like Photoshop.)

Change the color of the background to your photo. Notice how the different colors next to your skin can make the skin and hair look lighter or darker. Try colors that you do not normally wear.

Choose the colors that seem to look best with your skin tone. Do you wear these colors in clothing? Why or why not?


The following is an excellent source for aesthetic design:





Take a photo of the room/ place you live in. Use software to change the color scheme until you find your favorite combinations. Change the color of the floor, walls, furniture or curtains. See how different the space looks. Then consider how you could tweak your space towards more harmonious décor.


Aesthetics & spatial awareness

Learn about the golden ratio:





Search for some landscape images and make a small collection of those which appeal to you most. Do they conform to the golden ratio?

Do they all have something in common?

Research some sites on garden design and interior design. What do they have in common?

Find four short poems written in different times and read them through.

Which ones convey the most meaning to you? Which ones don't? Can you work out why?


Aesthetics & pleasure - A little of what you fancy does you good

Artificially stimulating network 2 boosts immunity.

Activation of areas of the brain associated with positive expectations can affect how the body copes with diseases. It has long been known that the human brain's desire system, which mediates the 'stretch' element of pleasure, can be activated with a placebo (expectation placebos -see Tutorial 17).


The immune-boosting signals emanate from the ventral tegmental area, home to our desire system powered by dopamine. This area lights up in brain scans when a mouse—or a human—knows that a tasty meal, pleasure-inducing drugs, exciting discoveries, or a sexual encounter, is in the offing.


From there, signals are routed via the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for snap responses in spontaneous situations, until it triggers the bacteria-fighting immune response.


exercises to improve sense of humor

1 Three funny things: At the end of each day, write down the 3 funniest things you experienced that day. Describe the feelings during each experience.

2 Count funny things: As each day progresses, keep track of all the funny things that happen. Briefly jot down each one so that you can get a total at the end of each day.

3 Applying humor: Notice humorous things that happen during a typical day and add new humorous activities. You might include watching a comedy movie or sitcom, talking with your funniest friend on the phone, looking up funny things on the Internet, or reading comics or jokes.

4 Collecting funny things: Recall one of the funniest things you experienced in the past (recent past or distant past) and write the memory down in as much detail as you can.

5 Resolving anxiety with humor: Think about a stressful experience from your day. Write about how it was - or could have been - resolved in a funny and humorous way.

Each of the activities boost happiness and lower depression in the short-run, but the first three activities are especially effective, boosting happiness for six months!

As you read through the five activities above, which strikes you most? Try out one starting today or tomorrow and do it each day for 1 week. You might feel a little happier for it. And, at the least, you would be exploring and expanding your character strength of humor.

[Refs: Wellenzohn, S., Proyer, R. T., & Ruch, W. (2016). Humor-based online positive psychology interventions: A randomized placebo-controlled long-term trial. Journal of Positive Psychology. ]



4.2 Complex tool use, dexterity, construction & synchronized motion


Exercises to improve dexterity

You can improve your manual dexterity by performing activities that require repetition, focus, hand-eye coordination and a steady hand. Activities such as learning to play and practicing a musical instrument, painting or sewing, calligraphy, hobbies such as making miniature models, writing with your non-dominant hand or even psychomotor skills like typing can help you develop manual dexterity. Occupational therapy programs can also increase manual dexterity, especially in those who have lost function in their hands due to disease, injury or trauma.

Performing activities that involve a combination of fine and gross motor skills, such as sports that involve hand-eye coordination and the use of your large muscle groups, like acrobatics, basketball or baseball, can help develop physical dexterity. Cultural activities are associated with maintaining physical dexterity, and a lack of cultural contact (nonuse) is associated with a rapid rate of motor function decline as people age.


Exercises for creative construction

The simplest things are the most useful things: construct stuff. Jigsaws, lego and other construction kits can impart a great deal of synthesis and association skills when it is too cold to be outdoors. If it isn't, all manner of things may be constructed in the garden or shed, from rockeries to model aircraft to your own furniture.


exercises for improving synchronized motion

Music, juggling, dancing or tai chi are great examples of exercises for the improvement of synchronized motion. Moving in time to music is most likely the fastest way to improve. Activities with others help a great deal too, as long as the majority of those included are not newbies.

The mental processes involved in successful juggling improve the connectivity of the brain. It is essential to practise in order to learn juggling, but no special equipment is needed; you can use tennis balls, apples and oranges, or mini beanbags.

There are lots of juggling demos online to start you off. Here is a selection:






Exercise to use embodiment for cognitive augmentation

Make a mind map for an issue or problem. Then present the same information on a pack of cards to move round and rearrange in any way you like. Spread out related information over your desk and walls. You are enhancing your ability to think.

Research shows that people's thoughts, choices and insights can be transformed by physical interaction with things. In other words, thinking with your brain alone is not as efficient as thinking with your brain, your eyes, and your hands – as humans frequently do when explaining things.

As people reconfigure the physical properties of their environment, they are not simply making it easier to think; they ARE thinking. Moves can be deliberate or serendipitous. Thinking is fundamentally relational: it unfolds along a series of physical changes in the contextual environment that at times affects, and at times is affected by, a series of biological changes in the brain.

Interactivity inevitably benefits performance. In part this is because changes in the physical environment makes it easier for us to remember what information we are considering, but also dynamically changing the problem's configuration prompts new possibilities for interaction, or unveils new ways of solving problems. People are more creative and more efficient when solving problems with their hands, and those who can use physical artefacts to build a model of the problem are much more likely to reach some insight.



4.3 Procedural memory & association

Be amazed

Mazes, like jigsaws, and playing music/singing, improve N3-N4 communication.





Augmenting Memory: for association, exaggerate differences and similarities

A foreign or exotic word might stand out from a passage of normal prose. A flower might stand out in a muddy battlefield. A sparrow would stand out in an aviary of finches. The weird, unexpected, unusually strident out of context, will be remembered. Exaggerations of SIZE seem to be especially effective, and to remember in time, make it rhyme.

To memorize a forgettable name, exaggerate or use an associated rhyming word that will make it stick in the mind. (Examples: Smith, Myth; Dave, Slave; Peter, Meter)


Hack for using the learning cycle to improve procedural memory and LTP:

Practice and variation is about generating your own examples. Go beyond the examples already provided on any particular topic you are learning. Bring your general knowledge and experience into play by relating information and ideas to what you already know. When you can generate your own examples, you both demonstrate your understanding and enhance your memory.


Augmenting Memory: Categorize & use creativity

    When a number of things have something in common they can more easily be remembered by grouping them under their shared feature. i.e. the group. Use the core categories and association maps. If the things to be remembered are completely disparate they may be artificially made into a linked set, and one way of doing this is to include the things as part of a story. The story, as a rich set of linked ideas in which the disparate things are integral elements, is easily remembered.

Application: Take what you which to remember and list what the material has in common or how it matches to the core categories. If this seems unhelpful create an artificially linking structure e.g. an imagined place in which each to be remembered fact or object is visualized in a particular location.

Linking a name to an occupation or hobby (eg, Rupert the musician) is very helpful. It takes quite a bit of practice before a dozen new introductions at a party can be instantly retained, but it is possible with practice and ingenuity to compress the technique into very few seconds.


Weighting memory with personal interest - 'use value'

Memory retention improves with increased motivation. This is partly due to an increase in the intensity of perception, and motivation is an important factor. If an action, object or knowledge can clearly be seen to be of use, then motivation increases. A perception that is irrelevant to our survival, or whose use is obscure, won't generate much interest and so will not be easily remembered.

In setting up material to be memorized, it helps to make its 'use value' clear; i.e., understanding what practical use the information can be put to. This seems an obvious point and yet in much common academic work the reasons WHY it is useful to learn the facts presented, and how they are connected to our real lives in the real world are simply not given.

Find these associations for yourself, taking responsibility for your own learning. If something genuinely cannot be seen as useful to real life in any way, you probably shouldn't be learning it.

Remember, fiction and fantasy are also useful to real life!

NB. Artificial motivation via use value may also be generated by coercion, by deceit using absolutely false or fictitious reasons of use, or by strongly associating a 'useless' fact or object with one that is more useful (one of the most common strategies in advertising) but this is not to be advised for aiding memory unless your need is dire, as it creates incongruent association that you'll then have to work on getting rid of.


Do jigsaw puzzles.

    Sounds too easy but it works. You’ll find your association recall gets much faster if you do them regularly. If you can't find any with pictures you like, make your own!

Do crosswords

-but not with cryptic clues. By challenging ourselves to retrieve or generate answers we can improve our recall.


Kit list planning

Make three lists, for what you would include in a household first aid kit, a going to an unexpected party kit, and an emergency kit for unexpected outdoor survival. Imagine you are making up these lists for someone else, and include everything they might need, like food, any special clothing or tech.

Now ask yourself how many of these kits you could actually assemble from what resources you have already, and begin to assemble them, in three bags or boxes or different shelves in a cupboard. If you cannot afford items that were on the original lists, replace them with items that serve a similar purpose but are less expensive. Each time you do this hack, try to add another item to one of your kits. When you have all three assembled think how cool that will be; you are ready to respond to any emergency, even sudden parties when none of your clothes are clean! If you really enjoy this hack, make up kits for other circumstances (for example, someone really cool unexpectedly staying overnight, emergency munchies, things you often run out of, or whatever you like)


Remembering academic stuff you actually want to learn –interact with it

Paraphrase the essential ideas to yourself as soon as you have read them. If the situation allows, speak aloud to yourself (vocalizing is in itself a great aid to memory).

When you read the crucial passages and summaries again, paraphrase afresh. In doing this think through the important points as if you were relating or explaining them to someone else. As you proceed through the material, describe to yourself the connections between the essential ideas. This is done by relating each new idea to the preceding material. If the 'argument' or 'structure' is complex you will find it helps to use a mind map. After each section or other substantial amount, summarize the information or arguments so far. These summaries may be read aloud, taped and played back when you are reviewing.

Having read the summaries criticize and question the ideas so far. –Do they make sense to you in context? Again, think out aloud if possible. Aim to make this as succinct as possible.

It is an 'effort' to start to use this interactive technique when one has been used to ‘reading’ being a passive, quiet activity. This change of habit will be rewarded by a much stronger and clearer memory of the material.

Practice -Repetition and Review

    Repetition is essential for the retention of any complex information that lacks emotional content. Each time a particular object, process or condition is perceived, the memory trace is etched deeper. This principle can be used in two ways. In learning a passage of prose or collection of objects, the passage or collection must be run over, and over again, until it is learnt. Secondly, if the thing needs to be learnt so that it. is permanently ready for recall, then it must be reviewed at intervals. Review is recommended, at the optimal time intervals for learning [see previous tutorials]. After four or five reviews which are separated in time, the item enters long term memory from which it is never lost. Further reviews can be of key words and areas only.

Repetition is most effective if it is active. If one speaks the words, with gestures. If the facts are made into a model, sculpture, image, poster or conversation topic. Passive repetition needs more cycles to gain an equivalent retention. [This is the main ploy of advertising, where essentially unimportant material is absorbed unconsciously simply by passive but repeated exposure]. Passive unconscious absorption has the advantage of speed [this may be put to good use in reprogramming the memory with a more positive outlook, which we’ll explore in a later tutorial with autosuggestion.]

Repeat people’s names as often as conversation permits after first introductions without giving an impression of over familiarity. The derivation of the name, or other people you know with the same name, may be used as conversational gambits.

As a mental faculty, memory cannot be improved by repetitive practice of the same type of input, e.g., by remembering more and more telephone numbers, you are not improving your memory as such. You need regular exercise of all types of memory to develop and improve this factor of intelligence.

Application: If a thing is worth repeating it is worth repeating at least three times. Rub it in.


using distraction in memory for learning & creativity

Need to memorize a crucial fact? The trick is to distract yourself by taking short breaks in which you pay conscious attention to input that's different from whatever you're trying to learn. Example –take a short break, and watch a cartoon, or listen to some music –or even better- do 5 minutes meditation.

As you relax, your unconscious mind will do a bit of defragging to categorize and permanently store the original information. It's like allowing your processing time to catch up with itself. Here's a real life example: researchers [76] asked students to try to memorize a set of 48 word pairs (country: Russia, fruit: lemon, flower: lily, etc.). After studying the list, some students then had to sit through a slide show before trying to recall the words, and some didn’t. The distracted students performed better on subsequent recall tests. Distraction allows you to engage in processing.


hack to enhance memories of good new input

To set up new memory with a boost, we include a coincidental 'ambient' input with the original input experience (background music or a particular scent are very effective), which you then replay during sleep (for example the same music we listened to when first entering the input should be played again when we are next sleeping, or the same scents (for example flowers, incense or a lavender pillow) placed in the room. You can arrange music with a timer and recording, or ask an assistant to turn the ambient factor/s on; around an hour and a half after you fall asleep (the effect is strongest during slow-wave sleep).

Alternatively if we use tech, we can record our brainwave pattern during a good input experience, and replay that in the same manner (this does currently mean sleeping in a headset though -and keeping ears clear if there is audio ambient).

The more details of the original ambient conditions can be reproduced in sleep, the better this works (so using music AND scent is more effective than just one or the other. If you're working with a partner you could also include a sensory ambient, such as stroking -but choose an area which (a) is possible to reach when sleeping and (b) will not cause distraction. Masseurs be aware: light pressure is stimulating, firm pressure is relaxing.

4.4 Cultural/complex behavior processing & synthesis


Watch the code - Pattern processing

predict what abstract symbol comes next in this sequence:


Answer at end of this section


Cognitive reappraisal - positive memory review

Get out your Captain's Log and make a list of six people you see or contact regularly. Beside their names, write down all the good things you can think of about them. Include their skills and abilities, sense of humor, kind things they have done for you or others, good habits, creative activities, things they have made, written or done etc.

When you have finished, review the list and add any last-minute cool things about each one. Don't try to memorize it; just read it through.

The next time you see or hear from one of them, try to bring to mind what was on the list about them. Don't look at the list.

Anxiety tends to bias memories to negative ones. As we practice positive memory review, our here-and-now attitude will adjust to bear in mind this 'big picture' and we'll start to get a more balanced perspective (and weighting) on people as they really are; not how anxiety limits us to seeing them.

We can also perform this hack on ourselves for increasing self-esteem and confidence. This is a great hack to get us out of 'wimp space'.


Hacks to change the scenes:

Next time a friend invites you to do something challenging, say yes and then push through any temptations to find excuses to cancel or drop out.

People are cooperative animals. We feel good giggling with each other. If you are currently living alone, think how you could share your accommodation with a good friend or relative, or how you could spend more time with people you like.

Volunteer to work on any kind of useful project where you can directly learn something new as well as help others.


Hacks to change the plot:

Walk somewhere instead of driving there.

Go somewhere you haven't been before.

Take a look at any groups you are a member of, online or off. When was the last time you communicated with or took part in activities with each group? Leave groups you never interact with. Search for new groups compatible with your current interests and activities. We mean now.

Consider whether it would be possible for you to move somewhere nicer. This is not as difficult as it might seem when the steps necessary to do so are written down. Weigh up the pros and cons of moving versus not moving. This will either consolidate your reasoning for being where you are currently, or inspire you to investigate moving possibilities. Either is good for overall awareness of 'the plot' of your current life.

Evaluate your relationships in a similar manner. Is it time to move closer towards your favorite people, or further away from your least favorite people? What obstacles are stopping you from doing both?

Use ritual (archetypal) scenes, such as bathing, a new haircut, a new outfit, going to a new place, walking through a door from one place to another, along with an hypnotic script or self suggestion to really get the message through to the unconscious as well as conscious mind that you are initiating change and taking up new habits to direct your own life.



Answer to pattern-processing exercise: The symbol that belongs in the blank slot is three arrows pointing upwards.


4.5 Inspiration, Tenacity, willpower (self control) & propriety

output control (countenance & demeanor)

We should aim for a 'default mode' of anxiety-free, playful curiosity. Performing procedures that increase our oxytocin levels (we should know what they are by now) causes actual physiological changes in the brain, which develops more oxytocin receptors. We also take on the facial expressions associated with oxytocin release, and others respond accordingly. Those facial expressions send signals via our muscles to release more oxytocin, and after enough oxytocin-releasing 'airmiles' genes for permanent change are called into action. Before we know it, we have become more trustworthy, compassionate and kind; and it's recognizable in our body language and expression. It's a part of what we are; that's what adaptation attempts.


Exercises for body language/tone of voice

make a movie

A great way to do this is to arrange to videotape some of our interactions with our friends (with their knowledge). This type of feedback can be invaluable. It might seem a little elaborate but often we really don’t see ourselves objectively until we get feedback from another source. Many people are surprised at how pleading and wimpy or how aggressive and bullying they actually sound when speaking to others. When communicating, our body language is something that is often completely out of our awareness. Seeing ourselves on video is almost always more effective than having others describing our actions to us.

Through the looking glass

Once we have decided what we need to change in our body language and tone of voice, we will need to practice it. Change is not always easy because it requires a critical mass of repetition for it to become habit. It also requires that we are aware of the body language and tone of voice we DON'T want to have if we snapback and revert to doing it again. This means we need to catch ourselves doing it. By practicing a new behavior in a mirror, we can pay attention to the details of the new behavior patterns. With a mirror we are better able to notice how our body feels and looks, as well as how we sound. Once we have practiced our new tone of voice and body language we will need to practice with our friends. Don’t expect miracles overnight; many of our habits took years to develop and we do need to put the practice in to change the script.

Remove distractions

Communicating with others is always difficult when they have their attention on something else. This means making sure others can see and hear us, which normally involves keeping relatively still and modeling their movements (and not waking round the room or going in and out to get tea, cookies etc). Input control also means removing distractions from the equation. For example, if music is playing or the TV is on, lower the volume so that they can hear us, and turn the television off. Not to do so sends the immediate rude message that you're more interested in a TV or radio show than you are in them (if this is true, all the more reason to set up conditions for beneficial change!) Closing the window to avoid the sound of neighbors or traffic, or opening it to allow the odor of dinner/trainers/marijuana to disperse and decrease CO2 levels are similar considerations. People who are not comfortable don't relax.

Remember core conditions

If we help others understand the value of respect by giving them our full attention they will better be able to respond in kind. If we are confident in our body language and tone of voice others will be more likely to hear and attend to what we are saying. On the other hand, if we come across as aggressive and angry, the anxious will be more likely to make the fundamental attribution error and attribute that to us having a bad disposition rather than being a product of their own behavior patterns.

We can also have more impact in our communication with others by making some type of physical contact with them. A reassuring hand on the shoulder is often more than enough.

We need to also remember that we are role models when we are communicating with others. The way they respond will likely be similar to the way they perceive we communicate. Effectively interacting is one of the more important skills we can learn. If we want to see change in our lives it will almost always mean changing ourselves in some way. In NH, just like when we were kids we are all works in progress. The more willing we are to change ourselves, the more able we will be to influence change in ourselves


Attitude hacking

Make a list of things you enjoy that you know improve your attitude. Whenever you feel despondent or bored, do them!

Make a commitment pact with a close friend, fellow student or partner to help each other work on attitudes. Working with trusted others is the fastest way to progress in this stage.

Break the pre-judging barrier: Try something new. Example: foods at an ethnic restaurant which you have previously avoided because you consider the food 'unknown' or it 'looks yukky'. Be open to what stuff actually tastes like in real life, rather than what you imagine it might taste like or others say it tastes like. We are all different.

Assess your attitude by counting your laughs for a whole day. Research finds that small children and 'tribal' adults laugh between 250-450 times a day, while industrial western adults score 0-50.

Does drinking or smoking in moderation give you pleasure and improve your ability to communicate your feelings? If the answer is yes, enjoy!

Music has a very powerful effect on our attitude and mood if we listen to it (rather than talking over it or using it as 'background' noise). Put on some of your favorite tracks and consider what aspects of the music makes you feel good in different ways. Why do some tracks seem to energize us whole others calm us down? What neurotransmitters are likely to be involved? Why not make some mood-enhancing compilations? Consider how you could use these to 'change the scenes'.

Privately dance to music with no thought of how you look. Let your body naturally express its response to the music.


Attitude dancing: “There is no try”

Learning new things –anything- strengthens your memory — especially when you believe you can learn new things. It's a virtuous circle: When you think you're getting smarter, you study harder, making more nerve-cell connections, which in turn makes you ... smarter. This effect shows up consistently among experimental subjects, from seventh graders to college students to business people. According to studies carried out by Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck and others, volunteers with a so-called growth mindset about learning ("persist in the face of setbacks") have more brain plasticity. In other words, their brains are more adaptable. They exhibit increases in cognitive performance compared with those who have a so-called fixed mindset based on anxiety ("get defensive or give up easily"). "Many people believe they have a fixed level of intelligence, and that's that," Dweck says. "The cure is to change the mindset."

The same technique can be used in illness. Your attitude to and perception acuity for any problem strongly determines the outcome of that problem. Research confirms that brief, straightforward psychoeducational interventions can modify negative illness beliefs and lead to improvements over a range of different health outcomes. In fact, research suggests that how a person views their illness may play a bigger role in determining health outcomes than the actual severity of the disease.

Have confidence in intelligence. Approach anything new with the attitude that all you have to do is show the brain things in the right order and it will learn about stuff. Keeping anxiety levels down is important as ever for achieving this space.

Use the self-assessments in the tutorials so that you can see clearly that you are improving and keep track of what to do next.


Hacks for improving self control via input and increasing autonomy (freedom of choice in behavior, or 'willpower')


Output control: Self-regulation practice with discourse analysis.

The important task here is not about the details (in this case they just happen to be about swearing). The important task is to learn the technique itself whereby one verbal habit can be overwritten by another, because it really is much easier to change what a pathway carries than it is to restructure the pathway via top-down control, which takes a good deal more time. After all, if connections are strong, why not simply use them for healthy input? (It's by exactly this method that many of us ended up saying 'sugar' to avoid saying 'shit' in public).

Write down the ten most likely swearwords/expletives you personally use in extreme circumstances.

How many of your curse words are related to religion (for example, 'jesus christ!' 'Oh God!' 'christ!' 'aw hell!' 'damn it!') ?

Now choose a replacement term for your most often-used religious swearword (for example instead of 'Oh Hell Fire!' or 'Oh Dammit!' you could now use 'Oh Smeg!')

Whenever you automatically say 'oh hell fire!' (and trust us; this will probably happen even if you're determined it won't), you will be immediately aware that you were planning on giving up saying that. At this exact moment, remind your unconscious by saying, 'Oh Smeg!' out loud.

Also, start saying 'Oh Smeg' deliberately for a few minor mishaps where normally you would not swear at all. After just a little practice, 'smeg' should come up as an association faster than 'hell fire'. (Do not interpret that sentence literally.) : )

We can attack other meaningless swearwords, or dumb things we say, or words we habitually pronounce wrongly, all in this same manner to practice the technique.


Behavioral control

We are developing a powerful interface with our unconscious computer. All we have to do is build that interface, and the computer will solve all the problems and avoid all the bullets. We build that interface by interaction between conscious and unconscious processes, and that means practicing directing normally unconscious processes.

Remember, we can express things to others' unconscious awareness in just the same way they can to ours: by the unconscious messages in our own behavior and chemistry. If others are 'surrounded by you' frequently enough and your input is good, they will automatically improve.

(If you want to know more before going on, read “Interaction and core conditions: the basics” in the Basics section of the Library).


Using Golden Rule 3 in input & output control

We already know that input control is an important key for adjusting personality, behavior, health and intelligence. Now that we also know how pervasive simple, everyday influences are you can see why it makes such a big difference when we adjust a lot of little things.

Do you remember our description of input control from tutorial 2?

Changes in the inner environment (your brain chemistry) in response to changes in the overall environment (your context) are what signals the genome. Input control is all about making beneficial changes happen on purpose in that 'inner environment' by manipulating input from the overall environment.

Emotional stability is the first step to emotional autonomy, free will and self control. At this stage in NH we are ready to begin the shift between 'adapting ourselves to fit in with environmental needs' and 'adapting the environment to fit in with our own needs'. By reducing anxiety we have allowed the brain to build the tools for 'adapting' to deal with stressors in a healthier way, and can now use our own behavior to 'change our minds'. We have a selection of NH tools and the knowledge of how to use them to protect ourselves from anxiety during this stage of development. So from this tutorial onwards, we'll also be looking at methods for output control as well as input control.

So far in implementing input control we have focused on ourselves; our habits, our forms of entertainment, our immediate surroundings, our diet, and everything about us. In this tutorial we've taken a look at some contextual things we're all surrounded by -other people- and how to protect ourselves from unhealthy influences, especially unconscious ones.

Obviously, we cannot isolate ourselves for fear of “catching the anxiety virus” because that would limit our cultural interaction to an unhealthy degree. But what we can do is (1) use types of input control that take advantage of this golden rule and (2) begin using output control to help create a relaxing context and avoid unwanted encounters.

Many tricks include both: for example if you sit alone and appear not to be doing very much in crowded public places like bars, parks or beaches, you are sending out an ancient mammalian body-language message that you're 'available for communication'. This attracts others to approach you, especially if you're looking around bored, so if you are stuck in a place where you notice a large number of stressed-out people are around, do something to engage your attention (for example, read a book, play with your ipad, do a crossword, doodle on paper, put on headphones). As well as distracting your own attention into helpful input, you are automatically distracting attention away from yourself -strangers are less likely to approach you if you're busy doing something, and to anxious strangers you are also less of a threat.

With a small bit of forward planning you can always have something about your person (even if its only your own mind) to 'pass the time' if present company is unwholesome. Remember too that it's repetition which signals the genome and makes habits become automatic, so one-off sojourns in anxious company are not very harmful.

psychological input control practice

Grab your Captain's Log.

Imagine you are a master of some skill (anything you like) and you have recently found the best student ever. Write a short but glowing report in your Log as though you were writing TO THE STUDENT about their great performance. If you can't think how, here's an example:


“Dude, your progress is excellent! It seems as though we have empathy like a light being turned on -everything that I explain is just grasped; everything I demonstrate is very well modeled. You have a creative intellect and a flexible logic, and ever increasing ability to interact. You are tolerant of mistakes and learn from them, and you are able to apply yourself with patience and tenacity during practice. I know this is based on good emotional stability and attention skills -you are not easily distracted from your goals. It is a real joy to see a mind developing so fast, and I have great expectations for and no doubts about your future potential.”


Read your version ALOUD to yourself once before sleep each night and see what happens to your confidence and amiability (or your serotonin & oxytocin levels, or just your mood) within three weeks. You don't even have to think about it; just read the words aloud like it's a game, and let the brain do all the work by itself.

The secret behind this exercise is that whenever the unconscious mind hears the word 'you', it assumes it personally is being addressed. It's much more effective therefore to refer to ourselves as 'you' rather than 'I' in suggestion work.


improving self control/ autonomy ('willpower') via input

looking at addictions

People tend to know consciously when they are addicted to smoking or drinking or gambling.

The most common examples of harmful unknown addictions are sugar, TV, noise, money, sleeping pills, constant company, and material possessions.

Now consider: is anything on this list an essential biological need that we are born with?

Imagine yourself on a remote beautiful island where there is plenty of food and water and a friendly tribe of fun people, who really like you. Think about it...in this situation, if any of the items on the above list were taken away, would you experience 'severe trauma'? How would you feel about the prospect of never getting it again?

Is there anything not on the list that you would experience trauma leaving behind?

Now imagine some people you already know and like are transported there with you. They could be family members or friends. Consider how each one of them would cope in that situation without the stuff in the above list. What other activities or items do you think they might have trouble doing without.

How easily would your companions adapt to the new situation? Chances are you find yourself thinking things like, "Well, so-and-so would be fine as long as there weren't any snakes", or "That person would only be happy if there were loads of hot girls", or "This person would go mad without access to burgers/ TV/ baseball". You could probably also assess who would settle down and adapt the fastest, and the effect that the behavior of some of you would have on the behavior of the others.

Now imagine someone you respect (factual or fictional) in the same situation. How easily would they adapt? Do you think it's their personality and attitude or their physical behavior or their neurochemistry that would help or hinder them?

Thought exercises like this help us empathize with people's similarities as well as differences, and they also help us to get a perspective on our own addictions and to 'know ourselves'. That helps us to look in the right areas for healthier input as replacements for neurodegenerative habits.

If you suspect you may be addicted to anything that's getting in the way of independence, hack it. Self control is not about stopping ourselves from doing things; it is about choosing to do things and interactively directing the flow of our lives.

4.6 Play, Metaphoric language & Creativity


experiencing metaphorization & testing for synesthesia



Which of the following shapes do you think is called a “Bouba”? Which one is called a“Kiki”?

see notes at end of this section.


testing for synesthesia:


To test synesthesia, Rama and collaborators designed an experiment where they could measure the vividness of the colors associated with the numbers 2 and 5. They chose those because you can make them look almost identical, although reversed, by choosing a boxy font. Then they made up a picture (below) of mostly fives, with a few twos scattered within there. Then they asked people to pick out the twos. Most folks could do it within about twenty seconds or so. See how long it takes you.



see notes at end of this section.


chemical hacks to increase/decrease synesthesia & metaphoric thinking


Those of us familiar with psychedelics will recognize the 5HT2a receptor as one which LSD stimulates, increasing synesthesia to the point where it becomes conscious. Before everyone goes out looking for mushrooms, further experiments showed that Melatonin can also increase 5HT2a, whereas Prozac can block it (and this should be of concern to creative types, because 5HT2a increases creative ability). If you have overt synesthesia or problems with hallucination, though, Prozac may help.


Exercise for congruous association & synesthesia

Your imaginary task is to put some instructive signs together for a friend’s health farm. You have four colors of paint for background: Bright red, soft lilac, mid green and electric blue. You have four captions for the four signs she needs:


  1. “Welcome to the flotation tank chill-out room”

  2. “Cyberpunk night club –open 8pm-3am”

  3. “Conservatory café and outdoor gym this way”

  4. “Beware! Hidden entrance! No parking”


What colors would you match with what captions? Why? What brain networks might these be associated with? Why? [see end of tutorial for answers]


Bouba & kiki

–There is no ‘correct’ choice; what is revealing is that almost everybody chooses the ‘blobby’ shape as a ‘Bouba’ and the starry shape as a ‘Kiki’, reflecting the nature of memory’s archetypal association. The letters K and I are more similar in shape to the starry blob, and the letters B, O, U are more similar in shape to the rounder blob. This association has important implications for archetype formation, as we shall see later.

test for synesthesia

If you see these numbers as different colors and the twos really jumped out at you as a triangle, you don’t need to improve your synesthesia! You will still need to check over your associations


'sounds like...'

A good way in for anyone who feels 'clueless' trying to understand poetry, metaphorization, or synesthesia, is to start with this humorous exercise:

The Late Great Douglas Adams co-wrote a fun little book called “The Meaning of Liff.”[47]

The authors picked a number of existing area place-names and assigned new interesting meanings to them; examples are Shoeburyness ("The vague uncomfortable feeling you get when sitting on a seat that is still warm from somebody else's bottom"); Letchworth (“The door bouncer at a lapdancing club”); Hinton Waldrist (“One who persistently returns to a subject no one else is interested in”); Grimsby (“one of those little bits of unidentifiable gristle that turns up in cheap meat pies, and looks so disgusting you leave it on the side of your plate.”)

...Okay, you get the idea. What we want you to do is invent some imaginary meanings for these place names:







To do this you'll have to imagine what the word might mean. What does it sound like it might mean? Remember you can be as silly as you like.


hexagon motor training game for creativity & alpha coherence (game, hack, exercise)

Researchers have found enhanced inter-hemispheric and intra-hemispheric alpha coherence, and increased ideational flexibility, following spatial motor training, adding to the growing data on the positive effect of whole-body training on cognition.[123] Results are consistent with the embodied-cognition hypothesis. [124]


Our method is similar to the 'Quadrato' training used in clinical experiments to determine these results. Findings indicate that it is the combination of the motor and cognitive aspects embedded in the exercise that provides the underlying mediating neuronal mechanism for movement-induced cognitive change; therefore we have slightly increased the complexity.[125]


How to do it:

You will need the ability to record a message and play it back OR an assistant (you can use a text to speech program as assistant if it's good enough). You will also need a marker pen and a square meter of white cloth or strong paper/cardboard/mat etc. It must be strong enough to withstand being stood on a lot, and pale colored enough for figures on it to be clearly seen.

You mark it up as follows:


Now you need to either read out and record the directing words, or give your assistant access to it and tell them what to do (see below).


You begin by standing on the 'X' circle in the hexagon and following the spoken instructions as best as you are able; stepping with both feet to the area indicated while listening for the next direction. Do not stop if you make a mistake; just follow the next direction.

Example: if you begin on 'X', 'four' means you must step completely from 'X' to '4' with both feet (ie, do not leave one foot on 'X').

The directing words should be read out at roughly one word per second with no gap between; try to keep the pace even or use a watch with a second hand to record them. The whole lot should take about one minute:

one, two, one, three, one, two, three, two, one, two, three, four, three, two, one, three, four, three, five, three, two, one, three, five, three, two, one, two, three, four, five, three, two, one, three, four, five, six, five, four, three, two, one, two, three, five, six, four, six, five, four, three, two, one, two, three, four, five, six.


If you find this easy and make no mistakes, speed up the reading of the words.

This exercise/game/hack works for everyone, regardless of how 'creative' they think they currently are. It is best done before creative endeavors because it increases ideational flexibility, speeds up response time and induces a significant increase in intra-hemispheric alpha coherence. Simple motor training or verbal training alone do not produce this result; it is the combination of cognitive and motor interaction that achieves the hack, adding strong evidence to the embodied cognition hypothesis.

This type of whole-body cognitive training has been compared in its effects to body-based meditations. These mainly include increased body perception, sense of lucidity and increased attention.



hacks for creative innovation problems


Hacking Design fixation


For creative innovation involving physical, concrete, material issues, consider the following features:

matter-related features: composition, solidity, parts, texture, taste, temperature.

spatial-related features: shape, size, motion, location, color, sound.

density-related features: density, chemistry, weight, odor, gradient, quantity.

temporal-related features: order, symmetry, repetition, pattern, aesthetics, change.

energy-related features: ergonomics, electromagnetics, sustainability, thermal properties, stability, resource value, kinetics.

power-related features: importance, relevance, quality, interactive potential, emergent properties, causation.


For mental, abstract, psychological issues, consider the following features:


Ideas: facts, theory, hypothesis, questions, proofs, discoveries, problems, puzzles.

Context: field, area of study, situation, relationship, game, conditions, goals, rules.

Input: data, information, variables, interaction, emotional weighting, ethics.

Processes: research, development, experiments, methods, tech.

Progress: feedback, assessment, admin, progress reports, discussion.

Output: coordination, communication of ideas, results, conclusions, outcome.


Hacking functional fixedness

solution: GPT: To help people notice the overlooked parts, material, shape, and size, researchers devised the Generic Parts Technique (GPT), in which a participant creates a 'parts tree' for an object in the following manner: for each description created for a part, a participant should ask, “Can this be decomposed further?” If so, they should break that part into its sub-parts and create another level of the hierarchy for the sub-parts. The second question to ask is “Does this description imply a use?” If so, they should create a more generic description based on material and shape. The result of this procedure is a tree diagram in which the description in each leaf should not imply a use but involves the parts, material, size and shape of the item under consideration.

Doing this exercise helps people to notice things consciously that they might not otherwise see, and remain open to the possibilities. Noticing (attention) is one thing, and building on it or connecting it to other things is then the next step. This technique, somewhat similar to mind maps, has proves very successful in enhancing creative thought.


hacking narrow verb associations

solution: use a THESAURUS: If problem solvers can list out the many specific versions of the goal verb then they can think of many more creative possibilities. A list of verb hyponyms (thesaurus) can be used by problem solvers to help consider the many ways to enact a verb.


Hacking Assumption blindness

solution: CHALLENGE ASSUMPTIONS: Navigating through a verb hierarchy may be insufficient at times to helping innovators find the verb that best expresses a possible solution. In the example above where we were asked to connect two things together, Negating our assumptions for the verb 'connect' opens more creative possibilities (such as a wireless connection, or a third entity (such as a magnet) as connector.)


controlling neurotransmission creatively

(exercises that help to bond unconscious-conscious & improve creativity)

Snapping out of it

We can alter neurotransmission as part of plot direction, changing the game or changing the script.

Consider, if you're watching your favorite movie, you're all caught up in the plot and you've "suspended disbelief" because that's what entertainment is all about, and suddenly there's a loud knock on the door.

Physically you'll jump, and mentally you 'snap out' of the reality of the movie and pay attention to who the fuck that could be at this time of night...

Everything changes, hormones, neurotransmitters, thoughts, your mood, your behavior. If you go to the door and it's someone nice, everything changes again. You 'change the picture of reality' you're in. Before you open the door, reality may be a little scary, if it's very late. Afterwards, it's quite a nice reality with friends in it.

The first reality, which you were in with the story of the movie, you're probably aware you had partly constructed yourself. You 'got involved' with the story of the movie and your neurotransmission followed accordingly. Then you 'snapped out of it'.

In doing this you accomplished quite a processing feat. You very abruptly changed how you perceived reality. You changed where you chose to believe you were and what you chose to believe was true.

In exactly the same way, we can use this same trick to 'snap out of' a sentiment, state of mind or even a counterfeit game.

Remember, as far as the unconscious is concerned we exist 'in a movie' that we partly construct ourselves all the time, either based on reality or a counterfeit game. The 'snap out of it' technique can be used in exactly the same way we use it when watching movies -we literally stop thinking about anything to do with the 'movie reality' any more and put all our concentration and attention on the new thing that's now going on in this reality. Input really does control neurotransmission, but only if we pay attention to it.

When directing our own movie, we can choose to cast everyone as potential allies if we want to, make all scenes opportunities to learn if we want to, make all problems surmountable because intelligence is more powerful than anxiety in this movie, play ourselves as amazing beings surrounded by amazing things to learn, think about and play with. And whenever we want to, we can snap into that reality. Behave as though we're in that movie.

What would x do?

Choose your favorite archetypes from books or movies, one for each main archetype. They don't all have to be in the same movie (so you might have for example Gandalf for the wise master and Luke Skywalker for the Young Seeker). Consult tutorial 11 'Change the roles' for a list of beneficial roles if you cannot remember.

Address the following issues from the pov of each of your chosen archetypes -what would their attitude, thoughts and behavior be if:


1 They wanted to feel more comfortable?

2 They were seeking something important?

3 They wanted to make friends with someone interesting?

4 They wanted to share their skills?

5 They wanted to give someone a gift?

6 They were genuinely enjoying themselves?


Playing out these issues via archetypal roles in our imagination can strongly affect neurotransmission because programs have to respond to programs and their images cause inevitable chemical change. They can also help with perspectives in creative problem-solving, but more on that below:


using archetypes for creative problem solving

Using the same archetypes from the exercise above, consider what each of your favorites would do if:


1 They realized they had overoptimistically misjudged someone, got into a sexual relationship with them, later discovered that person was a bit dodgy or adherent, and now wanted to withdraw from that relationship?

2 They realized they had been fooled into believing something false, but now knew the truth?

3 They woke up in your body and had to deal with the same issues you currently do?

4 They had just moved to your local area, lived by themselves and didn't yet have any local allies?

5 Nothing much was going on in their lives for a month or two?

6 Everything they owned just got blown away and they found themselves penniless?

7 They had to make a list of their own life priorities? -would there be any item all of the characters' lists had in common?


Programming ourselves -exercises for plot direction

1 spotting what plots are running in the story

Consider people whom you know or have known. Have you witnessed any of the following plots occurring in their lives?:

A The character (a goodie) is in poor circumstances, yet knows they are capable of being more and doing more.

B The character is being held back/ led astray by the baddies.

C The character has everything they previously thought they wanted, but something is wrong...

D The character feels they have hit a blank wall in seeking what they want.

E The character feels underrated and is treated with a lack of respect.

F The character has been deceived or betrayed by a baddie whom they thought was a goodie at first.

G The character is lost in a dark place and doesn't know which way to go.

H The character knows someone inspiring, whom they admire, but is anxious at making contact.

I The character has discovered or experienced something amazing, but nobody will believe them.

J The character wants to do X, but is scared of what other/s might think.

K The character feels stuck in a boring routine, and wants a more adventurous life but is scared of spontaneity and change.

L The character feels they have fucked everything up too badly via bad mistakes and life currently seems pointless.


It's likely that most of us have experienced several of these during our own lives, and can easily think of others who have too.

Now consider your own current circumstances -are they running according to any of the plots above? If not, can you summarize your current plot in the same form?

For help with this, imagine your current circumstances in terms of a plot synopsis of an episode from a TV series; your task is to tell someone who 'missed the latest episode' what happened. Write in the third person (for example 'The main character has recently ...')

...What sort of an episode do you end up with? Is it one of those boring ones where nothing much happened, a bit of a crazy one where lots of things broke down or went wrong, or something completely different from normal where the character did something new, met someone new or learned something new?

How long has this particular series been going on? Is it better than the previous series? As a writer, how would you develop this plot during future episodes to give the characters' roles a more interesting and beneficial experience?


2 Adding full dimensionality to your story

Summarizing our current 'episode' is a useful way to get into programming plot direction. To successfully program in our intended changes, we need to 'fill out' any missing association categories in order to get the big picture.

For example, in the exercise above, one student came up with:

'The main character is sick to death of hassle and just wants to get on with having a good life'.


So let's take that and get creative with it; first re-presenting the circumstances in archetypal metaphoric form:

'Our hero, oppressed by the evil empire, still has a strong desire to do good'.

Key for unlocking the code:

'our hero' = the optimal you; the intelligence you are capable of being

'evil empire' = anxiety, or anything that is deleterious to intelligence & life

'do good' = pursue entelechy; fulfil their development

Our student was quite surprised to see their predicament framed in this positive way, and from this perspective was able to predict the next most likely beneficial changes in the plot and work towards achieving them.

For help with this, consider how a graphic novelist might portray your own circumstances in terms if goodies, baddies, obstacles and resources. Where would they 'send' the plot next, in order for the goodies to thrive?


2a Alice and Bob it

A different approach is to cast Alice and Bob etc as the characters in our story plot, allowing them to represent ourselves and our friends/ partners/ adversaries/ associates.

We can use any character for ourselves. Thus if we decide to be Alice, and start off with the current plot (for example): 'Alice currently feels she is stuck in a bad relationship but wants to help Bob out until he gets his head together'

Now apply the archetypal metaphorization:

'Our hero faces the dragon to try to save the victim'


Key for unlocking the code:

'our hero' = the optimal you; the intelligence you are capable of being

'the dragon' = anxiety, or anything that is deleterious to intelligence & life

'the victim' = one who has fallen into illness


Seeing things from this perspective might cause 'Alice' to ask some deeper questions for plot direction; such as, 'is Bob really a victim?' or, 'what circumstance is Alice encouraging with her current behavior -Bob's growing independence, or Bob's growing dependence?' 'What is Bob currently doing to help himself', and so on.


3 'Tree & Flea' Coding exercise (advanced NH)

to improve archetypal association & programming skills

Given two apparently unrelated items, we use archetypal code to include them in a very short story. We must also write the key for unlocking the code as given in '2' above, and try to give a 'message of the story' (explain what information is being conveyed; see example).


Here is an example (in fact it's the best student's example we've seen so far, so don't expect to be this good first time.):


Given: 'A tree and a cat flea', our example student wrote the following:


'Once upon a time there was a tree. It was an apple tree and had many apples on it. One day a flea came along and sat on one of the apples. “Hi, who are you?” said the apple, surprising the flea cos she didn't know apples could talk. “I'm a flea”, she said, “and I'm looking for my parent, the cat.” The apple laughed, “Your parent is not a cat you stupid flea, another flea is your parent.”

“Not so,” said the flea. “You, the apple, are the offspring of this tree. I however sprang off a cat just this morning, and so must be the offspring of a cat!”

And so they sat in silence, because apples don't understand abstract humor.'


Key for unlocking the code:

'the apple' = our unconscious mind

'the flea” = our conscious mind

'the tree' = the tree of life/ humanity

'the cat' = the flea's former supporting context or matrix

Message of the story: sometimes interaction fails because some people can only access the unconscious mind and it doesn't understand abstract humor such as formal word-play, so misunderstanding results. The apple, rudely calling the flea 'stupid', has no unconscious-conscious connection, no empathy and no respect. The flea, a more complex life form, has access to conscious awareness. The lack of response to her joke tells her the apple is not very smart (the apple now thinks the flea is just dumb).


Here are some items for your own stories:

a horse and a Star Trek movie

a gardener and a green pill

a wooden chest and a rat

an ant and a pair of moccasins

a computer and a moose

a newt and a bottle of vodka


if you want to make up your own pairs, first use one living creature and one inanimate object. Then try two living creatures (eg, the ant and the antelope)


congruous metaphor framing practice (exercise)

1 Imagine a “virus infecting a city” and then make notes describing the best ways to solve the problem that you can imagine. Consider what you would need to investigate, what measures might prove effective for protection/prevention and what sort of interactions might solve the problem permanently.

2 Imagine a “wild beast preying on a city” and then make notes describing the best way to solve the problem that you can imagine. Consider what you would need to investigate, what measures might prove effective for protection/prevention and what sort of interactions might solve the problem permanently.

3 Which one of your descriptions for 'dealing with the problem' can also be used congruously as an archetypal metaphor for framing ideas about anger management?

To decide this, ask yourself which metaphoric frame (story of reality) best fits the actual reality. Do you think anger behaves more like a virus spreading or more like a wild beast hunting?


This exercise introduces us to strategic thinking and the ability to use creative imagination to view a situation or problem from different perspectives by using 'framing' on purpose. It will also make us more aware of when knowledge or belief is being 'framed' in other people's ontologies as they are discussing ideas, we will spot incongruous ontologies that create ideological dilemmas, and we will gain more self awareness and control of our own 'framing' habits.


guess the subject positions

Some scripts are instantly recognizable from just their names and a brief description, shown here below. Can you guess which of Berne's subject positions each script is based on? (clue: none of them is going to be 'I'm ok, you're ok', because these are counterfeit game scripts)


1 Awful, isn't it? (two or more players agree on how awful it all is, whatever it is)

2 Why don't you -yes, but- (one person who states a problem is 'it'. The other/s suggest solutions. Every suggestion is met with 'yes, but' -and a reason why the solution is impossible)

3 Mine is better than yours (more important, more impressive, more powerful, more urgent, or just bigger)

4 Mine is worse that yours (we used to DREAM of living in a cardboard box)

5 If it weren't for you/them, I could... (one blames other/s for holding them back)

6 Let's get you and them to fight (one or more stirs up deliberate trouble between others)

7 Look what you made me do (A blames B for own mistakes)

8 Uproar (when bullies clash)

9 I'm only trying to help you (it's for your own good)


exercises for scripting practice:

The following game gives good scripting practice and can be played alone or with other/s:

Given a line from a counterfeit script, we have to try to work out

(a) what script it is

(b) what the related subject position is

(c) what would be a good response from the healthy subject position 'I'm ok, you're ok'?

If you are playing with other/s take turns to provide the script line. If you are playing alone, there is a list of lines from various counterfeit scripts in the tutorials section of the library, called 'Scripting game - counterfeit script lines'. Please note there are NO answers to these -it is up to you to work them out, and in some cases there is more than one possibility.


Change the Game -game direction exercises

Be here now, directing attention

We are a participator in the real life game -not an observer. We are each Captains of our own ship and director of our own course through life. As the current goal is to promote more creativity and innovation then each of us must embody and model creativity and innovation as a state of being every day of our lives. Model it: be the change we want to see.


Doing this means we need to bring more attention and observation to the present moment, at least enough to break out of the habits created by mechanical reflexes. If we are directed by automatic action/reactions there is no possibility for creativity and innovation. These potentials only exist when we increase the attention we bring to the present moment – at least enough to rise above our habits- and decrease the attention paid to distractions. Mindfulness practice can help this, but the relaxed attention that occurs naturally in the state of authentic play is the key to creative personal, organizational and relational transformation. Relaxing and playing (with things or ideas) is the best way to speed this transformation.


Role playing & psychological gaming

If you have practiced Role Playing games or Psychological Gaming (PG) you will have an advantage; as you are already accustomed to thinking 'within the frames' of a game and shifting between different games. The type of character you like to play will give you clues about possible roles in the real world.

The mind is designed to play; that is, to learn. Real learning which always takes place in the state of play demands complete attention, and game-players will likely also have had more practice at controlling, concentrating and focusing their attention. Role playing in pretend games is a great way to train up attention-control for real life.


Turn your attention to culture

There a supporting culture for this stage of our development -human culture- and for this stage our culture should provide your input. It offers a vast (real) choice of interesting stuff to play with, learn about and experience. Let your curiosity blossom creatively when you explore it -look for things you are interested in but do not yet know much about, as well as stuff you already know.

Because our culture shares its communications media with society, we must be strategic -we don't want to waste time or memory space on nonsense, so take responsibility -confirm sources of information and make sure conclusions make sense to you personally before choosing to believe them.


Embrace the fun of planning and adapting

Most plans go wrong because they are designed for static circumstances and reality is a dynamic circumstance. Creative problem solving techniques To solve a creative problem, try solving it for someone else. Research shows that we're more capable of mental novelty when thinking on behalf of strangers than for ourselves. This is just the latest extension of research into construal level theory, an intriguing concept that suggests various aspects of psychological distance can affect our thinking style. It's already been shown that we're more likely to solve a problem if we imagine being confronted by it in a far-off place and/or at a future time. Now we know that our creative performance improves if we imagine ourselves solving a problem for someone else.

This works in all kinds of contexts; some of the examples given by researchers were: participants drew more original aliens for a story to be written by someone else than for a story they were to write themselves; participants thought of more original gift ideas for an unknown student completely unrelated to themselves, as opposed to one who they were told shared their same birth month; participants were more likely to solve an escape-from-tower problem if they imagined someone else trapped in the tower, rather than themselves (a 66 vs. 48 per cent success rate). We have already used this sort of technique in Interactional Analysis (by abstracting the characters in a problem to 'Alice' and 'Bob'.) This research shows Alice and Bob can help creative problem solving too.

To take this a stage further, imagining we are doing something or solving problems for various favorite archetypes can further augment performance. Those with strong imagination may already have practiced this sort of thing as a kid -you get bored cleaning your boots, you pretend they're Batmans boots, or Cinderellas slippers. Boy do they come out clean!

Hot news: it still works just as well for grownups.


Invent something new

The new thing can be functional or it can be purely for fun. Don't take your results too seriously at first... do it for a laugh. The majority of 'inventions' are actually fairly silly things so don't worry if your first attempts are quite ridiculous.

Two types of invention may be usefully differentiated; The first is the open ended creative design such as a ridiculous-looking new animal, a mysterious monument, sculpture or entrancing garden; in which we use our life experience to produce something original and unique.

The second type of invention has very particular goals and usually a very specific function. e.g. a new tool for peeling potatoes, a device for frightening off burglars, making beds or washing dishes.

Invent new ways of doing things in real life; this will maximize your time and save wasted effort.


The SCAMPER technique

SCAMPER is an acronym for “substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to other uses, eliminate and reverse”. SCAMPER is normally used to guide people in creatively improving something that has previously been done, by posing questions to them such as, “what can I substitute?” and “What may I do instead?” This technique can be applied to any number of objects or situations.


Creative Thinking Quickies:

Look out the window and choose an object at random. Try to think of the greatest possible benefits and biggest possible dangers from it.

Outline a problem in your mind before going to sleep, and ask your unconscious verbally to sort it out.

Ask your unconscious to keep working on a problem while you are doing other things.

Write down a problem. Then find another way to express it and write that down. Continue doing this until you run out of ways to explain it. How would you explain it to a friendly alien? Sometimes we get stuck with a problem because we've misunderstood what the actual problem IS.

Pick any concept at random (eg, a sheep, laughter). Imagine a reality where it didn't exist. What might happen differently? This is speculation without proof, or philosophy. It is a good hobby for creative thinkers, and can be much fun at parties.


exercise to prevent fact & fiction anti-aliasing

Cognitive methods and hard logical reasoning coupled with discourse analysis and scripting practice are a good combination to help clarify the line between fact and fiction. We will be exploring cognitive methods further in advanced tutorials, but here is a helpful exercise to prevent anti-aliasing which will also provide a gentle introduction to cognitive methods:


1 Find out what 'provable' means and what kinds of proof are most reliable [128]


2 Researching online, try to find some provable facts about any of the following:

a Your body and biology

b The geology, flora & fauna of the area where you live

c Your favorite movie

d A game you have never played before or a hobby you have never tried

e The Standard Model of Physics

f This solar system


3 Think like Sherlock Holmes -How did you get your proof? Does your belief that something is true rely on trusting someone else to be correct? What if someone equally qualified said the opposite? What if the 'experts' got it wrong? -How can you be sure it is true?

If you think this exercise seems like too much trouble to do, you need to ask yourself why you don't believe that it would improve your intelligence. Evidence implies that it does -but we can do this experiment to prove it for ourselves.


More hacks & exercises will be added as time allows!





Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 November 2016 09:13