[BLANK_AUDIO] This is a good place for us to step back and look again at chunking from another perspective. Notice what we're doing here. We're interleaving our learning by jumping back to revisit and deepen our understanding of a topic we've already covered. There's an interesting connection between learning math and science and learning a sport. In baseball, for example, you don't learn how to hit in one day. Instead, your body perfects your swing from lots and lots of repetition over a period of years. Smooth repetition creates muscle memory, so your body knows what to do from a single thought. One chunk instead of having to recall all the complex steps involved in hitting a ball. In the same way, once you understand why you do something in math and science. You don't have to keep re-explaining the how to yourself every time you do it. it's not necessary to go around with a hundred beans in your pocket and to lay out ten rows of ten beans again and again so you get that ten times ten is equal to 100. At some point you just know it from memory. For example you memorize the idea that you simply add exponents, those little superscript numbers, when you are multiplying numbers that have the same base. Ten to the fourth times ten to the fifth is equal to ten to the ninth. If you use the procedure a lot, by doing many different types of problems you'll find that you understand both the why and the how behind the procedure far better then you do after getting a conventional explanation from a teacher or a book. The greater understanding results from the fact that your mind constructed the patterns of meaning, rather than simply accepting what someone else has told you. Remember, people learn by trying to make sense out of the information they perceive. They rarely learn anything complex simply by having someone else tell it to them. Chess masters, emergency room physicians, fighter pilots, and many other experts often have to make complex decisions rapidly. They shut down their conscious system and instead rely on their well trained intuition, drawing on their deeply ingrained repertoire of chunks. At some point self-consciously understanding why you do what you do, just slows you down and interrupts the flow resulting in worse decisions. But wait, are chess masters and people who can multiply six digit numbers in their heads exceptionally gifted? Not necessarily, I'm going to tell it to you straight. Sure. Intelligence matters. Being smarter often equates to having a larger working memory. Your hot rod of a memory may be able to hold nine things in mind instead of four and you can latch on to those things like a bulldog, which makes it easier to learn. But guess what, it also makes it more difficult for you to be creative. How's that? It's our old friend and enemy Einstellung. The idea you are already holding in mind can block you from fresh thoughts. A superb working memory can hold its thoughts so tightly that new thoughts can't easily peek through. Such tightly controlled attention could use an occasional whiff of ADHD-like fresh air, the ability, in other words, to have your attention shift even if you don't want it to shift. If you're one of those people who can't hold a lot in mind at once, you lose focus and start daydreaming in lectures and have to get to some place quiet to focus so you can use your working memory to its maximum, well welcome to the clan of the creative. Having a somewhat smaller working memory means you can more easily generalize your learning into new, more creative combinations. Because your working memory, which grows from the focusing abilities of the prefrontal cortex doesn't lock everything up so tightly. You can more easily get input from other parts of your brain. These other areas, which include the sensory cortex, not only are more in tune with what's going on around you in the environment, but are also the source of dreams, not to mention creative ideas. You may have to work harder sometimes or even much of the time to understand what's going on. But once you get something chunked you can take that chunk and turn it outside in and inside round, putting it through creative paces even you didn't think you were capable of. Here's another point to put into your mental chunker. It is practice, particularly deliberate practice on the toughest aspects of the material that can help lift average brains into the realm of those with more natural gifts. Just as you can practice lifting weights and get bigger muscles over time, you can also practice certain mental patterns that deepen and enlarge in your mind. Whether you're naturally gifted or you have to struggle to get a solid grasp of the fundamentals, you should realize that you're not alone if you think you're an imposter. That it's a fluke when you happen to do well on a test, and then on the next test, for sure they, and your family and friends, are finally going to figure out how incompetent you really are. This feeling is so extraordinarily common that it even has a name. The Imposter Syndrome. If you suffer from these kinds of feelings of inadequacy just be aware that many others secretly share them. Everyone has different gifts, as the old saying goes, when one door closes, another opens. Keep your chin up and your eye on the open door. I'm Barbara Oakley. Thanks for learning how to learn.