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Alan Castel    

Author, Professor & Motivational Speaker

Alan Castel is an author and Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He studies learning, creativity, memory, and aging, and is interested in how people can selectively remember important information. He received his PhD from the University of Toronto, did a fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, and has been at UCLA since 2006.

Castel lectures internationally to people of all ages, has received several teaching awards and was a Fulbright Scholar in Israel. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Time Magazine, and he has served as a consultant for Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. His book is entitled "Better with Age: The Psychology of Successful Aging".

Speech Topics

Successful Aging: How We Can Get “Better with Age”

As we get older (even after the age of 20!), we often experience changes in our cognitive abilities. Many people are concerned about their memory, even though we might not be/feel all that old. Brain training can be a very appealing way to keep our memory sharp, but there other engaging (and more effective) activities for our brain and body that can yield improvements in our mental health. We will discuss how balance (both physical, mental, and social) can influence memory and health, and how we are continually learning the keys to successful aging.

Lifelong Learning and Curiosity: What Makes Us “Smart”?

We are all lifelong learners, so what makes learning more efficient in and out of the classroom? What makes someone creative, and can habits and novelty influence creativity? Experience and wisdom may be learned by making mistakes, which can make us smarter by applying what we know to new problems. We will discuss how to measure cognitive abilities and intelligence (beyond the SAT) in terms of improving learning and curiosity in many different contexts.

Focusing and Paying Attention in an “Information Overload” World

We are constantly overwhelmed with information, and the Internet is in our pocket. Our brain processes and retains vast amounts of information but does not work like a computer. How does distraction influence our daily lives, and can we use selective attention allow us to function efficiently? How do we learn (remotely) from videos at faster speeds? I will demonstrate some surprising illusions of attention and memory, and when, how and why our mind wanders. We will discuss useful strategies and methods that can help us improve memory and learning.

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