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Home » Mental Brakes to Avoid Mental Breaks: Steven Hayes (Full Transcript)

Mental Brakes to Avoid Mental Breaks: Steven Hayes (Full Transcript)

Steven Hayes

Clinical psychologist Steven Hayes’ talk titled: “Mental Brakes to Avoid Mental Breaks” at TEDxDavidsonAcademy. In this insightful talk, Dr. Hayes discusses language, cognition, and the science behind putting on the mental brakes.


Human beings have the biological equivalent of a sports car between their ears. And it’s wonderful that we have this device.

Our ability to reason and problem solve; to plan, predict, evaluate, abstract, or create is the envy of the rest of living creation.

But you would not jump into a fast sports car and jam on the accelerator if somebody hadn’t told you where the brakes are and how to apply them. And this mind of ours, at times, takes us in the wrong direction.

And when it’s doing that, we have to know how to slow it down and to put on those brakes. And it’s not obvious where that is.

Our temptation is to put on the brakes by jamming on the accelerator and swerving back and forth really fast.

But it turns out the brakes are in an entirely different area. I’m giving this talk at a TEDx that’s sponsored by the Davidson Academy, which is one of the treasures of the U.S., a school for the gifted and talented, where young people who have IQs at the 99.9th percentile or above are educated.

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