Cognitive load theory: Why the brain needs cleaning

We live in a context where information and distractions overwhelm us. Our brain’s ability to process and retain information efficiently has become a challenge. This is where Cognitive Load Theory comes into play, a concept that helps us understand why our brain needs regular cleaning to maximize its productivity and performance.

Cognitive Load Theory, developed by John Sweller, argues that our brain has a limited capacity to process new information. This ability can easily be overloaded with too much data, reducing our effectiveness in learning and making decisions.

Cognitive load is divided into three types:

  • Intrinsic: Related to the inherent complexity of the task or content.
  • Extrinsic: Generated by the way the information is presented.
  • Relational: Associated with the processing, construction and automation of knowledge schemas.
Teoría de la carga cognitiva: Por qué el cerebro necesita limpieza
Cognitive load theory: Why the brain needs cleaning

Why is it essential to release cognitive load?

A cluttered mental space prevents our brain from functioning optimally. Below we are going to highlight some key reasons why cognitive cleansing is key:

  • Stress reduction: An excess of information and tasks can lead to cognitive overload, generating stress and mental exhaustion.
  • Improved attention: By reducing the amount of irrelevant information, we can focus better on important tasks.
  • Increased efficiency: An orderly mental environment facilitates quick and accurate decision-making, thus improving productivity.
  • Promoting creativity: By freeing up mental space, we allow new ideas and innovative solutions to emerge.

Strategies for clearing cognitive load

Implementing regular mental space clearing can transform our ability to work and learn. In this sense, some effective strategies are:

  • Digital minimalism: Limit notifications and reduce the use of non-essential applications and devices.
  • Task organization: Use task lists and prioritize activities according to their importance and urgency.
  • Focus techniques: Practice mindfulness and meditation to improve concentration and reduce distraction.
  • Regular breaks: Take frequent breaks to allow your brain to rest and process information effectively.

Cognitive Load Theory reminds us that our mind, like any system, has limits. Keeping our mental space clean and tidy improves our ability to learn and make decisions. In addition, it promotes a healthier and more productive state of mind.

Photo credit: AU

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