Neural Activity And Peak Performance w/Dr. Don Vaughn | Ep. 002
Play • 17 min

🧠 UCLA neuroscientist Dr. Don Vaughn reveals how neurofeedback explained peak performance in athletes, such as X-Games elite competitors, and suggests brain hacks that will help you achieve greater goals.

🎞️ Watch "Neurohacking: rewiring your brain | TEDxUCLA":


Stanford graduate, Dr. Vaughn discusses neurofeedback therapy as one of the protocols being currently studied to assist patients in achieving proper cerebral rewiring.

Through this process, patients are shown images that specifically trigger their urge/want system (ex: pictures of drugs to a drug addict) and are tasked to use their willpower to control and reduce the effects of said images, inducing neuroplasticity.

Dr. Don Vaughn, whose neurohacking research has been featured on ABC, ESPN and Time Magazine, asserts that grit and fortitude are tools one may use to naturally optimize one’s neurological rewiring. However, as not all individuals possess the level of willpower needed to successfully reshape their cerebral patterns, researchers focus on determining which protocol – ex.: interventional therapy, neurofeedback – is best to support each individual.

Dr. Don Vaughn lead a team from UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior in studying the stress relief potentially provided by motorcycle riding. Funded by Harley-Davidson, the study showed that focusing on the road for a certain amount of time allowed riders to mentally replenish.

The HD experiment was compared to a high performance neurofeedback study conducted on elite X-Games athletes – specifically, Scotty James and Lizzie Armanto. Dr. Vaughn found that top athletes had the ability to clear out distractions and generate total focus on their performance.

Accordingly, he suggests people find their own mental replenishment routine, whether it is hiking, riding, tennis, or any other stress-relieving activity. As a result, overall mental performance will tend to improve.


1️⃣ | Sensei says: “Don’t think about it”

In order to perform to the highest level, Dr. Vaughn suggests that you should eliminate exterior demands and develop a strong training routine so that, come performance day, you do not have to think about what’s to be done. Hence, keeping your conscient brain functions to the minimum required while performing, as you should compete on “auto-pilot”. Per example, an OCR competitor should not be thinking about doing the rope climb while on the rope, but just be crushing it… automatically.

2️⃣ | Sensei says: “Lean on your community”

In times where you feel like quitting any endeavour, the support from your community might make the difference, Dr. Vaughn suggests. Especially with a tight community like in OCR, other racers’ behaviour towards you – a smile, a tap on the back, a word of encouragement – is positive information that you treat in real-time, which helps overcoming your current hardship.

3️⃣ | Sensei says: “Control your early warning system”

With great passion, Dr. Vaughn explains how our brain stem has a primitive area which role is to alert us on possible dangers (ex.: lacking oxygen or energy to perform). These early warning messages sent by our brain need to be controlled, as – in reality – the body can survive/perform for much longer than we think. Successful athletes have mastered these early warnings: they have trained their mind and body to go beyond these premature signals. They have, in fact, progressively rewired themselves to push their bodies harder and further.

📣 What did you learn from Dr. Vaughn ? Which hack would help you perform better ? Let me know in the comments !

Osu ! - Sensei Pascal 🥋🙏

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🎙️ WHO AM I ?

I’m Sensei Pascal, former radio personality on XM Satellite Radio, passionate martial artist, relentless entrepreneur, enthusiastic adventurer, inspired essayist (Oxford Brookes University), motivated fitness coach, aspiring comedian and insatiable student of the human experience.

Master of Kenpo Karate, WKC World Championships silver medallist and survivor of multiple extreme endurance races, I dedicate myself to the betterment of others. My humble vocation is to support and guide people on their path to self realization.

Read my full bio here:


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