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How to stay calm when you know you'll be stressed

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You're not at your best when you're stressed. In fact, your brain has evolved over millennia to release cortisol in stressful situations, inhibiting rational, logical thinking but potentially helping you survive, say, being attacked by a lion. Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin thinks there's a way to avoid making critical mistakes in stressful situations, when your thinking becomes clouded — the pre-mortem. "We all are going to fail now and then," he says. "The idea is to think ahead to what those failures might be."

Award-Winning Neuroscientist, Musician, Author

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As a cognitive neuroscientist specializing in music perception and cognition, he is credited for fundamentally changing the way that scientists think about auditory memory, showing through the Levitin Effect, that long-term memory preserves many of the details of musical experience that previous theorists regarded as lost during the encoding process. He has consulted on audio sound source separation for the U.S. Navy, and worked for two years at Paul Allen’s Interval Research Corporation, a Silicon Valley computer firm where he worked on issues in Human-Computer Interaction, and Applications of Cognitive Psychology.

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