Todd Sampson retrains his brain
Sampson strengthens the old grey matter, writes Darren Cartwright
THE Gruen Transfer panellist Todd Sampson underwent a brain training course for a new ABC series – and says it improved his memory and his vision.
Sampson’s brain experiment, captured in the three-part series
Redesign My Brain, which starts today, is billed as a television first by ABC1.
Sampson took a break from his day job in advertising to travel the globe, meeting specialists and undertaking numerous tests and memory games during the threemonth training course.
One of the first exercises he had to complete was learning to juggle.
Sampson progressed from juggling two balls to tossing around firesticks in a drill he says demonstrates how the mind can be trained and how juggling can benefit your daily life.
‘‘Juggling is quite unique because it is about tracking multiple objects, and your brain has to compute a lot to do it,’’ he says.
‘‘The brain is fundamentally lazy and needs to be pushed to the edge and challenged to keep it developing and growing.’’
Sampson admits he was slightly sceptical about how neuroplasticity could effectively improve a healthy brain.
However, he took a passionate and serious approach to all the tasks he was set.
The series follows Sampson as he travels from Sydney to London, from Germany to the United States, on a scientifically-endorsed training program.
‘‘I went in with a healthy scepticism and I would do everything they asked me to do, and I’d push myself as hard as possible,’’ he says.
‘‘I was slightly anxious that I would prove it all to be not true.
‘‘I found in the end my attention was a lot better and my recall of memory was a lot better.
‘‘The other thing is my eyesight changed and my peripheral vision was much better.’’
Since the series wrapped, Sampson has continued juggling. He uses his new-found circus skill as a type of meditation before public engagements.
He juggles in the ABC green room and backstage on speaking tours.
‘‘I juggle before any big presentation or even before I appear on Gruen,’’ he says.
‘‘I went from two to three balls to four balls to clubs and then firesticks.
‘‘The firesticks are quite funny because I have burnt myself so many times doing it.’’
Redesign My Brain: Thursdays, 8.30pm, ABC1.