Maximizing Mental Agility


Course Leader:
Arthur Markman, Ph.D.

Next run: February 19, 2016


Maximizing Mental Agility is a one-day course, developed by Psychology Professor and HDO Director Dr. Art Markman. The course focuses on six areas of thinking that provide easy-to-learn strategies rooted in Cognitive Science that will help people to be more productive, efficient, creative, motivated, and satisfied in their working lives, and beyond.

Maximizing Mental Agility is one of the required courses for completing HDO’s Thinking Smarter Certificate. Learn more about Certificate Programs in Human Dimensions of Organizations.

The course highlights six facets of human thought that are simultaneously hidden and obvious. Most of us are unaware that these factors control the way that we think, and yet, when we are told about them, we recognize situations where they have affected our thinking. By making these characteristics explicit, we give people more insight into the strengths and weaknesses of their own thinking. We then provide specific techniques based on these insights that they can use to be more effective in the workplace and beyond.

These techniques are presented in a fast-paced, interactive format, that combines presented material with situational team-based learning modules, designed to transition the concepts into the students everyday thinking. The six strategies are:

  • The Role of 3: Our thought and memory capacity is organized around 3 items at a time. How we can use this to our advantage
  • Autopilot and Creativity: How the mind tries NOT to think as much as possible, and how we can turn this knowledge to our advantage.
  • Making Connections: Our best thinking comes from understanding causes, but we often fail to do this. How can we turn this knowledge into more powerful thinking?
  • Using Analogy and Similarity: The mind is constantly re-using old ideas in new situations. How can we train ourselves to use this natural skill to be more creative?
  • Active Memory: Improving the quality of what we remember by actively managing the quality of what we learn.
  • Defining Your Goals: Most people fail to reach their goals because they fail to take a “productive pause” to think about how they will achieve them.

HDO’s Professional Seminars cost $750 each. This fee covers the course, parking, food, and materials for the day. There are early-bird registration discounts available, as well as group and UT staff/alumni discounts (more information here).


Please review HDO’s Professional Seminar Enrollment Policies prior to registering.

*Note: Discounted registration is available for groups of three or more. Please contact us if several members of your organization or company plan to attend this seminar. 


Markman_ADr. Markman is the Annabel Irion Centennial Professor of Psychology and Marketing at The University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of Illinois and worked at Northwestern University and Columbia University before coming to The University of Texas at Austin in 1998. He has written over 125 scholarly works on topics in higher-level thinking including analogical reasoning, decision making, and motivation. Dr. Markman has extensive experience in executive education and consulting. His first book intended for popular audiences, Smart Thinking, was released in January 2012. Habits of Leadership followed in 2013, and his latest publication, Smart Change, was released in January 2014.