Episode 41: How Do Our Brains Process Information? Part I − With Host Caroline Mandell

Brain Skills, Writing Skills – Dec 2021

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Episode 41: How Do Our Brains Process Information? Part I − With Host Caroline Mandell
Broadcast Date: December 2, 2021


Following her insightful and popular five-part series on “Judgment Writing School” welcoming some of the top experts in the field, legal communication and litigation consultant Caroline Mandell is back to take us to “Brain School.” In this new three-part series, renowned neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists will help us understand how our brains work. They will also give practical advice on the do’s and don’ts in order to truly benefit from and protect this most valued part of our bodies.

In this first episode, host Caroline Mandell is speaking with UNSW Sydney’s Emeritus Professor John Sweller. Together, they explore a fundamental question: how do our brains process, retain, retrieve, and apply information? In short: how do we learn? It’s an important question for judges whose job is to receive information in the form of evidence and submissions. And also, to transmit information in oral and writing reasons. And it’s an important question for lawyers whose job it is to present that evidence and those submissions to judges in the first place.

Next Episodes:
Episode #42: How Do Our Brains Get Things Done? Part II – With guest Professor David Badre (Brown University)
Episode #43: How Do Our Brains Decide What to Pay Attention To? Part III − With guest Associate Professor Sophie Leroy (University of Washington Bothell, School of Business)


John Sweller is an Emeritus Professor of Education Psychology at the University of New South Wales. His research is associated with cognitive load theory. The theory is a contributor to both research and debate on issues associated with human cognition, its links to evolution by natural selection, and the instructional design consequences that follow. Based on many hundreds of randomized, controlled studies carried out by many investigators from around the globe, the theory has generated a large range of novel instructional designs from our knowledge of human cognitive architecture.


Caroline Mandell knows the Canadian justice system from all angles. She began her career developing justice policy at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. She then spent over a decade as counsel to the judges of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, working on complex appeals in every area of law. More recently, Caroline was an adjudicator with the Ontario Health Professions and Health Services Appeal and Review Boards.

Caroline is an expert in legal communication with particular interest in the cognitive psychology of information processing. She has taught decision-writing for the National Judicial Institute, the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators, and for individual administrative tribunals, courts, and judges. She is also a litigation consultant, helping litigators craft winning arguments in difficult cases. Caroline has taught Legal Research and Writing at the University of Toronto and is one of the most popular instructors in Osgoode Hall Law School’s professional LLM program.

Caroline has a JD and an MA from the University of Toronto and was called to the Ontario bar in 2005.

In All Fairness is a Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice podcast channel welcoming representatives from the legal community and exploring how we can all contribute to improving the administration of justice in Canada. Legal professionals will benefit from informed discussions on key issues, essential knowledge and insights to strengthen their practice.

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