Brain Scans Show If Ready to Learn
SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
MIT researchers found that activation of the parahippocampal gyrus was associated with better memory if visual scenes followed. Abstract: " The rate of learning or memory formation varies over time for any individual, partly due to moment-to-moment fluctuation of brain state.
fMRI of Dysgraphia - Lack of Automaticity and Need for Visual Monitoring
SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
Thank goodness for Todd Richards and his collaboration with Virginia Berninger and her group for looking into the brain-basis of dysgraphia. In this interesting fMRI study, good and poor child writers were compared on a task of writing a new pseudoletter.
Learning from Exceptions in the Brain
DECEMBER 12, 2011
There is a learning style that seems unmistakable in some - and it seems to involve learning from exceptions. These may be children who from a very young age seem to question rules and challenge assumptions. They're kids who if you try to tell them what to think, they may quickly answer, "Actually."
Overthinking and Creativity - Think Like Child
APRIL 23, 2012
From Life Hacker , look at the puzzle to the left. How long does it take you to solve? Preschoolers solve in 5-10 min, whereas programmers take an hour.
Metacognition, Math, and the Brain
MARCH 12, 2012
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon found that students solving 'regular' problems based on an example showed overlapping, but distinct patterns of brain activation when 'exception' problems were presented.
Failure School: Metacognitive Reframing Boosts Working Memory
MAY 7, 2012
What's a quick way to boost a student's working memory? Tell them that learning is difficult and failure is common. At least that's a conclusion from a French research study that tested 111 6th graders with a series of difficult anagram puzzles. None of the 6th graders could solve them and then. ".
Why It's Hard For Kids to Stand Still
JULY 18, 2011
Researchers from France were surprised to find that children ages 7-10 had a harder time standing still when compared to older children (12-15) or adults due to immaturity in their sensory readjustment systems (proprioceptive weighting).
Education for Misfits and Neurodiversity
JUNE 4, 2012
From Schumpeter in the Economist, In Praise of Misfits reflects on how classrooms and marketplaces seem to love opposites. Educational experts are working diligently to turn out well-rounded graduates, while. Software firms gobble up anti-social geeks. Hedge funds hoover up equally oddball quants.
Fact Retrieval vs. Problem Solving in the Brain
AUGUST 13, 2012
Researchers from Stanford have found that school children retrieving math facts to solve arithmetic problems show different brain fMRI patterns when retrieving math facts, than when solving problems.
What Educators Can Learn from Madison Avenue -Bad Design Kills
SEPTEMBER 19, 2011
Jonah Lehrer recently wrote about the educational benefits of "ugly fonts", but though the research is a good, it's not really the case that they're ugly. What they are is novel. And novelty is usually a good thing when you have something you want remembered.
ADHD, Creativity, and Reduced Inhibition
OCTOBER 10, 2011
"ADHD may have negative consequences for academic achievement, employment performance, and social relationships. However one positive consequence of ADHD may be enhanced creativity."
Stimulating Creativity and the Brain
OCTOBER 3, 2011
In the alternative uses task, test subjects are asked to think of alternative uses of everyday objects like "tin" and "umbrella".
Children and Adults Use Different Networks to Solve Problems
MARCH 5, 2012
When doing arithmetic problems, Stanford researchers found that children use different brain regions to solve problems. Children's decreased activity in the frontal lobes (executive function) was to be expected, but another striking finding was how important the right anterior insula was for children capturing attention, balancing working memory resources, and taking action to solve problems. Perhaps salience networks are more important in general for children's problem solving.
The Charisma Effect
JANUARY 10, 2011
"I was told I was selected class speaker because of my deep voice, my "charisma", and the work I had done in the community.
Brooding Perfectionism -
NOVEMBER 6, 2011
We recently came across the topic of Brooding Perfectionism. There are different types of perfectionism (e.g.
The Steps of Creativity - Early Crowd sourcing and Prototyping
JUNE 25, 2012
In this interesting paper from Stanford , researchers found that adults asked to perform a creative task (drawing) did better if they were exposed to examples early in their approach to the task.
Reading Metaphors and Individual Differences in the Brain
MARCH 19, 2012
Researchers at the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon found that reading and comprehending metaphors had very different patterns of brain activation depending on whether statements were provided in context.
The Turkey and the Crow - The Tension Between Expertise and Creativity
JUNE 13, 2011
Although we train students toward expertise and mastery, a tension seems to exist between cognitive efficiency and automaticity representing expertise, and divergent problem solving and innovation. Once we started looking for the turkey-crow split, the more we started seeing it everywhere.
Why It's Hard to Listen to Two People Talking at One Time
JANUARY 23, 2012
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon show us why it's hard for us to listen to two people talking at one time. In addition to listening to the individual messages, we have to use bilateral brain pathways to resolve conflicts in what we heard (or what we think we heard) and piece together information.
Growing a Bigger Brain with a Larger Social Network
JANUARY 31, 2011
The bigger your social network, the bigger your brain - well, at least your amygdala. But is having a bigger amygdala better? One research team's speculation: "In the context of our findings, Striedter's “large equals well-connected
Curiosity and the Creative Drive
DECEMBER 20, 2010
"When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do." - Walt Disney From Psychology Today , " Decades before Evan Schaeffer started practicing law, he developed an interest so all-consuming it verged on obsession: snakes.
Is Impulsivity a Bad Thing?
APRIL 16, 2012
Answer - it depends.
Head for the HIlls - Cities Bad for Your Mental Health
JULY 25, 2011
From the journal Nature , German researchers found that city dwellers showed much more social stress (measured by amygdala activation in response to an examiner scolding them as they were doing math problems) than country folk.
Slow Processing Speed.Video Game Therapy?
NOVEMBER 15, 2010
"I used to take these maths tests which were supposed to be done in one period and it took me not just that period but the next one which was a play period and sometimes the one beyond that before I finished the test.
Pattern Learning and the Brain
JANUARY 16, 2012
From NY Times : "For years school curriculums have emphasized top-down instruction, especially for topics like math and science. Learn the rules first — the theorems, the order of operations, Newton’s laws — then make a run at the problem list at the end of the chapter.
Real World vs. Simple Problem Solving
OCTOBER 24, 2011
In the Neural Basis of Thinking , Vinod Goel reflects on the puzzle of a brain-injured architect.
Writing Problems of Visual Thinkers - Pictures vs. Words / Literal Films
DECEMBER 13, 2010
There's a viral video channel on Youtube that beautifully illustrates the writing problems of visual thinkers. Youtube maven Tobuscus has made literal versions of video game and movie trailers.
The Unexpected Benefits of Poor Working Memory - ADD and Lazy Genius?
OCTOBER 18, 2010
I've been enjoying reading The Benefits and Perils of Attentional Control by Decaro and Beilock, and its more than a professional interest (see Confessions of a Limited Working Memory Victim ). Many people have very poor working memories - in my case it's a very bad auditory verbal working memory.
Background Noise Problems in Dyslexia
FEBRUARY 1, 2007
More data supporting the range of perceptual difficulties in dyslexia. In the figure below, researchers found that dyslexic subjects showed delayed responses to sounds (HP stands for Huggins Pitch, TN stands for pure tone)when played with background noise.
The Biology of Creativity - Right Hemispheric Thinking, Problem Solving by Insight, and Diffuse Attention
MARCH 23, 2009
A Northwestern research group has found that people that solve anagram puzzles by sudden insight rather than by conscious search or analytic strategies have an EEG resting state that prefers the right over the left hemisphere.
The Increased Work of Dyslexia
DECEMBER 13, 2006
Here is an interesting study from Stanford that gives support to what dyslexics have said for years - it's harder for them to read. The study (Oct 2006 J Neurosciecne) isn't yet fully online, but the abstract and figure (below) can be seen.
Stories, Empathy, and the Brain
SEPTEMBER 5, 2011
Want an empathy workout for your brain? Read a book! At right the blue shows activation patterns associated with emotional comprehension (blue) and perspective taking (yellow) when reading a story.
Memory, Reward, and Dopamine
NOVEMBER 28, 2011
Nice review of Dopamine and Adaptive Memory from TICS.
Complex Development of Moral Sensitivity and Empathy - fMRI
NOVEMBER 14, 2011
From the Decety lab : "Moral reasoning involves a complex integration between affective and cognitive processes that gradually changes with age and can be viewed in dynamic transaction across the course of ontogenesis.
JUNE 19, 2011
"[My father] advised me to sit every few months in my reading chair for an entire evening, close my eyes and try to think of new problems to solve. I took his advice very seriously and have been glad ever since that he did."
Curiosity, Doing, and Creative Success
AUGUST 29, 2011
Thanks Brain Pickings for this talk by filmmaker Andrew Zuckerman on Creativity, Rigor, and Learning as You Go. The rigor came from the curiosity."
The Dyslexic Advantage is Out! - Dyslexic Inventor James Russell
AUGUST 22, 2011
It's here! Our book, The Dyslexic Advantage is out!
Hot Seat Learning - Why Testing is Not All Bad
JANUARY 24, 2011
In medical school, I had a great Radiology teacher who loved putting students in the hot seat. A scan would be put on the light box, and he would rap a chair at the front of the lecture hall and call down a student to read an Xray or CT scan in front of a class of 200 students.
Analogy as the Core of Cognition
NOVEMBER 29, 2010
Douglas Hofstadter has an interesting discussion in a Presidential lecture at Stanford. Skip the introductions and start at 13 minutes 30 seconds to listen to Hofstadter.
Memorial Day - Flash from the Past
MAY 31, 2010
He was small in stature, but scrappy. The first eight years of his life were spent in Nome, Alaska, which was still a pretty lawless place at the time, and he learned how to defend him self by street fighting.