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Gerald Carey

The BrainBank | Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: online teaching resource - 3 views

    Series of lessons on the brain
Clay Leben

Welcome | BrainU - 17 views

    Lesson plans and student activities to study neuroscience.
Gerald Carey

Switching learning on - 11 views

    An article which shows, at a cellular level, how learning might occur in adults.
Duane Sharrock

Metacognition: An Overview - 9 views

  • Metacognition refers to higher order thinking which involves active control over the cognitive processes engaged in learning. Activities such as planning how to approach a given learning task, monitoring comprehension, and evaluating progress toward the completion of a task are metacognitive in nature.
  • "Metacognition" is often simply defined as "thinking about thinking."
  • Most definitions of metacognition include both knowledge and strategy components
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  • According to Flavell (1979, 1987), metacognition consists of both metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive experiences or regulation. Metacognitive knowledge refers to acquired knowledge about cognitive processes, knowledge that can be used to control cognitive processes. Flavell further divides metacognitive knowledge into three categories: knowledge of person variables, task variables and strategy variables.
  • These processes help to regulate and oversee learning, and consist of planning and monitoring cognitive activities, as well as checking the outcomes of those activities.
  • While there are some distinctions between definitions (see Van Zile-Tamsen, 1994, 1996 for a full discussion), all emphasize the role of executive processes in the overseeing and regulation of cognitive processes.
  • Sternberg refers to these executive processes as "metacomponents" in his triarchic theory of intelligence (Sternberg, 1984, 1986a, 1986b). Metacomponents are executive processes that control other cognitive components as well as receive feedback from these components. According to Sternberg, metacomponents are responsible for "figuring out how to do a particular task or set of tasks, and then making sure that the task or set of tasks are done correctly" (Sternberg, 1986b, p. 24). These executive processes involve planning, evaluating and monitoring problem-solving activities. Sternberg maintains that the ability to appropriately allocate cognitive resources, such as deciding how and when a given task should be accomplished, is central to intelligence.
  • Cognitive strategies are used to help an individual achieve a particular goal (e.g., understanding a text) while metacognitive strategies are used to ensure that the goal has been reached (e.g., quizzing oneself to evaluate one's understanding of that text).
  • What is the difference between a cognitive and a metacognitive strategy?
  • Knowledge is considered to be metacognitive if it is actively used in a strategic manner to ensure that a goal is met.
  • Metacognition, or the ability to control one's cognitive processes (self-regulation) has been linked to intelligence
  • Metacognitive and cognitive strategies may overlap in that the same strategy, such as questioning, could be regarded as either a cognitive or a metacognitive strategy depending on what the purpose for using that strategy may be.
  • Cognitive Strategy Instruction
  • Cognitive Strategy Instruction
  • Those with greater metacognitive abilities tend to be more successful in their cognitive endeavors.
  • CSI) is an instructional approach which emphasizes the development of thinking skills and processes as a means to enhance learning. The objective of CSI is to enable all students to become more strategic, self-reliant, flexible, and productive in their learning endeavors (Scheid, 1993)
  • Metacognition enables students to benefit from instruction (Carr, Kurtz, Schneider, Turner & Borkowski, 1989; Van Zile-Tamsen, 1996) and influences the use and maintenance of cognitive strategies
    "According to Flavell (1979, 1987), metacognition consists of both metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive experiences or regulation. Metacognitive knowledge refers to acquired knowledge about cognitive processes, knowledge that can be used to control cognitive processes. Flavell further divides metacognitive knowledge into three categories: knowledge of person variables, task variables and strategy variables."
    Sternberg defined intelligence as mental activity central to one's life in real-world environments; individuals "succeed" in life when they use mental skills to adapt to, select, and shape external environments. Correspondingly, in the late 1990s, Sternberg changed the name of the theory to the Theory of Successful Intelligence. As per its original name, the theory comprises three types of intelligence: analytical (also referred to as componential); practical (also referred to as contextual) and creative (also referred to as experiential).
David McGavock

Mindfulness-the unconventional research of psychologist Ellen Langer | Harvard Magazine... - 13 views

  • Langer had already shown that memory loss—a problem often blamed on aging—could be reversed by giving elderly people more reasons to remember facts; when success was rewarded with small gifts, or when researchers made efforts to create personal relationships with their subjects, elderly memory performance improved.
  • she and Yale colleague Judith Rodin found that simply giving nursing-home residents plants to take care of, as well as control over certain decisions—where they would meet guests, what activities to do—not only improved their subjects’ psychological and physical health, but also their longevity: a year and a half later, fewer of those residents had died.
  • What she found, however, surprised even her own team of researchers.
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  • Both groups were stronger and more flexible. Height, weight, gait, posture, hearing, vision—even their performance on intelligence tests had improved. Their joints were more flexible, their shoulders wider, their fingers not only more agile, but longer and less gnarled by arthritis. But the men who had acted as if they were actually back in 1959 showed significantly more improvement. Those who had impersonated younger men seemed to have bodies that actually were younger.
  • The physiological results provided evidence for a simple but invaluable fact: the aging process is indeed less fixed than most people think.
  • “Wherever you put the mind, the body will follow,”
  • Most often, she’s asked to lecture on that eponymous subject, an idea she has been refining since the late 1970s. “Mindfulness” might evoke the teachings of Buddhism, or meditative states, and indeed, the name and some of these concepts do overlap. But Langer’s version is strictly nonmeditative (“The people I know won’t sit still for five minutes, let alone 40,” she quips). Hers is a simple prescription to keep your mind open to possibility.
  • Mindfulness, she tells the medical school audience, is the process of actively noticing new things, relinquishing preconceived mindsets, and then acting on the new observations.
  • Mindlessness blinds us to new possibilities, says Langer, and that is what drove her to study its flip side. Often, researchers in psychology describe what is, she explains. “But knowing what is and what can be are not the same things.”
  • “If I can make one dog yodel, then we can say that yodeling is possible in dogs,” she is fond of saying, and she applies that reasoning to what she now calls her “counterclockwise” study.
  • “[The results at the monastery] do not show us that everyone who talks about the past will show the same results,” she writes in her latest book, Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility (2009). “[They do] tell us, however, that it is possible to achieve these kinds of improvements, but only if we try.”
  • Her dissertation on perceived control examined the factors that make people believe they will succeed in games of chance. She set up a lottery and found that people who chose their own numbers considered them more valuable (in one measure, she says, if someone else took “their” numbers, people tried to buy them back).
  • “People don’t always realize her influence, but her lottery-ticket study made its way into thinking on many important economic concepts,” says Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at Duke.
  • “People in the field were concerned with the different ways people think,” says Langer, “and I questioned whether, and on which occasions, we might not be thinking at all.” Langer’s dissertation and her subsequent work, says Salovey, turned that concept on its head: instead of cognition determining behavior, Langer showed that thinking—and sometimes the absence of it—often emerges from behavior.
  • the field of social psychology generally views Langer as a pioneer who helped usher in a new paradigm. “[Langer] pointed out that social inference is not always a conscious and deliberate act; rather it is often the province of mindless automata,”
  • Langer’s work has also earned its share of skeptics.
  • Langer and her colleagues were not able to bring other “vacationing” comparison groups to the monastery. “We cannot be sure just to what to attribute these changes,” she wrote.
  • Today, she attributes the results to mindfulness, and the “why” she says, is not the central question. “What matters here is what actually happened,” she explains. “Men who changed their perspective changed their bodies.” Context, she says, is everything.
  • Langer believes that the more we adhere to labels and categories, the less open we are to possibility. “What if we called alcoholism an allergy instead of a disease?” she asks in Counterclockwise.
  • Doctors don’t know when a patient will die, they know only what studies of other people have told them statistically. A “terminal” diagnosis, she says, may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. No records tell how often doctors’ prognoses are wrong.
  • Langer often includes a PowerPoint slide with a quotation from Arthur Schopenhauer: “All research passes through three phases. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”
  • “Virtually all the world’s ills boil down to mindlessness,” she says. If you can understand someone else’s perspective, then there’s no reason to be angry at them, envy them, steal from them. Mindfulness, she believes, is a tool for the masses that can prop open our minds.
    "As a young professor of psychology, Langer hoped to document through these men what she had long suspected: that our fixed ideas, internalized in childhood, can affect the way we age."
Eldritch Crank

Amping Up Brain Function: Transcranial Stimulation Shows Promise in Speeding Up Learnin... - 10 views

    The new studies reported at this meeting suggest that there is far more to speed learning produced by TDCS than can be explained by the placebo effect. And the evidence now shows that TDCS produces physical changes in the brain's structure as well as physiological changes in its response. TDCS increases cortical excitability, which can be measured in recordings of brain waves, and it also causes changes in the structure of the brain's connections that can be observed on an MRI. By using electricity to energize neural circuits in the cerebral cortex, researchers are hopeful that they have found a harmless and drug-free way to double the speed of learning.
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