Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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In the Age of Google, Should Schools Teach Memorization Skills?

As school is about to resume, peo­ple are reminded of their strong opin­ions about how to fix schools: more fund­ing, bet­ter teach­ers, less gov­ern­ment inter­fer­ence, more gov­ern­ment inter­fer­ence, etc. But the one obvi­ous, and never-stated prob­lem, is that stu­dents don’t remem­ber what they are taught. In spite of all the “teach­ing to the test” that par­ents and teach­ers com­plain about, stu­dents still don’t remem­ber the very things they were taught as answers to test questions.

The rea­son they don’t remem­ber is that they are not taught how to mem­o­rize. Why is that? Read the rest of this entry »

Enhance Metacognition and Problem-Solving by Talking Out Loud to Yourself

The MC at the Uni­ver­sity of Michigan’s reunion din­ner encour­aged audi­ence mem­bers to reveal the most sig­nif­i­cant take-away from their under­grad­u­ate nurs­ing edu­ca­tion. The great­est ben­e­fit was quickly clear to me — problem-solving think­ing. Mem­ory pro­duced a mind video: a short, dark-haired, nurs­ing instruc­tor lec­tur­ing a small group of first year stu­dents in an empty patient room. “Don’t mem­o­rize the steps of ster­ile tech­nique. Use a problem-solving think­ing process.” She described the sequen­tial, cycli­cal process: define the prob­lem, gather infor­ma­tion, develop a solu­tion strat­egy, allo­cate resources, mon­i­tor progress, and eval­u­ate the solu­tion. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Contrasting Brain Growth in Baby Humans and Baby Chimpanzees

Chart­ing Brain Growth in Humans and Chimps (New York Times):
– “Although baby humans and baby chim­panzees both start out with unde­vel­oped fore­brains, a new study reports that the human brain increases in vol­ume much more rapidly early on.“
– “The growth is in a region of the brain known as the pre­frontal cor­tex and is part of what makes humans cog­ni­tively advanced com­pared with other ani­mals, includ­ing the chim­panzee, our clos­est rel­a­tive. The pre­frontal cor­tex plays a major role in decision-making, self-awareness and cre­ative thinking.”

–> To learn more about study Dif­fer­en­tial Pre­frontal White Mat­ter Devel­op­ment in Chim­panzees and Humans: click Here (requires subscription).

–> To explore what may have hap­pened oth­er­wise, you may want to watch the new movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

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