Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


The Best Way to Learn: Taking a Test?

What do you think is the best way to learn: Study­ing the mate­r­i­al repeat­ed­ly, draw­ing detailed dia­grams of what you are learn­ing, or tak­ing a test in which you recall what you have read?

A recent study pub­lished in Sci­ence and sum­ma­rized in this New York Times arti­cle found out that tak­ing a test was the best method!

stu­dents who read a pas­sage, then took a test ask­ing them to recall what they had read, retained about 50 per­cent more of the infor­ma­tion a week lat­er than stu­dents who used [the] two oth­er meth­ods. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning habits, learning styles: The most recent findings

For an excel­lent review of the most recent find­ings on learn­ing habits, check out The New York Times recent arti­cle: For­get What You Know About Good Study Habits. Tons of unex­pect­ed and fas­ci­nat­ing results!

The find­ings can help any­one, from a fourth grad­er doing long divi­sion to a retiree tak­ing on a new lan­guage. But they direct­ly con­tra­dict much of the com­mon wis­dom about good study habits, and they have not caught on. For instance, instead of stick­ing to one study loca­tion, sim­ply alter­nat­ing the room where a per­son stud­ies improves reten­tion.

Take the notion that chil­dren have spe­cif­ic learn­ing styles, that some are “visu­al learn­ers” and oth­ers are audi­to­ry; some are “left-brain” stu­dents, oth­ers “right-brain.” In a recent review of the rel­e­vant research, pub­lished in the jour­nal Psy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­ence in the Pub­lic Inter­est, a team of psy­chol­o­gists found almost zero sup­port for such ideas.

Com­ment: The way we learn mat­ters for two rea­sons: a) we need to effi­cient­ly retain some infor­ma­tion for the var­i­ous tasks we have to per­form every day, but also b) learn­ing induces neu­ro­plas­tic changes in the brain, which  in turn may increase our brain reserve and brain health (see our pri­or arti­cle on Brain Plas­tic­ity: How learn­ing changes your brain).

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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