Learning Sciences of Change

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Archive for the ‘Cognition’ Category

The Cognitive Behavioral Miracle – Controlling your Emotions

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The principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are based on a very simple idea: we feel according to what we think, in other words, our thoughts and cognitive constructions are at the root of our emotions and behavior patterns. CBT is based on three fundamental propositions:

  • Cognitive activity affects behavior;
  • Cognitive activity may be monitored and altered; and
  • Desired behavior change may be effected through cognitive change.

CBT is a fundamentally empowering approach, in that it has successfully identified certain ways of thinking that can make the difference between sanity and insanity, between happiness and unhappiness, and it has developed a variety of techniques to teach patients to substitute these dysfunctional patterns of thinking, which are often at the root of their problems.

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Written by learningchange

14/04/2014 at 13:43

Posted in Cognition, Emotions

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Cognitive Culture – theoretical and empirical insights into Social Learning Strategies

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Research into social learning (learning from others) has expanded significantly in recent years, not least because of productive interactions between theoretical and empirical approaches. This has been coupled with a new emphasis on learning strategies, which places social learning within a cognitive decision-making framework. Understanding when, how and why individuals learn from others is a significant challenge, but one that is critical to numerous fields in multiple academic disciplines, including the study of social cognition.

Clearly, the study of social learning strategies is a rapidly growing field with implications for multiple fields of research. The empirical studies reviewed here reveal the subtlety and complexity of the learning strategies used by humans. An important contribution of this work, in parallel with studies on non-humans, is to challenge the notion of a single best strategy, or a strategy associated with a particular type of individual, or species. Rather, recent work  emphasizes instead the way in which the flexible context-dependent use of a range of subtle biases is a general feature of social learning, in both humans and other animals. Infuture, this should inspire theoretical researchers in turn to take on the challenge of incorporating meta-strategies into their models.

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Written by learningchange

05/04/2014 at 10:39

Cognitive Abilities in Chimpanzees and Humans

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The purpose of the present study was to determine the efficacy of investigating spatial cognitive abilities across two primate species using virtual reality. In this study, we presented four captive adult chimpanzees and 16 humans (12 children and 4 adults) with simulated environments of increasing complexity and size to compare species’ attention to visuo‐spatial features during navigation. The specific task required participants to attend to landmarks in navigating along routes in order to localize the goal site. Both species were found to discriminate effectively between positive and negative landmarks. Assessing path efficiency revealed that both species and all age groups used relatively efficient, distance reducing routes during navigation. Compared to the chimpanzees and adult humans however, younger children’s performance decreased as maze complexity and size increased. Surprisingly, in the most complex maze category the humans’ performance was less accurate compared to one female chimpanzee. These results suggest that the method of using virtual reality to test captive primates, and in particular, chimpanzees, affords significant cross‐species investigations of spatial cognitive and developmental comparisons.

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Written by learningchange

12/03/2014 at 19:53

Posted in Cognition, Humans

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What scientific concept will improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?

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Every year for more than a decade, intellectual impresario and Edge editor John Brockman has been asking the era’s greatest thinkers a single annual question, designed to illuminate some important aspect of how we understand the world. In 2010, he asked how the Internet is changing the way we think. In 2011, with the help of psycholinguist Steven Pinker and legendary psychologist Daniel Kahneman, he posed an even grander question: What scientific concept will improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? The answers, featuring a wealth of influential scientists, authors, and thought-architects, were recently released in This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking – a formidable anthology of short essays by 151 of our time’s biggest thinkers on subjects as diverse as the power of networks, cognitive humility, the paradoxes of daydreaming, information flow, collective intelligence, and a dizzying, mind-expanding range in between. Together, they construct a powerful toolkit of meta-cognition — a new way to think about thinking itself.

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Read also: This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking

Written by learningchange

22/02/2012 at 17:00

Brain-Imaging Technique Predicts Who Will Suffer Cognitive Decline Over Time

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Cognitive loss and brain degeneration currently affect millions of adults, and the number will increase, given the population of aging baby boomers. Today, nearly 20 percent of people age 65 or older suffer from mild cognitive impairment and 10 percent have dementia.

UCLA scientists previously developed a brain-imaging tool to help assess the neurological changes associated with these conditions. The UCLA team now reports in the February issue of the journal Archives of Neurology that the brain-scan technique effectively tracked and predicted cognitive decline over a two-year period.

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Written by learningchange

20/02/2012 at 16:00

Posted in Brains, Cognition

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Puzzle Play Helps Boost Learning Math-Related Skills

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Children who play with puzzles between ages 2 and 4 later develop better spatial skills, a study by University of Chicago researchers has found. Puzzle play was found to be a significant predictor of spatial skill after controlling for differences in parents’ income, education and the overall amount of parent language input.

The children who played with puzzles performed better than those who did not, on tasks that assessed their ability to rotate and translate shapes,” said psychologist Susan Levine, a leading expert on mathematics development in young children.

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Written by learningchange

20/02/2012 at 15:00

Posted in Child, Cognition

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Freud’s Cognitive Revolution

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The received wisdom amongst scientifically-minded psychologists is that Freud is passé – a sad case of theoretical speculation gone wild. There is something right about this bleak assessment, but there is also more than a little wrong with it. Compare it with the view of Freud offered by Clark Glymour, a noted philosopher of science, in a paper entitled “Freud’s androids.” “Freud’s writings contain a philosophy of mind,” writes Glymour in a paper, “and indeed a philosophy of mind that addresses many of the issues about the mental that nowadays concern philosophers and ought to concern psychologists.”

“Freud’s thinking about the issues in philosophy of mind is often better than much of what goes on in contemporary philosophy, and it is sometimes ad good as the best. Some of this is dated, of course, by the limits of Freud’s scientific knowledge, but even when Freud had the wrong answer to a question, or refused to give an answer, he knew what the question was. And when he was deeply wrong, it was often for reasons that still make parts of cognitive psychology wrong.”

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Written by learningchange

20/02/2012 at 13:00

Posted in Cognition, Freud

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From Brain to Mind: Using Neuroscience to Guide Change in Education

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This book offers the reader an engrossing and coherent introduction to what neuroscience can tell us about cognitive development through experience, and its implications for education. Stating that educational change is underway and that the time is ripe to recognize that the primary objective of education is to understand human learning and that all other objectives depend on achieving this understanding, James Zull challenges the reader to focus on this purpose, first for her or himself, and then for those for whose learning they are responsible. In this work presents cognitive development as a journey taken by the brain, from an organ of organized cells, blood vessels, and chemicals at birth, through its shaping by experience and environment into potentially to the most powerful and exquisite force in the universe, the human mind. Zull begins his journey with sensory-motor learning, and how that leads to discovery, and discovery to emotion. He then describes how deeper learning develops, how symbolic systems such as language and numbers emerge as tools for thought, how memory builds a knowledge base, and how memory is then used to create ideas and solve problems. Along the way he prompts us to think of new ways to shape educational experiences from early in life through adulthood, informed by the insight that metacognition lies at the root of all learning. At a time when we can expect to change jobs and careers frequently during our lifetime, when technology is changing society at break-neck speed, and we have instant access to almost infinite information and opinion, he argues that self-knowledge, awareness of how and why we think as we do, and the ability to adapt and learn, are critical to our survival as individuals; and that the transformation of education, in the light of all this and what neuroscience can tell us, is a key element in future development of healthy and productive societies

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Written by learningchange

16/12/2011 at 02:59

Creativity in the Brain

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It has been said that creative intelligence is the ability to invent goals, projects, and plans-in other words, we might say, to invent the future.
 A reasonable assumption is that the creative process consists of the formation of new cognits (brain circuits) , that is, new network representations in the cortex. These representations result mostly from divergent thinking as opposed to convert thinking.
 Convergent thinking consists of inductive and deductive reasoning, which converge towards logical inferences and the solution of problems. Divergent thinking, on the other hand, is free of logical constraints, autonomous and to some extent free-floating, reliant on the imagination, and minimally anchored in the immediate reality. Creative cognits emerge mainly from divergent thinking ….

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Read also: Cortex and mind: unifying cognition

This book presents a unique synthesis of the current neuroscience of cognition by one of the world’s authorities in the field. The guiding principle to this synthesis is the tenet that the entirety of our knowledge is encoded by relations, and thus by connections, in neuronal networks of our cerebral cortex. Cognitive networks develop by experience on a base of widely dispersed modular cell assemblies representing elementary sensations and movements. As they develop cognitive networks organize themselves hierarchically by order of complexity or abstraction of their content. Because networks intersect profusely, sharing commong nodes, a neuronal assembly anywhere in the cortex can be part of many networks, and therefore many items of knowledge. All cognitive functions consist of neural transactions within and between cognitive networks. After reviewing the neurobiology and architecture of cortical networks (also named cognits), the author undertakes a systematic study of cortical dynamics in each of the major cognitive functions–perception, memory, attention, language, and intelligence….

Written by learningchange

16/12/2011 at 02:39

Ritalin and Other Cognitive-Enhancing Drugs Probably Won’t Make You Smarter

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Too much memory, attention or willpower, instead of making us into uber-geeks, might drive us the way of the wooly mammoth. Our gift as a species—what brought us on an evolutionary track from the Flintstones to Steve Jobs — relates to our capacity to allocate just enough cognitive resources to the task at hand to get the job done.

Most of today’s cognitive enhancers improve our ability to focus—but most benefits accrue to those with attention deficits. They allow the child with ADHD to learn the multiplication tables, but for those with average attention spans or better, these drugs can sometimes usher in comic mishaps.

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Written by learningchange

10/12/2011 at 18:32