Learning Sciences of Change

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Archive for the ‘Cognitive neuroscience’ Category

The Cognitive Neuroscience of Creativity: A Critical Review

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Cognitive neuroscience studies of creativity have appeared with increasing frequently in recent years. Yet to date, no comprehensive and critical review of these studies has yet been published. The first part of this article presents a quick overview of the 3 primary methodologies used by cognitive neuroscientists: electroencephalography (EEG), positron emission tomography (PET), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The second part provides a comprehensive review of cognitive neuroscience studies of creativity-related cognitive processes. The third part critically examines these studies; the goal is to be extremely clear about exactly what interpretations can appropriately be made of these studies. The conclusion provides recommendations for future research collaborations between creativity researchers and cognitive neuroscientists.

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Written by learningchange

13/07/2012 at 10:55

The Cognitive Science of Science: Explanation, Discovery, and Conceptual Change

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Many disciplines, including philosophy, history, and sociology, have attempted to make sense of how science works. In this book, Paul Thagard examines scientific development from the interdisciplinary perspective of cognitive science. Cognitive science combines insights from researchers in many fields: philosophers analyze historical cases, psychologists carry out behavioral experiments, neuro-scientists perform brain scans, and computer modelers write programs that simulate thought processes.

Thagard develops cognitive perspectives on the nature of explanation, mental models, theory choice, and resistance to scientific change, considering disbelief in climate change as a case study. He presents a series of studies that describe the psychological and neural processes that have led to breakthroughs in science, medicine, and technology. He shows how discoveries of new theories and explanations lead to conceptual change, with examples from biology, psychology, and medicine. Finally, he shows how the cognitive science of science can integrate descriptive and normative concerns; and he considers the neural underpinnings of certain scientific concepts.

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Read also: What Science Knows: And How It Knows It

Written by learningchange

18/06/2012 at 13:30

Everything You Thought You Knew About Learning Is Wrong

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Taking notes during class? Topic-focused study? A consistent learning environment? All are exactly opposite of the best strategies for learning. I recently had the good fortune to interview Robert Bjork, the director of the UCLA Learning and Forgetting Lab, a distinguished professor of psychology, and a massively renowned expert.

It turns out that everything I thought I knew about learning is wrong. First, he told me, think about how you attack a pile of study material. “People tend to try to learn in blocks,” Bjork said. “Mastering one thing before moving on to the next.” Instead of doing that Bjork recommends interleaving. The strategy suggest that instead of spending an hour working on your tennis serve, you mix in a range of skills like backhands, volleys, overhead smashes, and footwork. “This creates a sense of difficulty,” Bjork said. “And people tend not to notice the immediate effects of learning.”

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Written by learningchange

10/02/2012 at 13:00

Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation

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Mindfulness meditation, one type of meditation technique, has been shown to enhance emotional awareness and psychological flexibility as well as induce well-being and emotional balance. Scientists have also begun to examine how meditation may influence brain functions. This talk will examine the effect of mindfulness meditation practice on the brain systems in which psychological functions such as attention, emotional reactivity, emotion regulation, and self-view are instantiated. We will also discuss how different forms of meditation practices are being studied using neuroscientific technologies and are being integrated into clinical practice to address symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.

Written by learningchange

05/01/2012 at 21:22

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

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

A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain

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Embodied cognition, the idea that the mind is not only connected to the body but that the body influences the mind, is one of the more counter-intuitive ideas in cognitive science. In sharp contrast is dualism, a theory of mind famously put forth by Rene Descartes in the 17th century when he claimed that “there is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible… the mind or soul of man is entirely different from the body.” In the proceeding centuries, the notion of the disembodied mind flourished. From it, western thought developed two basic ideas: reason is disembodied because the mind is disembodied and reason is transcendent and universal. However, as George Lakoff and Rafeal Núñez explain:

Cognitive science calls this entire philosophical worldview into serious question on empirical grounds… [the mind] arises from the nature of our brains, bodies, and bodily experiences. This is not just the innocuous and obvious claim that we need a body to reason; rather, it is the striking claim that the very structure of reason itself comes from the details of our embodiment… Thus, to understand reason we must understand the details of our visual system, our motor system, and the general mechanism of neural binding.

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Written by learningchange

20/11/2011 at 21:38

The Significance of Gerald Edelman’s Cognitive Neuroscience

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Cognitive neuroscience proposes that the quality of an external object is always already projected onto that object by the neuronal activity of the brain. What cognitive neuroscience lacks is a historical context, likewise what cultural studies lacks is an organic basis. An interaction between psychoanalysis, linguistics, philosophy, cultural studies, and cognitive neuroscience can break out of the closure of the humanities and give birth to the link which has come to be considered missing, between nature and nurture, organic and inorganic, empirical and conceptual, epistemological and ontological, transcendental and immanent, the objective and the subjective.

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