Learning Sciences of Change

Learning Change Project: 8 Blogs, +7500 Readings

Archive for the ‘Cognitive psychology’ Category

Illusory Memories – A Cognitive Neuroscience Analysis

Memory illusions and distortions have long been of interest to psychology researchers studying memory, but neuropsychologists and neuroscientists have paid relatively little attention to them. This article attempts to lay the foundation for a cognitive neuroscience analysis of memory illusions and distortions by reviewing relevant evidence from a patient with a right frontal lobe lesion, patients with amnesia produced by damage to the medial temporal lobes, normal aging, and healthy young volunteers studied with functional neuroimaging techniques. Particular attention is paid to the contrasting roles of prefrontal cortex and medial temporal lobe structures in accurate and illusory remembering. Converging evidence suggests that the study of illusory memories can provide a useful tool for delineating the brain processes and systems involved in constructive aspects of remembering.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

February 10, 2016 at 5:39 pm

The Psychology and Neuroscience of Curiosity

Curiosity is a basic element of our cognition, but its biological function, mechanisms, and neural underpinning remain poorly understood. It is nonetheless a motivator for learning, influential in decision-making, and crucial for healthy development. One factor limiting our understanding of it is the lack of a widely agreed upon delineation of what is and is not curiosity. Another factor is the dearth of standardized laboratory tasks that manipulate curiosity in the lab. Despite these barriers, recent years have seen a major growth of interest in both the neuroscience and psychology of curiosity. In this Perspective, we advocate for the importance of the field, provide a selective overview of its current state, and describe tasks that are used to study curiosity and information-seeking. We propose that, rather than worry about defining curiosity, it is more helpful to consider the motivations for information-seeking behavior and to study it in its ethological context.

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Studies link between babies’ learning abilities and future development

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Newborns are born largely blind, with dark, blurry, colourless and two-dimensional vision, Tseng says. While in the womb, there is no chance to develop vision. But they respond to auditory cues, which is why the best way to connect with newborns is to talk to them. At two months, they start to see a bit of colour – mainly red and green. By six months, they can see in full colour, although images remain quite blurry. By one year, Tseng says, they can see almost as well as adults. We started to study infants because at first we didn’t believe that they could learn at such a young age,” says Tseng, who has a PhD in psychology from University of California, Irvine, and has spent most of her career studying perception, attention and learning in adults. “But so far I am convinced that infants have more cognitive learning ability than previously thought,” she says. Through the studies, the researchers are also beginning to understand the correlation between an infant’s learning ability and his or her future development.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

April 21, 2014 at 2:18 pm

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 Giorgio Bertini

December 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm

We’re blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know

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We’re blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We’re not designed to know how little we know. Most of the time, [trying to judge the validity of our own judgements] is not worth doing. But when the stakes are high, my guess is that asking for the advice of other people is better than criticising yourself, because other people are more likely – if they’re intelligent and knowledgeable – to understand your motives and your needs.

I’m not a great believer in self-help. The role of my book is to educate gossip, to make people more sophisticated in the way they think about the decisions and judgments of other people, which is easy and pleasant to do. If we have a society in which people had a richer language in which to talk about these issues, I think it would have an indirect effect on people’s decisions, because we constantly anticipate the gossip of others.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

November 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm

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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Written by Giorgio Bertini

November 6, 2011 at 9:14 pm

More Than Child’s Play: Ability to Think Scientifically Declines as Kids Grow Up

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Young children think like researchers but lose the feel for the scientific method as they age.

Since the 1990s studies have shown that children think scientifically—making predictions, carrying out mini experiments, reaching conclusions and revising their initial hypotheses in light of new evidence. But while children can play in a way that lets them ascertain cause and effect, and even though they have a rudimentary sense of probability (eight-month-olds are surprised if you reach into a bowl containing four times as many blue marbles as white ones and randomly scoop out a fistful of white ones), it was not clear whether they have an implicit grasp of a key strategy of experimental science: that by isolating variables and testing each independently, you can gain information.

Written by Giorgio Bertini

September 22, 2011 at 1:18 am

Creativity, Problem Solving and Innovative Science: Insights from History, Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience

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This paper examines the intersection between creativity, problem solving, cognitive psychology and neuroscience in a discussion surrounding the genesis of new ideas and innovative science. Three creative activities are considered. These are (a) the interaction between visual-spatial and analytical or verbal reasoning, (b) attending to feeling in listening to the ‘self’, and (c) the interaction between conscious and non-conscious reasoning. Evidence for the importance of each of these activities to the creative process is drawn from (a) historical and introspective accounts of novel problem solving by noted scientists and mathematicians; (b) cognitive psychology and neuroscience; and (c) a recent empirical study of novel mathematics problem solving. An explanation of these activities is given in terms of cognitive neuroscience. A conceptual framework connecting each  of these activities is presented and the implications for learning and teaching considered.

Written by Giorgio Bertini

May 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm

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