Monthly Archives: February 2017

Gender and Competition

According to new research, a key difference might be the choice of opponent.  Whereas men typically prefer to compete against others, women often choose to compete against themselves. (As always: be careful about oversimplifcation of gender roles. I myself am much likelier to



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Motivation Revolution?

Here’s the magic question: how can teachers help motivate students? After all, most of our students don’t lack the cognitive capacity to learn the material; instead, all too often, they lack the desire to do so. Frankly, those of us



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Cool Nerds

If you’re a Learning and the Brain devotee, you may have heard about p-values; you may even have heard about the “p-value crisis” in the social sciences — especially psychology. This white paper by Fredrik deBoer explains the problem, offers some



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The Routine Advantage

Following up on Rina Deshpande’s post looking at the benefits of cognitive routines, here’s a fun article about the upsides — and downsides — of creative changes to our daily habits. In brief: it seems that Dave Birss broke his



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Share Your LEARNING AND THE BRAIN Stories

Now that you’ve been to LaTB, we’d love to hear your story. What did you learn? What did you try? How did it go? If you’d like to share your experience, please send me an email with: Who you are



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A Fresh Desirable Difficulty?

Robert Bjork and Elizabeth Ligon Bjork have argued that the right kind of difficulty can facilitate ultimate learning. These difficulties–“desirable difficulties”–require extra cognitive engagement, and thereby promote long-term memory formation. Presenters at Learning and the Brain conferences often talk about



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The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey

Imagine your son leaving for school with his homework forgotten on the kitchen table or your daughter’s soccer coach consistently giving her less playing time than you think she deserves. Jessica Lahey, middle school teacher, New York Times columnist, and



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Ability Grouping: The Debate Continues

A recent meta-analysis of 100 years of research (you read that right — 100 years) suggests that both ability grouping and appropriate grade acceleration benefit students. Interestingly, the authors argue that ability grouping benefits students across the academic spectrum: “Overall, high-,



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When Does an Adolescent Become an Adult?

Neuroscientist Leah Somerville wrestles with the question: how can we measure, define, and mark the transition from adolescence to adulthood? (And, the New York Times ponders her questions.)



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Mind Wandering and the Default Mode Network

A clear and thoughtful article from the BBC.



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