Monthly Archives: February 2019

“Mindset Bull****,” “Gimmicks,” and Other Unhelpful Critiques

My friend Cindy Nebel has a thoughtful post about a recent article at TES. Here’s the backstory: a world-famous geneticist has dismissed research into Mindset as “bullshit” and “gimmicks.” Now, reasonable people have their doubts about Mindset Theory. We’ve written



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Good News! Contradictory Research on Desirable Difficulties…

As we regularly emphasize here on the blog, attempts to recall information benefit learning. That is: students might study by reviewing material. Or, they might study with practice tests. (Or flashcards. Perhaps Quizlet.) Researchers call this technique “retrieval practice,” and



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Is Your Classroom Worth More Than $10,000?

Here’s a remarkable story about potentially falsified research data. The short version: researchers James Heathers and Nick Brown thought that Nicolas Guéguen’s research findings were both too sexy and too tidy. Too sexy: Guéguen’s findings regularly made great headlines. For instance,



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Healthy Snacks After Exercise? Depends on the Timing…

We’re likelier to make good snack choices before we exercise than after. This research finding gives us practical advice, and supports a well-known (but recently controversial) theory of self-control. Continue reading



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Welcome to San Francisco

If you’re a regular blog reader, you just might be a frequent Learning and the Brain conference attendee. (I got my start in 2007, and haven’t stopped since.) We’re gathering — starting tomorrow! — at the Fairmont Hotel in San



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There’s No Polite Way to Say “I Told You So”

Back in 2014, Pam Mueller and Dan Oppenheimer made headlines with their wittily titled study “The Pen Is Mightier Than The Keyboard.” In that study, they found that students learn more from taking handwritten notes during a lecture than from



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Can Creativity Be Taught? What’s the Formula?

My edutwitter feed has a lively debate about this question: can we teach people to be creative? This round started with a post by David Didau, summarizing a debate between himself and Paul Carney. Didau believes (oversimplifying here) that creativity



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Why Do Teachers Resist Research? And, Why Should We?

Let’s imagine that you show me research suggesting that students remember the words they draw better than the words they write down. After some thought…perhaps some experimentation on my own…I decide not to follow this research advice. Why did I



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Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me

We often post about the unreliability of “brain training.” Heck, even though I live in Boston and am a Patriots fan, I made fun of Tom Brady’s website claiming to “increase brain speed” and other such nonsense. (I don’t even



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The Joys (and Stresses) of Teacher/Neuroscientist Collaboration

In an ideal world, teachers and researchers collaborate to bring out the best in each other. So, I might invite Pooja Agarwal to study retrieval practice in my 10th grade English classroom. My students and I benefit because we learn



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