Yearly Archives: 2022

Downside to Oxytocin

Warning: Misguided Neuroscience Ahead

I recently ran across a version* of this chart: As you can see, this chart lists several neurotransmitters and makes recommendations based on their purported roles. If you want to feel love, you should increase oxytocin. To do so, play

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Thrivers by Michele Borba

Michele Borba begins this book by making a very important distinction: we have sought to raise children who strive, but while strivers can reach for more, they are left feeling empty and with dwindling psychological reserves when their goals are

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African American student wearing a bow tie, hand to forehead, looking frustrated and disappointed

The Limitations of Retrieval Practice (Yes, You Read That Right)

Last week, I wrote that “upsides always have downsides.” That is: anything that teachers do to foster learning (in this way) might also hamper learning (in that way). We should always be looking for side effects. So, let me take

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Thumbs Up Thumbs Down

Upsides Always Have Downsides: “Side Effects” in Education Research

Here at Learning and the Brain, we believe that research can improve education. Specifically, research into psychology (“how the mind works”) and neuroscience (“how the brain works”) can help teachers and schools. After all, we spend all day working with

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Teacher at Whiteboard

Getting the Details Just Right: Retrieval Practice

Can we ever research a topic too much? Can we reach a point where, well, there’s nothing really more to say about teaching better and learning more? Perhaps, for instance, we’ve reached peak retrieval practice. Blog readers – and conference

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Family walking toward camera in autumn woods

Walking Promotes Creativity? A Skeptic Weighs In…

When teachers try to use psychology research in the classroom, we benefit from a balance of optimism and skepticism. I confess, I’m often the skeptic. When I hear that – say – “retrieval practice helps students learn,” I hope that’s

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ADHD and Asperger Syndrome in Smart Kids and Adults by Thomas Brown

In ADHD and Asperger Syndrome in Smart Kids and Adults: Twelve Stories of Struggle, Support, and Treatment, Thomas Brown shares engaging and informative stories of gifted individuals with ADHD. This series of case studies takes on the traditional definitions and

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Student Holding Clock

The Most Important 5 Minutes in Class: The Primacy/Recency Effect

As we put our lesson plans together, we teachers want to know: are some minutes more valuable than others? That is: Do students remember most at the 10-minute mark of the lesson, because they’re mentally revved up? Or, perhaps they

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The Roman Coloseum on a sunny day, with lots of people in view

Working Memory in Everyday Life

Imagine this scenario: you’re standing in the CVS toothpaste aisle, trying to decide. You think you should be able to recognize something familiar, but honestly there are so many choices. Which brand are you loyal to? Do you want mint?

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Student lying in bed listening to music on earphones

Earworms and Sleep: What Will They Research Next?

Just last week, I spoke with middle- and upper-school students about learning. We all know — and these students certainly know — that learning is hard. So, does cognitive science have any practical suggestions to help them study and learn? Yes, reader,

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