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

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

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

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

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?

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,

“No Cameras Allowed:” Does Taking Pictures During Lectures Benefit Learning?

Should students use cameras to take pictures of boardwork? My high school students know my fierce anti-cell-phone policy. Nonetheless, they do occasionally ask if they may take a quick picture. (I typically say yes, and then check to be sure

It’s Funny (but It’s Not): Our Instincts about Learning are Often Badly Wrong

Every now and then, research is just plain funny. Here’s the story: If you’ve spent even a hot minute at a Learning and the Brain conference, you know that multitasking is not a thing. When we undertake two cognitively demanding

Behind their Screens What Teens Are Facing (and Adults Are Missing) by Emily Weinstein and Carrie James

So, you think you know what effect social media has on teens? There is one problem: too much screen time. Many of us have very strong opinions like this mostly developed through poor media coverage of the research, but you

Test Anxiety: How and When Does It Harm Students?

When our students learn, we naturally want them to show us what they’ve learned. Most schools rely, in varying degrees, on tests. The logic seems simple: if students know something, they can demonstrate their knowledge on this quiz, or test, or exam.