Tag Archives: skepticism

Can You Resist The Seductive Allure of Neuroscience?

The seductive allure of neuroscience often blinds us. In fact, the image on the right shows the part of the brain — the focal geniculative nucleus — that lights up when we’re taken in by false neuroscience information. Ok, no



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Training Working Memory: Bad News, and Surprising Great News

Training working memory might be effective not because it increases WM, but because it gives participants a chance to figure out a successful strategy. If so, we can give students the same boost simply by telling them that strategy… Continue reading



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The Mindset Controversy: Is It Time to Give Up?

Few theories have gotten more teacherly attention than Carol Dweck’s work on Mindset. As you no doubt know, she has found that a “fixed mindset” (the belief that ability and intelligence can’t really change) demotivates people. On the other hand,



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Sleeplessness Harms Women’s Thinking More Than Men’s?

You can understand why this study lit up my twitter feed recently. It makes a remarkable claim: women — but not men — experience working memory declines after a sleepless night. Why We Care We have at least two powerful



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You Are Not a Nile Grass Rat…

Teachers should pay close attention to neuroscience and psychology research done on people. However, you should NEVER change your teaching practice based on research into non-human animals. Continue reading



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Surprise! Less Oxytocin Might Improve Social Interaction

A potential downside to oxytocin: it might harm social interactions. This specific research finding offers teachers a general reminder: be skeptical of simplistic teaching advice based on hormones. Continue reading



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Don’t Be Fooled by the Learning Pyramid Myth

The problem with the pyramid is not merely that it’s inaccurate, but that it’s incoherent.
The important lesson here goes beyond “always check the sources.” Instead, the point is “always check specific claims.”
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Foolish “Brain Training” Flim-Flam of the Day

Tom Brady’s new “Brain Training” Website looks a lot like earlier attempts to over-hype thinly supported brain research. Don’t fall for it. Continue reading



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Diagnosing ADHD with MRI

How do we know if a student has ADHD? Typically, we observe behavior. To what degree is the student inattentive? (That’s one kind of ADHD.) To what degree is s/he hyperactive? (That’s another type.) Perhaps the student demonstrates both kinds



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Now Even the New York Times Has It Wrong

Here’s a hypothetical situation: Let’s say that psychology researchers clearly demonstrate that retrieval practice helps students form long-term memories better than rereading the textbook does. However, despite this clear evidence, these researchers nonetheless emphatically recommend that students avoid retrieval practice



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