Tag Archives: skepticism

When Analogies Go Wrong: The Benefits of Stress?

An amazing discovery becomes an inspiring analogy: Researchers at BioSphere 2 noticed a bizarre series of events: their trees kept collapsing under their own weight. Why on earth would trees collapse? It doesn’t happen outside the BioSphere; so why would

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When Do We Trust the Experts? When They Don’t Trust Themselves!

Back in 2010, three scholars published a widely-discussed paper on “Power Poses.” The headlines: when people adopt a strong stance (say, fists on hips, like Superman), they… …take more risks in gambling tasks, …change various hormone levels, and …answer questions

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“Compared to What”: Is Retrieval Practice Really Better?

When teachers turn to brain research, we want to know: which way is better? Are handwritten notes better than laptop notes? Is cold-calling better than calling on students who raise their hands? Is it better to spread practice out over time,

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The 10-Minute Rule: Is The Lecture Dead?

The “10-minute rule” offers teachers practical guidance. It typically sounds something like this: If students aren’t intrinsically interested in material, they can pay attention to it for no more than 10 minutes. Ergo: teachers should do something different every ten

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When Evidence Conflicts with Teachers’ Experience

Here’s an interesting question: do students — on average — benefit when they repeat a grade? As you contemplate that question, you might notice the kind of evidence that you thought about. Perhaps you thought: “I studied this question in graduate school.

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EduTwitter Can Be Great. No, Really…

Twitter has a terrible reputation, and EduTwitter isn’t an exception. The misinformation. The name-calling. The “team” rivalries: all heat and little light. Did I mention the misinformation? You might wonder: why bother? Honestly, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. I

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How Psychologists and Teachers Can Talk about Research Most Wisely

Dr. Neil Lewis thinks a lot about science communication: in fact, his appointment at Cornell is in both the Psychology AND the Communications departments. (For a complete bio, click here.) He and Dr. Jonathan Wai recently posted an article focusing on

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Laptop Notes or Handwritten Notes? Even the New York Times Has It Wrong [Reposted]

Which helps students learn more: handwritten notes, or laptop notes? The best-known research on the subject might surprise you… Continue reading

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The Limits of “Desirable Difficulties”: Catching Up with Sans Forgetica

Can a hard-to-read font improve student learning? That’s a very strange question, but in 2019 we had some reasons to think the answer was “yes.” Just published research updates our understanding. Continue reading

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Unbearable Irony: When Dunning-Kruger Bites Back…

People who don’t know much about a topic typically overestimate their expertise. We call this the Dunning-Kruger Effect. So: what happens when someone who doesn’t know much about the Dunning-Kruger Effect tries to explain it? Brace yourself for an excess of irony. Continue reading

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