For questions about acquiring new, or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences. Learning may involve synthesizing different types of information.

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36
votes
1answer
2k views

By learning to read and write upside down, what did I do to myself?

If you've ever read Encyclopedia Brown books, you'll be familiar with the backwards writing in the back of the book that explains the solution to the case. When I was in my mid-late teens (I don't ...
20
votes
5answers
611 views

Does learning one discipline improve performance in another discipline?

I have come across a lot of articles that suggest learning across disciplines would improve cognitive abilities. This is more often referred to as Integrative Learning. Also, nowadayas a lot of ...
16
votes
2answers
730 views

Applications of computational learning theory in the cognitive sciences

Computational learning theory (CoLT) is a branch of theoretical computer science associated with the mathematical analysis of machine learning. A lot of the early ideas of the field take inspiration ...
16
votes
1answer
245 views

How can I use gamification to encourage people to complete workplace training?

I am looking for ways to improve the likelihood people will perform mundane but required workplace training. I am looking into gamification techniques. My organisation requires that employees ...
14
votes
1answer
312 views

Does the effect of naturalistic exposure on second language acquisition vary with age?

A while back, I watched the movie The Terminal and the main character played by Tom Hanks learns to speak fluent English while he is stranded in the airport for more than a year. Which seems somewhat ...
13
votes
1answer
520 views

Does the transcription method used (e.g., printing, handwriting, typing, voice recording, etc.) affect memory retention?

When I was in high school, one of my teachers used to make us hand print copies of materials from transparencies on an overhead projector (I may be showing my age), with the reasoning that re-writing ...
12
votes
1answer
176 views

What does cognitive science say about whether to learn mathematics top-down from research papers?

There is currently a popular question on math.SE on whether it is effective to learn math top-down. By top-down I mean finding a paper that interests you which is obviously way over your head, ...
12
votes
1answer
245 views

Computational models of early learning in children

What are currently used biologically plausible computational models/frameworks of early learning in children? Personally, I have used cascade correlation neural nets to model pronoun acquisition ...
12
votes
1answer
124 views

Learning of new concepts being impeded by an error in previous work

Note: I'm framing this question in terms of tutoring math since that's what I tutor most, though it applies to a wide range of subject matters. I do a decent amount of tutoring, and this is one ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Is it possible to think in a second language?

Those who have learned a second language are guaranteed to consciously think of words and their corresponding meaning in your native language or vice versa. This is common with more "complex" ...
11
votes
4answers
330 views

Why is training better when following an easy-to-difficult schedule?

As suggested in the answer to this question, experimental results show that training is most effective when it follows an easy-to-difficult schedule. What theories and specifically computational ...
11
votes
3answers
299 views

How does the brain learn what something is for the first time?

I'm trying to understand how the idea of what a thing is originates in humans. For example, in computer science, it is possible to know what an object is and what it does, by examining its ...
11
votes
2answers
391 views

Is “brain training” effective?

We've had quite a few questions about "brain training" on this site (see questions tagged brain-training). And the effectiveness of "brain training" has been touched on in several questions (this ...
11
votes
2answers
543 views

What is the optimal repetition pattern to maximize long term memory?

Which is the appropriate repetition pattern to aid long term memory, in terms of time between study sessions? I have been reading about Ebbinghaus and doing some related research, but I can't find a ...
10
votes
3answers
400 views

Why are mind maps recommended for study and recap?

In both my last year of high school and my freshmen year at the university, I got strong recommendations to study using mind maps - especially because this is apparently better to cope with large ...
10
votes
1answer
124 views

Does teaching a bird an artificial task like eating from a feeder hurt its performance in the wild?

Can training a wild animal through operant conditioning somehow cause the animal to forget or be unable to perform tasks which it had perviously learned? Is it likely that training wild animals ...
10
votes
3answers
190 views

Is there any recent work on modeling how we rapidly acquire new knowledge?

I work with neural network models of human cognition a lot, and one thing that bugs me about them is the timescale: they learn over thousands of trials whereas humans seem to learn after a couple ...
10
votes
1answer
182 views

Are some methods of teaching reading “bad”?

I have a young daughter who I am teaching to read, and I was given a "Your Baby Can Read" DVD set by a friend. When discussing it with friends, several of my teacher friends frowned upon the use of ...
10
votes
1answer
153 views

Why do we become bored of stimuli after multiple exposures to it?

Why do we become bored of songs, films, stories, jokes, food after being exposed to them or experiencing them multiple times? Why is it when our cortex becomes adequate at predicting the outcomes of ...
10
votes
1answer
95 views

Why a person may have a temptation to do something unrelated when doing especially important thing?

I would like to know, why a person may have a temptation to do something unrelated (or slightly related to his current task) when doing particularly important job? Like, when preparing for an ...
9
votes
4answers
42 views

What are the key algorithms for learning optimal behavior of economic agents?

I'm playing around with social learning of near-optimal behavioral rules on a set of agents. The idea is roughly that given an income process (or technology process, depending on the question) an ...
9
votes
1answer
252 views

Is there a practical limit to the amount of knowledge a human can learn?

There's definitely progressive interference and retroactive interference, which are basically two ways that old memories and new memories can interfere with each other. But on the other hand, do ...
9
votes
1answer
114 views

Learning a language by Immersion

Immersion is the process by which children learn their native language, but it can also be used in educational settings. Apparently in some countries, where the official language is not the language ...
9
votes
1answer
149 views

Is there evidence that STDP is responsible for the ability to infer causation?

Spike timing dependent plasticity (STDP) is a property of synapses that modifies their efficacy based on timing relationships between action potentials in the pre-synaptic and post-synaptic neuron. A ...
9
votes
1answer
400 views

How do animals recognize other animals of their own species?

My motivation for this question is dog-based, but I suppose it would apply equally well to humans. How do animals recognize their own kind, particularly where there is large variation in appearance? ...
8
votes
1answer
115 views

Could Fitts Law be used to measure difficulty in platform genre games?

I've been learning about Fitts' law and am wondering if it's applicable to measuring the difficulty of platform type games where the challenge is to hit the platforms? If so, this could be used to ...
7
votes
2answers
96 views

Does not consistently providing a reward strengthen operant conditioning?

When learning about Operant Conditioning, I remember being taught that not consistently rewarding the desired behavior could (seemingly counterintuitively) actually increase the strength of learning ...
7
votes
2answers
134 views

Is there a learning style that involves learning best by teaching others?

Background: I'm familiar with the more common learning styles of hearing, seeing and doing. For lack of a better word I consider myself a 'vicarious' learner which is something similar to a ...
7
votes
1answer
90 views

Does identifying a student's sensory learning style and exploiting it result in significantly better performance?

Do people tend to have one pronounced sense (i.e., there is high variability in how strong the auditory, visual, olfactory etc. perception is among people) and can this sense, once identified, be ...
7
votes
1answer
121 views

Philosophy Meets Neuroscience: The Molyneux's Problem

Consider the Molyneux's problem "If a man born blind can feel the differences between shapes such as spheres and cubes, could he similarly distinguish those objects by sight if given the ability ...
7
votes
2answers
81 views

Will hearing but not listening to a video mentor help me learn?

I have a A+ video mentor that I got through school. I was wondering if playing the videos as if they were music and just going about the rest of my tasks on the computer would help me to learn the ...
7
votes
2answers
790 views

What is the average amount of new vocabulary adults retain when learning a second language?

What are the realistic/optimal (or maximal) number of words of vocabulary that can be learned (retained and later successfully accessed) by an adult learner of a foreign/second language? (Unit: Per ...
7
votes
0answers
180 views

Does dream recall interfere with “reverse learning”? (Crick and Mitchison's theory of REM sleep)

I've recently became aware of the idea of "reverse learning" that might happen during REM sleep - the brain's attempt to eliminate pathological attractors that might appear in neural networks. The ...
7
votes
0answers
182 views

'Model-free' learning in humans

In reinforcement learning, there is a stark distinction between model-based and model-free learning algorithms, where model-free methods don't make use any explicit information about the dynamics of ...
7
votes
0answers
44 views

What is the correlation between self and other ratings of goal orientation?

In educational psychology goal orientation is a popular construct. In particular popular dimensions of goal orientation include performance-approach, performance-avoidance, and mastery. The studies ...
6
votes
1answer
140 views

Hebbian Learning Rule, Local or Global?

I just learned about the Hebbian Learning Rule. It essentially says "Neurons that fire together, wire together". I'm wondering if the learning rule is affected by the spatial distance of the two ...
6
votes
1answer
75 views

How is epigenetic memory expressed in neurons?

Epigenetic memory is seen as the most evolutionarily plausible way of learning from experiences and gaining instinctual knowledge, as established by the answer to one of my previous questions. ...
6
votes
3answers
483 views

What causes a person to be curious, inquisitive and explorative?

Why do humans (primates) tend to be curious, inquisitive and explorative? They want to know things that they do not. They explore stuff in an attempt to find something new which makes them ...
6
votes
2answers
629 views

Is consistent dual n-back training likely to improve the performance of analysis (mathematics) students?

Suppose you isolate a class of undergraduate mathematics majors who are about to enroll in a semester of real analysis (rigorous, proof-based calculus) and split them into two groups. Then, you ...
6
votes
1answer
107 views

Which type of stimulus results in an optimal learning curve for rats and mice?

When using operant conditioning to train mice or rats, what type of stimulus is most effective? For example, does a negative reinforcement of a loud noise have a more profound effect than a negative ...
6
votes
2answers
131 views

Studies modelling learning curves of an overall task and subtasks

Background Lee and Anderson (2001) published an article in which they argued that learning a complex skill can be understood in terms of learning various component skills. They did this by ...
6
votes
2answers
391 views

What is the difference between solving a problem and acquiring a skill?

Within the confines of cognitive psychology, what is the difference between these two tasks? In the literature, playing chess is generally seen as the exemplar of problem solving. But recently (thanks ...
6
votes
1answer
327 views

Can learning be facilitated by transcranial magnetic stimulation?

I read a book a while ago called The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge (2007), and it brought to my attention a machine known as a transcranial magnetic stimulator (TMS) which can ...
6
votes
1answer
368 views

Is learning facts via audio while sleeping possible?

Is there a way to make onself remember facts from an audiobook (containing for instance a list of countries and their capitals) played out loud while sleeping?
6
votes
1answer
145 views

Is good short term memory correlated with good long term memory?

Is there any link between one's ability to store information in their short term memory, with their ability to store information in their long term memory?
6
votes
1answer
73 views

How do people estimate smoking's impact on their mortality?

I am working on a project that looks at how information about one's health affects smoking decisions. I have an economic background, and not familiar with the psychology literature. So my questions ...
6
votes
2answers
328 views

Are there any laws of memory?

Several years ago, my adviser wrote an article discussing the observation that a hundred years of studying memory had not resulted in the discovery of a "law" of memory. He wrote (p. 247): When ...
6
votes
1answer
67 views

Could neuroscientific knowledge and techiques be used to optimise peoples' education and learning?

Expanding upon this, I have two ideas behind this question - 1) that current knowledge of the brain and its workings (biochemically, biomechanically, physiologically etc) is in its infancy and that we ...
6
votes
1answer
142 views

Can one incubate on a specific idea in one's sleep?

In this question it is described that intentionally not thinking about a problem can allow the subsonscious to find an answer to the problem; this is known as incubation. I have heard and read it a ...
6
votes
2answers
222 views

How does syntax highlighting affect the learning of a new programming language?

What impact does syntax highlighting have on students' progress in learning a new programming language? I'm looking for studies along the lines of the following hypothetical experiment, which ...