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37

Negative Transfer A common scientific term to describe what you are talking about is called negative transfer. I.e., where learning one skill actually results in lower performance on another skill. This is contrasted with positive transfer, when learning one skill facilitates performance on another skill. In general (although I don't have refs on hands) ...


18

The answer to this question will depend on how you construe 'cognitive abilities.' For instance, for certain formulations the answer is trivially yes: an economist who learns psychology may come away with psychological knowledge that could help his economics, like how to space out his studying to maximally improve retention; or how to deal with the ...


12

According to current models of human concept learning, the answer to your question is both. Think of a simplified domain in which every object consists of only several features, and therefore can be visualized as a point in some multidimensional feature space. For example, the features that define objects might be its size, shape, color, and weight. ...


11

It is possible for some people to think in a second language. And given that you are asking about possibility, to some extent anecdotes are evidence. Many children who change linguistic communities at a young age lose the ability to talk in their first language. This is particularly the case where the first language is different to the language in which ...


10

I wouldn't worry about "running out" of room in our brain. We often forget things just because we don't need to know them, similar to . There are plenty of human savants that display apparently "unlimited" capacities of certain forms of memory, such as Hyperthymesia where one has a seemingly perfect amount of recall of autobiographical details (not to be ...


10

Taken from a purely practical viewpoint, there is a finite number of neurons in the brain, with a finite (though large) number of connections between them. As such, a brain can only contain a finite amount of information. The more that one attempts to learn, the more that the connections between neurons will get obscured as a single memory or idea becomes ...


10

Although I don't know any publications exactly on that matter it is possible to be true. So please treat this as a speculation. People with Asperger Syndrome (or High-Functioning Autism) have higher attention to detail and tend to build more rigid structures in their minds (while neurotypicals may have more error-tolerant but less efficient structures). So ...


10

There are two types of learning - knowledge and skills. Knowledge can be used in many different contexts, but skills are extremely narrow and precise. For example, subjects trained in memorizing numbers do not have any better ability at memorizing lists of words than untrained individuals. We tend to think that practicing mental tasks must also have some ...


10

SVM training is typically done in a batch processing, and thus the order of data presentation doesn't matter. You should consider online learning algorithms, for example, the perceptron learning rule. These algorithms are in general stochastic gradient descent optimization procedures, and easy examples early on with larger learning step would be much more ...


9

A few quick points: There is a massive empirical literature that shows that fairly strong correlations are obtained between IQ and important real world outcomes, perhaps most notably educational and job performance, often in the r = .5 range (see here for a summary). Correlations with learning are complicated by what we mean by learning. In particular, if ...


9

It's a local rule. All that it means is that the connection between two neurons gets stronger if you use that specific connection more. The specific connection (the synapse) must be used though; it doesn't apply to two random neurons that aren't connected that happen to fire at the same time. Hebbian learning is generic term for outcome; there are ...


9

A recent senior thesis by Schoen (2012) addressed this exact question. Students watched a filmed lecture and were randomly assigned to take notes with either by typing or handwriting. After the lecture, students were given a few distractor tasks, and then given a retention test. Other students were assigned to take notes from a textbook, instead of a ...


8

An excellent question! A 2011 paper in Science by Karpicke and Blunt in the Cognition and Learning Lab at Purdue University gets at this issue. They offer that: "Concept mapping is considered an active learning task, and it serves as an elaborative study activity when students construct concept maps in the presence of the materials they are learning. ...


8

What you're thinking of is called an Intermittent Reinforcement Schedule. Different Reinforcement schedules have different effects, variable ratio in particular seems to be what you're getting at: a reinforcement schedule in which the number of responses necessary to produce reinforcement varies from trial to trial What's important is the behavior is ...


8

Is it possible to stop the conscious act of translating your native language to your second language or vice versa? Many people have already commented that they certainly experience thinking in several languages. While this sort of phenomenal insight is interesting in itself, one key idea from cognitive science research is that introspection is not ...


8

I assume that the group that spends 100% of their time studying real analysis and 0% of their time doing n-back training will do best in any subsequent real analysis course. Cognitive skill acquisition does not generalise all that much (for a review see VanLehn, 1996). Transfer is often limited. I'm sceptical of any claims that short term training can lead ...


8

I think your intuition might be correct. According to Hal Pashler, there is no real evidence for learning styles. The authors do not state that one particular learning style is applicable to everyone. Instead, they conclude that a particular subject may have a preferred learning style. For example, essay writing would have a preferred "verbal" learning ...


7

First, the concept of optimality of a learning curve is not well defined. You can measure at least 3 different aspects of learning: Speed of learning Time before extinction Performance at peak Of course, there may be other measures as well, and any combination of such measure may also be a legitimate measure for certain uses. Conditioned Taste Aversion ...


7

Concept mapping is a way of reviewing the material, depending on the study it may be significantly better than other forms of review, though not all studies I read found that superiority. The most popular theory for its claimed superiority is that it also organizes the information better for recall; most of the papers that found concept mapping better than ...


7

One thing that comes to mind is the discussion over why English-speaking people think submarines cannot swim, while they think airplanes can fly. Supposedly in Russian, though, they do refer to submarines as "swimming." Meanwhile, we ask whether computers can think, without really realizing that this question turns out to be simply a question about ...


7

To take your concrete examples, there are several broad distinctions relevant to comparing a task like chess and a task like playing Pac Man. Cognitive versus psychomotor skill Research on learning and task performance is divided into various domains of tasks. Two such domains are cognitive, of which chess would be an example, and psychomotor, of which ...


7

Principles of optimal practice duration from the expertise literature The expertise literature and its discussion of deliberate practice provides substantial guidance on the question of optimal practice duration. As Ericsson et al (2006) summarised: elite performers search continuously for optimal training activities, with the most effective duration ...


7

There are (at least) two ways epigenetic traits are inherited. The important background in both cases is gene expression: there is a misconception that genes are for this or that, where the reality is that most traits come from an overlap of several genes expressing themselves in different ratios. As a simple example, consider two varieties of bird of the ...


6

The research literature on stress in general and burnout in particular would be relevant. The stress literature is massive and there are studies that have a particular focus on students. For example Jacobs and Dodd did a study on college student burnout: Measures of social support (Multidimen- sional Scale of Perceived Social Support), personality ...


6

Fernando et al. (2008) proposed a neuronal mechanism to copy network topologies from one region of the brain to another which is based on Spike Timing Dependent Placticity (STDP) and argue that the mechanism of neuronal copying is a neuronal implementation of causal inference. Fernando C, Karishma KK, Szathm√°ry E. (2008) Copying and evolution of neuronal ...


6

I think it would be unfair to reduce this effect to a single number-- most certainly, it depends on the task at hand, as well as a number of other factors. To give a rough idea, though, you may want to look at Richland et al. (2005) who found roughly a 25% increase in retention on a knowledge test when using interleaving. Also noted in this article, ...


6

It sounds like you are interested in the Spacing Effect. A search on Google Scholar for "spacing effect" for articles published since the year 2000 yields over 2500 articles some of which might be worth pursuing. Perhaps you might want to start by having a read through the meta-analysis in Psychological Bulletin by Cepeda et al (2006). To quote the ...


6

In general, parental involvement/engagement has lots of positive social, emotional, cognitive, and academic effects for a child's development. Some evidence suggests that the positive effects of relatively general factors like improved parent-child relationship, increasing motivation and (positive) expectations, etc., are stronger than the specific benefits ...


6

Another way of thinking about this is that by progressing easy-to-hard, different intermediate knowledge structures are called into existence in the course of processing. These knowledge structures, built from an agent's encounter with easy problems, can prove useful in its encounter with subsequent and more difficult problems. This idea has been around ...



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