Questions tagged [learning]

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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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 ...
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58 votes
3 answers
18k views

If babies were isolated, would they develop their own language?

Let’s say that two or more babies/infants from the age of 0 were put in an environment without the affection of adults to teach them how to speak. Would the babies after 13 or so years develop their ...
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30 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
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25 votes
2 answers
3k views

Are spaced flashcards effective for learning?

Several apps and sites offer flashcard-based learning that repeat the cards you do poorly on over a period of time (the more inaccurate the answer the closer to each other the repetitions are). One ...
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23 votes
2 answers
15k 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" ...
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23 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
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19 votes
1 answer
537 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 ...
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19 votes
1 answer
557 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 ...
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19 votes
1 answer
580 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 ...
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17 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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17 votes
1 answer
657 views

Is abstract knowledge incompatible with literal memorization?

Let me describe 2 interesting cases : Solomon Shereshevsky (Luria, 1968) had an almost perfect literal memory. He remembers strings of hundreds of digits for years after only having read them once. I ...
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15 votes
3 answers
215 views

Is there any study on the effectiveness of taking notes in a lecture vs taking notes on written materials?

In many lectures I heard, I basically copied the lecture notes of the professor from the board into my notebook (I study mathematics). For me those lectures are comparable with going into the library, ...
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15 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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15 votes
1 answer
335 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, ...
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15 votes
1 answer
321 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 in ...
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14 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
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14 votes
3 answers
368 views

Does chess enhance cognitive abilities?

Some texts advise playing chess with children and mature people. Should I take them seriously, and why should chess boost intellect? For instance, I would like to be able to read and understand ...
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14 votes
1 answer
986 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 ...
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13 votes
4 answers
4k views

Cognitive Science podcasts to follow

I'm currently trying to find interesting Cognitive Science related podcasts to follow. Only one I've found is You are not so smart. Does anyone know anything else? Preferably in English. If the ...
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13 votes
3 answers
664 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 "parent/...
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13 votes
1 answer
519 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 ...
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13 votes
1 answer
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What is the ACT-R model of learning?

I am reading this paper titled: Effect of Temporal Spacing between Advertising Exposures In this paper, the author mentions the ACT-R model and how it explains an ...
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12 votes
3 answers
278 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 ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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Why has behaviourism fallen out of favour?

The reasons for behaviourism as a philosophy and school of psychology to have fallen out of favour are well known and documented. However, when Newton's view of gravity was replaced by general ...
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12 votes
1 answer
153 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 ...
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  • 301
12 votes
1 answer
152 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 ...
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  • 171
12 votes
1 answer
436 views

How do cooperative vs. competitive activities impact the learning patterns of an individual?

To what extent does cooperative versus competitive learning influence personality development or even pathological behaviors? If these activities need to be narrowed down to a specific category, I'm ...
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12 votes
1 answer
134 views

How do our emotions toward a subject affect our brain activity within similar activities?

I'll bring an example: there are people who love to dance and could do it for hours. Yet, if you'd make them run a long distance they would get tired really soon just because they don't like running ...
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  • 141
11 votes
3 answers
816 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 ...
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11 votes
3 answers
6k views

Is it possible to master two different typing keyboard layouts?

I am a good typist with qwerty keyboard, I came across other keyboard layouts (eg: Dvorak keyboard). I believe I will never be able to master these two typing layouts simultaneously. Am I right? or ...
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11 votes
1 answer
448 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 ...
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  • 355
11 votes
4 answers
129 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 ...
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11 votes
1 answer
173 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 ...
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11 votes
1 answer
258 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 ...
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11 votes
1 answer
268 views

Are association, conditioning, and symbolic learning the same thing?

Symbols: Our brains are able to understand that some things stand for other things. For example, the sound we make when we say "food" stands for things we can eat. And with writing, we can say that ...
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11 votes
1 answer
285 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 ...
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11 votes
1 answer
385 views

Cognitive models for transfer of skills

Recently a question was asked about the benefit of playing chess on cognitive abilities. More specifically, how chess would improve understanding technical texts. Many other questions are also focused ...
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11 votes
1 answer
1k 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? ...
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11 votes
1 answer
249 views

Effects of Game-based Learning on Motivation for Learning

I have already asked this question here, but I did not receive my answer. I found this site a more appropriate place to ask it. I found many studies discovering the impacts of game-based learning on ...
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11 votes
1 answer
413 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 ...
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11 votes
1 answer
9k views

Why does learning new mental skills lead to headaches?

Why is deliberate practice uncomfortable? For example, during learning college math and playing the piano. Why do we get headaches after long hours of practice? According to this question, learning is ...
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10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Do people with ADD or Asperger's Syndrome often show different learning curves than neurotypical individuals?

There's some interesting discussion at this Wrong Planet thread Specifically, I was wondering whether people with ADD or Asperger's Syndrome are more likely to show a logistic pattern in their ...
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10 votes
3 answers
3k views

What is the name of the cognitive bias where an expert overestimates the knowledge of others?

I'm looking for a name of a cognitive bias that describes the following phenomenon: A person has been exposed to some area of expertise from a very early age (think 7-10), and for an extended period ...
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  • 9,302
10 votes
3 answers
877 views

Are there any ways to increase dopamine and serotonin levels when working or learning something complex?

There is much information regarding learning styles and ways to leverage them, along with boosting focus, alertness and concentration. However, I'm looking for accompanying information that would be ...
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10 votes
2 answers
627 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 ...
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  • 5,350
10 votes
2 answers
507 views

Do 10.000 hours of practice make you an expert?

With his book "Outliers" Malcolm Gladwell has widely popularized the idea that the requirement to become an expert in any field is largely to invest at least 10.000 hours of deliberate practice. What ...
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10 votes
2 answers
1k 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 one ...
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10 votes
2 answers
710 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 ...
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  • 2,424
10 votes
3 answers
14k 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 ...
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10 votes
1 answer
2k views

What causes fear of failure to lead to lack of effort and actual failure?

Background: I'm having hard time motivating myself to study. In my first year I was a very good student, I had the motivation to study because I wanted to compete, it was first and maybe hardest year. ...
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