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This question would require an experiment that cannot ethically be conducted, but it is interesting. Wikipedia has an article on historical attempts at language deprivation experiments: An experiment allegedly carried out by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century saw young infants raised without human interaction in an attempt to ...


12

Observational points: It would be straightforward to point to a person who has mastered more than one keyboard layout (e.g., some of the people here). So, yes, it is possible. From my own personal experience, I can point to my use of both Vim keyboard shortcuts for editing and regular OSX/Windows keyboard shortcuts. This is certainly possible. But I'd ...


11

Here are the ones I know about; there's much more about neuroscience than, say, theoretical or computational cognitive science, but a lot of the neuroscience podcasts cover cognitive science indirectly or partially. All in the Mind--it's also neuroscience and mental health stuff (a lot of mental health stuff) Brain Science Podcast--books about and ...


10

Giovanni Sala was concerned by this same question, so he did a meta-analysis of 24 studies in "Beyond the 64 Squares: Does Chess Instruction Enhance Children’s Academic and Cognitive Skills? A Meta-Analysis" and found that there was still a lot of doubt in the results. Specifically, in all the papers, he never found the control group was reasonable. Of ...


10

The jury is still out on temporary dyslexia, but apparently astronauts can experience it on a temporary basis on return to earth. However, mixing up (anagramming) digits or letters is not dyslexia. And this is confirmed from another source: A common myth closely associates dyslexia with mirror writing and reading letters or words backwards. At least ...


9

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 ...


9

Quite a bit of foundational research on skill acquisition is on how people learn to send and receive morse code. I'm no expert at morse code but it seems like it shares quite a bit with binary. For example, here is a graph of letters per minute that an operator could receive as a function of weeks of practice (Bryan & Harter, 1897). A general principle ...


8

One umbrella term is causal reasoning, though this is a bit broader since there are theories of causal reasoning that are not about hypothesis testing. A Google Scholar search for "causal reasoning psychology" generates several hundred thousand hits, and the first page is full of relevant papers. Getting more specific, Klayman & Ha (1987) wrote an ...


8

This will be a long post. FYI. To my knowledge, there is no evidence for back propagation in the brain. If you're interested specifically in that topic, Geoffrey Hinton (Dept. of CS @ UofT) has written about it. I'll try to focus on the biology. Some basic neurophysiology first. Neurons have a slightly negative electrical resting potential (prototypically ~...


8

ACT-R can best be summarized with this (tiny but more recent) graph: ACT-R is a cognitive architecture that tries to explain as much of human behavior as possible with as little rules as possible. It works at a high level of abstraction and came down to a list of so-called "modules", each having its own functions. The exact mechanisms of each of these ...


7

First, let me start by saying your topic is extremely broad. There are many reasons why something may be difficult to learn. However, the exact "difficulty associated with learning something" is known by many different terms in the scientific literature, and in particular, I have found cognitive load theory to be a particularly useful description of this. ...


7

First, consider that those questions can potentially be answered only in animals, like mice. There is no way to test such things in humans, because methods like fMRI give resolution of $\approx$1,000,000 neurons. In order to test your hypothesis, you need resolution below the neuronal level, because what your need to see is how the connections (synapses) ...


7

Sadly (or should I be happy that Google is this awesome? Not to mention the rate of scientific progress!), all I really had to do to come up with an answer was perform a Google search for "learning transcranial magnetic stimulation". The first hit, a ScienceDaily page (Ruhr-University Bochum, 2011) page, lists some journal references (Mix, Benali, Eysel, &...


7

The answer is more involved than it seems. Expertise research programmes, including Ericsson's line, has tended to blend quantitative and qualitative research methods (e.g., case studies, talk-aloud protocol, etc.), and there is a veritable host of critiques and qualifications that apply. For the scope of this answer, I will therefore try to err on the side ...


7

In psychology, we call people's attitudes towards things "preferences", and the emotional experience associated with preference is referred to as "affect", or more specifically, "valence", which is positive or negative. As alluded to in the question, there is a genetic predisposition for certain preferences, such as sugar (sweetness), and some aversions, ...


7

The scenario you describe is sometimes called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one stumbles upon some obscure piece of information—often an unfamiliar word or name—and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly. The more scientifically accepted name for this cognitive bias seems to be '...


7

While no cases of complete isolation of a group of children seem to exist, idioglossia (language invented and spoken by only one person or very few people) in twins is well documented and appears to be amplified by social isolation, as the sad cases of June and Jennifer Gibbons aka "Silent Twins" and the "San Diego twins" Poto and Cabengo illustrate. The ...


6

vand den Bos et al (2002) van den Bos et al (2002) summarises research over various ages. They reported: The reading task was to read in 1 min, as fast and accurately as possible, the unique and unrepeated words of a stan- dardized word-reading test. Results indicate that word-reading speed and naming speeds of colors and pictures continue to ...


6

As per the comments to the question, human research observing this distinction does exist. CHCH possibly alludes to an article by Gläscher, Daw, Dayan and O'Doherty (2010) which concisely defines the difference between model-free learning and model-based learning: Reinforcement learning (RL) uses sequential experience with situations (“states”) and ...


6

What is the effect of completing "brain training"? Is there any evidence for domain general benefits to cognitive functioning that extend beyond the specific task practiced? Brain training at the very least improves skill levels in the domain being trained. That is now well established. The big challenge is of course to create forms of training whose ...


6

Conditioning is considered an example (type) of association by associationism, a school of philosophy in psychology that suggests that all mental processes may be based on similar or proximal mental states. Usually this idea is too broad and vague to be very practical to apply, but it has spawned a number of useful fields of study, including connectionism, ...


6

We are driven by this need to find answer to our questions. Many questions arise from one's mind by experiencing new events or feelings, or having to sort out a cognitive dissonance. An example of this would be the need for victims to find the guilty. When we can’t immediately gratify our desire to know, we become highly motivated to reach a concrete ...


6

Like any simple-seeming cognitive sciences question, it is important to start with a series of disclaimers. It might seem like human intelligence or intelligence more generally is an intuitive concept, but once you start to explore your intuition or look at historic definitions of intelligence, you see that intelligence is a very ill-defined and slippery ...


6

Firstly, the matter of lifestyle is probably a significant factor. Someone who is an alcoholic their whole life and never tries or learns new things is going to have a different outcome that somebody who is still learning new things and exercising and eating healthy. That being said, lifestyles equal, there's at least two factors in age-associated ...


6

In my mind there are two main explanations of this kind of instinct behaviours. The first one is rooted in evolution. There are many examples of human innate behaviours which we can't explain e.g. when we see a lace or tape on the street we automatically jump and feel scared. Although we live in big city our brain associates the lace with a snake. It is an ...


6

I actually think this is a bit tougher than it sounds because of how broad cogsci is as a field. Not too long ago, I asked a similar question on twitter; to this end, here are the podcasts that I now regularly follow: 99% Invisible - A show about design, and the factors influencing it. Lexicon Valley - Covers language from "pet peeves, syntax and etymology ...


6

I'm guessing you don't want to generally increase the level of those chemicals in the brain, just in the reward-motivation area. In order to do so, you need to be rewarded and motivated, obviously. The learning need to be exciting, with feedback and reinforcement. Socializing it will help, too. There is a relatively new topic, called gameificatin, that try ...


6

When one is either learning or working with a new concept that is - complex, untangle, counter-intuitive, tedious, multi-dimensional, boring and difficult, it appears mood is altered to a lower state, very similar to that of a depressive state, however is temporary, until another concepts comes along (still new) that is simple, clear and straight ...


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