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52

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 ...


48

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) ...


23

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 ...


22

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 ...


18

There's lots of research out there on flash cards and they are a proven, effective study aid. Flash Cards work because of the "Forgetting Curve"; rehearsal and retrieval before you forget an item strengthens the memory before it decays allowing one to optimize encoding into LTM. The paper Optimising learning using flashcards: Spacing is more effective than ...


17

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 ...


14

Flash cards work for two main reasons: they serve as retrieval practice they force the student to space practice out Both of these reasons have been demonstrated to enhance learning. Retrieval practice, sometimes called the testing effect, has been shown by Roediger and colleagues to promote learning above and beyond additional study. For instance, in a ...


14

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 ...


14

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 ...


13

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. ...


12

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 ...


12

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 ...


12

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 ...


11

This sounds similar to the "curse of knowledge" phenomenon (also called the "curse of expertise" by at least one publication that I found). From Wikipedia: "The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias according to which better-informed people find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed people." Some ...


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

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 ...


10

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. ...


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 ...


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

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 lecture....


10

I don't know of research that answers this question directly, but I'm going to guess the answer is no, it wouldn't help, based on the following reasoning. First, people tend to learn math less well when superfluous visual richness is added. I think adding color to numbers counts as superfluous visual richness. Brown, M. C., McNeil, N. M., & Glenberg, ...


10

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 ...


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

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 Pac ...


9

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 ...


9

Humans actually exhibit both slow and fast learning and they have somewhat different properties. One distinction is between "declarative" memory (for example, facts like "tigers have stripes" or "Paris is the capital of France") and "procedural" learning (such as perceptuo-motor skills like riding a bike or playing a musical instrument). Declarative memory ...


9

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 ...


9

I believe the hype about brain training got started with Susanne Jaeggi's paper on n-back training and its alleged improvements to fluid intelligence (Gf) and working memory (WM): The experimental design was called into question by papers that followed and tried to replicate similar results. Most of them could not detect a maintained improvement in WM and ...


9

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 style....


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 ...


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