25, 2014: Presenting math practice problems in a variety of formats
can help students' computational fluency. A new study compared teaching
basic addition problems using 2 different workbooks. The traditional
workbook had problems presented in the traditional (2 +3 = __ ) format
using a random assortment of problems. The modified workbook had some
traditional presentations, some with the operation on the right side
(as in ___ = 2+3) and grouped similar solution problems together.
Children using the modified format had a better understanding of the
math and the postivie results continued even 6 months after the learning.
McNeil, N. et al (2014) Arithmetic Practice Can Be Modified to Promote
Understanding of Mathematical Equivalence. Journal of Educational
Psychology. Aug issue preview, nps.
24, 2014: The large increase in daily caloric intake seen in the
US over the past half-century is due mostly to an increase in saturated
fates and refined carbohydrates. New research shows a diet high in
these two items (so called High Energy Diets) has a negative effect
on hippocampal function which includes a decrease in synaptic platicity,
and neurogenesis. High Energy Diets also negate any postivie effect
of emotional arousal on learning. Ross, A.; Darling, J; & Parent,
M. (2013). "High Energy Diets Prevent the Enhancing Effects of
Emotional Arousal on Memory." Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol 127(5),
11, 2014: Thousands
of new neurons are made every day in your brain, mostly in the hippocampus.
But the vast majority of them die within a few weeks time. Stress,
opiates and alcohol all can reduce the rate of production. Exercise,
sexual activity and drugs such as prozac increase the rate of cell
production. If learning occurs while the cells are newly formed, many
will not die, but carry on to perform function. However the learning
must be something that requires effort, yet do-able. So effortful,
but possible learning increases motivation and keep new neurons alive.
Shors, T. (2014) "Mental and Physical Training Keeps New Neurons
Alive" presented August 7, 2014 at the American Psychological
Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC.
11, 2014: Learning a foreign language or taking music lessons
anytime during your childhood or teenage years helps protect you from
Cognitive Impairment later in life. New research out this week shows
that in a longitudinal study of nearly 1000 older persons, those who
had music instruction and /or learned a foreign language before the
age of 18, not only scored higher on initial tests of cognitive function,
but were much less likely to suffer Mild Cognitive Impairment in old
age. While a 2nd language and music lessons won't slow down your decline
as you age, it does appear to give you a cognitive boost and protects
against impairment. Wilson, R. et al (2014). " Early Life Instruction
in Foreign Language and Music and Incidence of Mild Cognitive Impairment.
Neuropsychology (Aug 11 preview).
6, 2014: Boredom is an important, yet often overlooked, academic
emotion. So says new research which measured the relationship between
boredom and academic achievement in courses. They found that boredom
had consistently negative effects on academic performance, and then
the poor performance had consistently negative effects on subsequent
boredom. Pekrun, R. et al. (2014). "Boredom and academic achievement:
Testing a model of reciprocal causation."Journal of Educational Psychology,
Vol 106(3), 696-710.
21, 2014: Despite rumors to the contrary, the new school meal
standards are NOT leading to more food waste among students. This
according to new research released this summer. Data was collected
on food selection, consumption and plate waste at several urban, low-income
school districts. Turns out that fruit selection increased by 23%.
Entree and vegetable consumption rates increased and plate waste decreased.
Cohen, J. et al. (2014). "Impact of the New US Department of
Agriculture School Meal Standards on Food Selection, Consumption and
Waast. Am Journal of Preventive Medicine. Vol 46, 4. 388-394.
20, 2014: Nutrition plays a major role in academic success. Students
who eat a balanced and nutritious diet not only maintain their weight,
they are more alert, have better cognition, memory and problem solving
skills and higher overall achievement. However, 7% of college students
claim to eat NO fruits or vegetables daily. University of Massachusetts,
Boston online at: http://umb.edu/healthservices/
27, 2014: Taking a walk, especially outside, boosts creativity.
Researchers have discovered that walking leads to more creative and
divergent thinking - both while walking and right after walking. They
had 4 groups of participants either sit indoors, walk an indoor treadmill,
walk outside or be wheeled around outside, then tested them all using
a test for creative thinking and problem solving. Those that walked
scored higher and those that walked outside had the biggest creative
boost. Oppezzo, M. & Schwartz, D. (2014). "Give your ideas
some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking."
Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Apr 21 preview,
- current year
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