Dr Kathie Nunley connects current psychological and neurological
Research Making News RIGHT NOW
May 10, 2013 Teaching materials - especially those for young learners, often contains extraneous "cute" graphics which can actually slow down or distract the learning process. A study showed that young students learned math concepts faster when presented with plain, one-colored illustrations (such as a black & white bar graph). When illustrations contained extraneous visuals (such as colorful stacks of flower or animals to represent the bar graph) learning took longer. Kaminski, J. & Sloutsky, V. (2013). "Extraneous perceptual information interferes with children's acquisition of mathematical knowledge.". Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 105(2), 351-363.
May 7, 2013: Do you have students who struggle with working memory? You might want to have them use a computer to transcribe lectures while listening to them. A new study out this month sought to compare various ways of taking lecture notes and that relationship to later testing. In the first study, the researcher found the best test scores came from students who used a computer for note taking versus those who hand wrote their notes. The second portion of the study compared taking "organized notes" versus simply attempting to transcribe the lecture. Students with good working memory scored highest on tests after taking "organized notes" (and had the greatest quantity of notes). But students with poor working memory scored highest on later testing when they tried to simply transcribe the lecture. So their suggestion is that students who struggle with working memory be encouraged to use a note-taking strategy that transcripes the lecture using a computer. Bui, D.; Myerson, J; Hale, S. (2013). "Note-taking with computers: Exploring alternative strategies for improved recall." Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 105(2), 299-309.
23 April 2013: In Metacognition, or thinking about your thinking can be beneficial in the learning process. Researchers had high school students write learning journals for math and science classes. The students were to reflect upon their learning strategies over during the course of several weeks. Those students who wrote the learning journals improved their academic performance when compared to the control group of students who did not write learning journals. Glogger, I. et al. (2012). " Learning strategies assessed by journal writing: Prediction of learning outcomes by quantity, quality, and combinations of learning strategies." Journal of Educational Psychology, preview, nps.
12 April 2013: In working out problems between people, the effect of emotions expressed depends a great deal on the culture of the participants. East Asians who use anger in negotiations are perceived as tougher and more threatening than European Americans. This is most likely due to the stereotype that East Asians tend to be emotionally inexpressive and European Americans emotionally expressive, So angry East Asian negotiators received a higher level of cooperation. So, one's culture can play a significant role in interpersonal negotiation. Adam, H. & Shirako, A. (2013). "Not All Anger Is Created Equal: The Impact of the Expresser's Culture on the Social Effects of Anger in Negotiations." Journal of Applied Psychology, Apr 1 , 2013, preview, no page specified.
6 April 2013: Improve the school adjustment for an elementary student today and you may be helping future generations. So says new research out this month, which tracked achievement and school adjustment in boys starting in the 4th grade and continued throughout the school years and into parenthood. Then this longitudinal study watched their children through preschool and elementary. The father's academic achievement and school adjustment were directly related to the same factors in their children. Pears, K et al. (2013). "Father-child transmission of school adjustment: A prospective intergenerational study." Developmental Psychology, Vol 49(4), Apr 2013, 792-803
4 April 2013: Poor self control and parent-child conflict puts adolescents at risk for depression and school behavior problems. However, new research out this month shows that a positive teacher-student relationship can protect adolescents from this risk. It appears that a good relationship with a teacher can undo some of the risk factors of poor self control and parent - adolescent conflict. Wang, M.; Brikworth, M. & Eccles, J. (2013). "Moderating effects of teacher-student relationship in adolescent trajectories of emotional and behavioral adjustment." Developmental Psychology, Vol 49(4), 690-705.
28 March 2013: Obesity is not only bad for your physical health, it causes problems with your cognitive function as well. There is a relationship between body mass index (BMI) and frontal-subcortical pathology, especially as we age. Higher BMI effects motor and attention speed as well as processing speed. Stanek, K. et al (2013) "Body mass index and neurocognitive functioning across the adult lifespan." Neuropsychology, Vol 27(2), 141-151.
18 March 2013:
are many valid reasons to promote all boys or all girls schools, academic
achievement may not be one of them. Traditional research on same-gendered
schooling here in the US has been hampered by the fact that there is
parental bias in sending their child to an all-boy or all-girl school.
Since the assigning of students to these schools is not random, research
results do not generalize well to the population at large. However,
we can now look at reserch which has come out of Korea - where they
do randomly assign students to same-gendered schools. A new study which
measured science and math achievement scores finds no difference for
students in mixed gendered versus same-gendered schools. Scores were
similar. Pahlke, E. et al (2013) The Effects of Single-Sex Compared
With Coeducational Schooling on Mathematics and Science Achievement:
Data From Korea. Journal of Educational Psychology, Mar 18 preview,
28 February 2013:
Lost a little sleep last night? Probably no great harm. Lost a little
sleep every night? Now it's a danger. Researchers everywhere are becoming
concerned with the so called "social jet lag" that is plaguing our nation.
Chronic sleep deprivation and the hapbit of our society to shift sleep
patterns on weekends several hours later than during the week.
25 February 2013: A Virginia study involving hundreds of high schools has found found that bullying does indeed increase a student's risk of dropping out of school. They tracked 9th graders' self reported and teacher reported bullying and teasing. Even controlling for other issues such as poverty, minority status, communit crime rates, etc., the incidence of bullying was a predictive of high school drop out as any other known predictive factor. Students who were teased or bullied were at about a 15% greater risk of not completing all 4 years. - the correlation exceeds one full standard deviation. Lead researcher Dr Dewey Cornell is author of School Violence: Fears Versus Facts. Cornell, D.; Gregory, A.; Huang, F. & Fan, X. (2013, Feb). " Perceived prevalence of teasing and bullying predicts high school dropout rates." Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 105(1), 138 - 149
12 February 2013:
Mothers who praise a child's process rather than the person may
increase motivation. A new study tracked mothers' conversations and
praise with their children. Mother's who praised the person (eg: "you
are smart") rather than the process (eg: "you worked really
hard on that") tended to have children who had a fixed theory of
intellegence (thought their intelligence was fixed or predetermined
and would not be changed through experience, practice and learning)
and were less motivated to try new and more difficult tasks.
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