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Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

How we distort time

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As a follow-up to my last post, Threats and the Perception of Time, here’s a recent article from Psychology Today:

…fear does not actually speed up our rate of perception or mental processing. Instead, it allows us to remember what we do experience in greater detail. Since our perception of time is based on the number of things we remember, fearful experiences thus seem to unfold more slowly.

Read the rest at How the Brain Stops Time at Psychology Today. Interesting stuff.

Written by Michael DeBusk

March 16th, 2010 at 1:56 am

Posted in Learning,Neuro,Time

A Revolutionary Approach to Learning Languages

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A January article from the Victoria News, published by the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, shares some research by Paul Sulzberger, PhD into the teaching of languages:

Dr Sulzberger has found that the best way to learn a language is through frequent exposure to its sound patterns – even if you haven’t a clue what it all means.

“However crazy it might sound, just listening to the language, even though you don’t understand it, is critical. A lot of language teachers may not accept that,” he says.

Now, people who are good at learning languages have long said that immersion makes a massive difference, but they’ve never talked about why that’s the case. Dr. Sulzberger asserts that aural exposure to the language actually changes the brain, re-wiring it to understand what is being said:

Dr Sulzberger’s research challenges existing language learning theory. His main hypothesis is that simply listening to a new language sets up the structures in the brain required to learn the words.

“Neural tissue required to learn and understand a new language will develop automatically from simple exposure to the language—which is how babies learn their first language,” Dr Sulzberger says.

It’s an interesting idea, and it makes a lot of sense to me. You can read the rest of the article here.

And in the spirit of this snippet from the article:

“Teachers should recognise the importance of extensive aural exposure to a language. One hour a day of studying French text in a classroom is not enough—but an extra hour listening to it on the iPod would make a huge difference,” Dr Sulzberger says.

…by way of Lifehacker, here is a master list of free online language lessons.

Written by Michael DeBusk

April 5th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Learn Ericksonian Language from a master

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I got some great news from Doug O’Brien: he’s started a blog, and will be making regular posts on the subject of Ericksonian language patterns. Doug is an amazing trainer, and he’s sharing his expertise with the world for free!

Go to the Web site or subscribe to the feed!

Written by Michael DeBusk

July 26th, 2008 at 2:47 am

Body position helps you remember

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Once again, we find Milton Erickson was ahead of his time:

A new study adds an unexpected method to the list of ways to spur memories about our past: body position. That’s right: just holding your body in the right position means you’ll have faster, more accurate access to certain memories. If you stand as if holding a golf club, you’re quicker to remember an event that happened while you were golfing than if you position your body in a non-golfing pose.

Cognitive Daily: Body position affects memory for events

Written by Michael DeBusk

June 6th, 2008 at 12:42 pm

What’s a tachistoscope?

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A tachistoscope is a tool that displays an image for a specific, usually extremely short, amount of time. If you remember the movie, “Lawnmower Man”, you saw the guy using one. I’ve wanted one ever since I saw that movie because I thought it was a great idea.

If I ran Windows XP on my computer, I could have one, because Dan Heard has created an application he calls “Swiftword”:

Swiftword is my version of a text based tachistoscope application. Essentially it is a speed reader – you feed it a text file containing the content you want to memorise, and play the file through at progressively faster speeds. Eventually, your subconscious begins to anticipate the next word before it is even delivered as your memory begins to retain the information. This can be used to help you memorise things like speeches and course notes, and can even assist slow readers to speed up through coaching to avoid sub-vocalising words as you read.

It’s getting good comments so far. If you try it out, let me know in the comments.

Written by Michael DeBusk

May 17th, 2008 at 11:17 pm

It USED to be seven, plus or minus two

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Is the research being better refined, or are we becoming more forgetful? This Lifehacker article points to this article on Live Science:

Researchers have often debated the maximum amount of items we can store in our conscious mind, in what’s called our working memory, and a new study puts the limit at three or four.

More goodies I remembered to post about:

Written by Michael DeBusk

May 11th, 2008 at 9:24 pm

Posted in Learning,Neuro,Psych

More on brain training: memorizing numbers

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On the Lifehacker blog recently is an article on how to encode numbers into words so you can remember them more easily. (Read the comments, though, as most of the good information is in those.)

The jist of it is that each digit is given one or more consonant sounds, and vowels are free. So 491,744,962 ends up being “rabid carrier pigeon”, for example.

If you’re looking for a challenge, here’s pi to one million decimal places and phi to 20,000 places.

Read more at Lifehacker: Memorize Long Numbers Using the “Red Table”

Written by Michael DeBusk

March 8th, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Better Focus and Concentration

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By way of Lifehacker I found a really cool article on how to exercise your mind:

You can find strong powers of concentration in yourself. When you are decisive and sincerely want to excel in your studies, pass an important exam, or playing one of your favorite games; the power of concentration becomes available to you. This kind of concentration is raised because of some need, or desire. Increasing it in a systematic way, brings it under your control, and grants you the ability to use it easily, with no exertion whenever you need it. Real and good concentration is developed slowly, through daily work, and with special exercises. It has to be approached in a reasonable and practical way.

Read more at the EgoDevelopment blog, and see also my recent reference to a great DVD on the subject.

Written by Michael DeBusk

March 7th, 2008 at 7:39 pm

The Brain Fitness Program DVD

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I happened to catch the last half of this broadcast last night, and it was excellent:

The Brain Fitness Program is based on the brains ability to change and adapt, even rewire itself. In the past two years, a team of scientists has developed computer-based stimulus sets that drive beneficial chemical, physical and functional changes in the brain. Dr. Michael Merzenich of the University of California and his colleagues share their scientifically based set of brain exercises in this life-altering program. Peter Coyote narrates.

Buy The Brain Fitness Program DVD, learn how to keep your brain young and strong, and support public television to boot!

Written by Michael DeBusk

March 5th, 2008 at 12:56 am

Posted in DVDs,Learning,Neuro

Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules

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Michal Migurski’s tecznotes blog featured a recent post containing Immaculate Heart College’s Art Department Rules. I thought they were wonderful, a great set of rules for teacher and student alike.

I especially like the last line: “There should be new rules next week.”

Written by Michael DeBusk

February 27th, 2008 at 10:09 pm