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Summary and analysis of cognitive research to help people gain knowledge about learning, thinking, and decision making, as well as how these vary across cultures and levels of expertise.

Winston Sieck
26 posts

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  • September 22, 2014
  • 04:45 PM
  • 32 views

If You’re Bicultural, You Can Make it Work to Your Advantage

by Louise Rasmussen in Head Smart

There are many advantages to being bicultural. Studies have shown that biculturals are more creative and enjoy greater professional success. One of the reasons for the advantage may be that exposure to diverse beliefs and worldviews enables biculturals to consider different perspectives. This can help them come up with new ways to solve problems and […]... Read more »

  • August 20, 2014
  • 11:23 AM
  • 120 views

What is Competence and Why Should I Care?

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

If you’ve been reading about any of the new adventures in education, such as project-based learning, you’ve surely noticed the word competence sprinkled throughout. You may have thought, “Why do I keep hearing about competence? It sounds like another fad in my kid’s education. Wish they’d focus on getting test scores up.” In fact, competence […]... Read more »

McClelland, D. C. (1973) Testing for competence rather than for "intelligence.". American psychologist, 28(1), 1-14. info:/

  • August 12, 2014
  • 08:12 PM
  • 128 views

3 Ways to Improve Your Cultural Intelligence

by Louise Rasmussen in Head Smart

Picture this – you’re introduced to the CEO of a French start-up that your company is in the process of acquiring. The CEO grabs your hand and leans in for some repeated lip action on your cheeks. His breath has a hint of garlic and something else you can’t identify. His grip on your hand […]
This article, 3 Ways to Improve Your Cultural Intelligence, first appeared on Global Cognition.
... Read more »

Earley PC, & Mosakowski E. (2004) Cultural intelligence. Harvard business review, 82(10), 139-146. PMID: 15559582  

  • December 16, 2013
  • 04:36 PM
  • 307 views

A Question Exploration Approach to Learning

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

A great way to learn is by asking questions. A question begs to be answered. When you ask a question, your mind starts to explore information in new and purposeful ways. Research on questioning has shown that some forms of questioning work better than others. Questions that invite explanations, such as “why,” “how does that […]... Read more »

Bulgren, J. A., Marquis, J. G., Lenz, B. K., Deshler, D. D., & Schumaker, J. B. (2011) The effectiveness of a question-exploration routine for enhancing the content learning of secondary students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(3), 578-593. info:/10.1037/a0023930

  • November 10, 2013
  • 08:00 PM
  • 333 views

Transfer of Learning: Take What You’ve Learned with You

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

Can an eighth-grade math student apply her knowledge of geometry to estimate the square footage of the family’s new home? If so, then she has experienced transfer of learning. Transfer of learning means to extend knowledge you’ve gained from one situation to new ones. Parents and educators hope that kids get more out of school […]... Read more »

Barnett, S. M., & Ceci, S. J. (2002) When and where do we apply what we learn? A taxonomy for far transfer. Psychological bulletin, 128(4), 612-637. info:/10.1037//0033-2909.128.4.612

  • October 31, 2013
  • 02:56 PM
  • 510 views

Building Spatial Thinking Improves STEM success

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

You fall off of a ledge, dropping through a hole in the floor, only to find yourself hurtling out the side of a wall like a cannon ball. If you can imagine that easily, you have great spatial thinking skills. Or you’ve been playing Portal 2. Perhaps your spatial thinking skills got a boost from […]... Read more »

David H. Uttal, David I. Miller, & Nora S. Newcombe. (2013) Exploring and Enhancing Spatial Thinking: Links to Achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics?. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22(5), 367-373. info:/10.1177/0963721413484756

  • October 26, 2013
  • 08:51 AM
  • 369 views

Cognitive Skills Help Fashion Adaptive Minds

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

Which is the most useful kind of knowledge – general knowledge about how to think well, or specific knowledge within many subject areas? The idea that we can train the mind to use core cognitive skills that are effective in a wide range of situations is really fantastic. But, maybe it’s too fantastic. General, learnable, […]... Read more »

Perkins, D. N., & Salomon, G. (1989) Are cognitive skills context bound?. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 16-25. info:/10.3102/0013189X018001016

  • September 30, 2013
  • 06:18 PM
  • 386 views

Five Metacognitive Strategies to Change Your Mind

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

Everyday learning often starts with a surprise. Something unexpected happens and you use that to change your understanding. You learn the most when you use metacognitive strategies to adapt your mindset. Metacognition is what you know about how you think and learn. It includes knowing what you know (and what you don’t).  It also includes […]... Read more »

Winston R. Sieck, Jennifer L. Smith, & Louise J. Rasmussen. (2013) Metacognitive strategies for making sense of cross-cultural encounters. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44(6), 1007-1023. DOI: 10.1177/0022022113492890  

  • August 30, 2013
  • 09:02 AM
  • 326 views

Memory Exercises with Surprising Benefits

by Louise Rasmussen in Head Smart

Memory exercises promise to help you get smarter by strengthening your memory. Students, teachers, and scientists are always on the lookout for memory exercises that really work. Many memory exercises focus on building up short-term memory, or working memory. These short-term memory exercises don’t appear to help you learn better. Other memory exercises focus on […]... Read more »

  • August 23, 2013
  • 01:55 PM
  • 460 views

Does High Intelligence Mean Low Cognitive Bias?

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

In thinking through any complex issue, there are going to be different possible solutions and perspectives. Ideally, a smart and critical thinker would reason through the pros and cons of the different possibilities and come to a balanced view of the issue. Yet a great deal of research finds that people tend to just consider […]... Read more »

Keith E. Stanovich, Richard F. West, & Maggie E. Toplak. (2013) Myside Bias, Rational Thinking, and Intelligence. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22(4), 259-264. DOI: 10.1177/0963721413480174  

  • August 6, 2013
  • 08:00 AM
  • 275 views

Trouble Understanding Others? Read More Fiction

by Louise Rasmussen in Head Smart

Looking for an excuse to read more fiction? Fiction reading can help with understanding others. A recent study shows that children who read more fiction stories are better at inferring what other people are thinking and feeling. Being good at understanding others is important, not just for psychologists. Think about this. What does a preschooler […]... Read more »

  • June 23, 2013
  • 03:35 PM
  • 262 views

Note Taking Strategies in the Computer Age

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

One of the core ways we learn is by listening to lectures. We learn more when we take notes, especially when making use of good note taking strategies. Note taking affords you with an external record of what was said. Incomplete, by all means, but something you can look back at later. Note taking also […]... Read more »

  • June 17, 2013
  • 10:26 AM
  • 359 views

3 Ways Concept Maps Help You Learn

by Louise Rasmussen in Head Smart

Concept maps are pictures that that show how ideas relate to each other. In a concept map, ideas are represented as nodes, and the relationships between them as links with descriptive labels. Concept maps can be very large and complex—and they can be very small and simple. You can use concept maps to capture, communicate, and simplify [...]... Read more »

  • June 10, 2013
  • 03:23 PM
  • 310 views

Argumentation Is More Than Just Knowing Why You Are Right

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

Argumentation is the thought process used to develop and present arguments. It is closely related to critical thinking and reasoning. Argumentation belongs among the essential 21st century cognitive skills. We face complex issues that require careful, balanced reasoning to resolve. Perhaps for this reason, argumentative reasoning skills are now part of the “common core” for [...]... Read more »

  • May 22, 2013
  • 04:45 PM
  • 317 views

What is Expertise? The Experts Disagree

by Louise Rasmussen in Head Smart

Everybody’s an expert these days. Pest Control Expert, Plumbing Expert, Weather Expert, and so on. What does it really mean to have expertise? Take a minute to think about what expertise means to you. If ideas like superior intelligence, heightened perceptual skills, and photographic memory come to mind, you may be thinking of superheroes, or [...]... Read more »

Hatano, G., & Inagaki, K. (1984) Two courses of expertise. Research and Clinical Center for Child Development Annual Report, 27-36. info:/

  • May 16, 2013
  • 10:38 AM
  • 334 views

Discover Discovery Learning with Guidance

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

In days of old, a good bit of learning was done by rote memorization. The lesson is given. Recite and repeat over and over until you’ve got it down. Rote learning still exists. It gets used in some places and for some topics. A radically different approach is discovery learning. With discovery learning, you work [...]... Read more »

  • May 8, 2013
  • 08:16 PM
  • 539 views

5 Study Skills to Accelerate Your Learning

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

You may have heard that we now live in something called a “knowledge economy.” One big implication is the premium put on the ability to ramp up your knowledge about new topics. Whatever else students are learning in school, they also need to practice study skills that can help them learn more quickly. Having a [...]... Read more »

  • April 29, 2013
  • 09:39 PM
  • 408 views

Spotting Fallacious Arguments

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

Starting an argument with someone can be a great way to learn more about a topic. Arguments help us check our own thinking, come to terms with someone else’s reasoning, and occasionally even arrive at a shared understanding about what we believe to be true. Everyday arguments are often messy. The parties involved in the [...]... Read more »

  • April 20, 2013
  • 02:13 PM
  • 425 views

What is Cognition and What Good is it?

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

You never used to hear anyone say the word cognition. More and more, it seems to crop up in all kinds of places. I see cognition crop up in newspapers, magazines, and letters from my kid’s school. As someone who makes his living off of cognition, that’s comforting. But what is cognition really about? Is [...]... Read more »

  • April 12, 2013
  • 10:22 AM
  • 423 views

Why Overconfidence Occurs and How to Overcome It

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

Overconfidence happens to all of us. Ever have a plan that just couldn’t go wrong? And then you get a kick in the butt. Ever know that something must be true, only to find out later that you had it backwards? Overconfidence is when you think you are more likely to be right than you [...]... Read more »

Sieck, W., Merkle, E., & Van Zandt, T. (2007) Option fixation: A cognitive contributor to overconfidence. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 103(1), 68-83. DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2006.11.001  

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