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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.
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 »
Benet-Martinez, V., Leu, J., Lee, F., & Morris, M. (2002) Negotiating Biculturalism: Cultural Frame Switching in Biculturals with Oppositional Versus Compatible Cultural Identities. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 33(5), 492-516. DOI: 10.1177/0022022102033005005
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:/
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.
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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
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
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
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
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
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 »
Jeffrey D. Karpicke, & Janell R. Blunt. (2011) Retrieval Practice Produces More Learning than Elaborative Studying with Concept Mapping. Science, 772-775. DOI: 10.1126/science.1199327
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 »
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 »
Mar, R. A., Tackett, J. L., & Moore, C. (2010) Exposure to media and theory-of-mind development in preschoolers. Cognitive Development, 25(1), 69-78. DOI: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2009.11.002
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 »
Bui, D., Myerson, J., & Hale, S. (2013) Note-taking with computers: Exploring alternative strategies for improved recall. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(2), 299-309. DOI: 10.1037/a0030367
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 »
Nesbit, J., & Adesope, O. (2006) Learning With Concept and Knowledge Maps: A Meta-Analysis. Review of Educational Research, 76(3), 413-448. DOI: 10.3102/00346543076003413
Redford, J., Thiede, K., Wiley, J., & Griffin, T. (2012) Concept mapping improves metacomprehension accuracy among 7th graders. Learning and Instruction, 22(4), 262-270. DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2011.10.007
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 »
Kuhn, D., & Crowell, A. (2011) Dialogic Argumentation as a Vehicle for Developing Young Adolescents' Thinking. Psychological Science, 22(4), 545-552. DOI: 10.1177/0956797611402512
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 »
Ericsson, K., & Ward, P. (2007) Capturing the Naturally Occurring Superior Performance of Experts in the Laboratory: Toward a Science of Expert and Exceptional Performance. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(6), 346-350. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00533.x
Hatano, G., & Inagaki, K. (1984) Two courses of expertise. Research and Clinical Center for Child Development Annual Report, 27-36. info:/
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 »
Mayer, R. (2004) Should There Be a Three-Strikes Rule Against Pure Discovery Learning?. American Psychologist, 59(1), 14-19. DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.59.1.14
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 »
Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K., Marsh, E., Nathan, M., & Willingham, D. (2013) Improving Students' Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4-58. DOI: 10.1177/1529100612453266
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 »
Neuman, Y. (2003) Go ahead, prove that God does not exist! On high school students’ ability to deal with fallacious arguments. Learning and Instruction, 13(4), 367-380. DOI: 10.1016/S0959-4752(02)00011-7
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 »
Mayer, R. (2001) What Good is Educational Psychology? The Case of Cognition and Instruction. Educational Psychologist, 36(2), 83-88. DOI: 10.1207/S15326985EP3602_3
Miller, G. (2003) The cognitive revolution: a historical perspective. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7(3), 141-144. DOI: 10.1016/S1364-6613(03)00029-9
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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