Winston Sieck

31 posts · 15,635 views

Cognitive psychologist who studies the strategies people use to learn, think, and make decisions, and how these strategies differ across cultures and levels of expertise. He received his PhD in cognitive psychology and MA in statistics from the University of Michigan.

Head Smart
26 posts

Thinker Academy
5 posts

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  • August 11, 2015
  • 06:42 PM

Intelligence: What it Means to You

by Winston Sieck in Thinker Academy

What does intelligence mean to you? Do you believe you were born with a “smartness score” that’s set for life? Or is intelligence something you can build and grow? Say, by improving your study skills? Now, ask yourself another question – why do you believe that? Where did your ideas about the nature of intelligence…
Check out Intelligence: What it Means to You, an original post on Thinker Academy.
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  • June 13, 2015
  • 10:30 AM

In Praise of (the Right Kind of) Praise

by Winston Sieck in Thinker Academy

Sure, you praise your kids. And they look at you with beaming little faces. Such a warm feeling, if only for a moment. But, is that all there is to praise? What’s simmering in the brain behind those sparkling eyes? It may well depend on the precise nature of the praise you gave. There are […]
Check out In Praise of (the Right Kind of) Praise, an original post on Thinker Academy.
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  • May 12, 2015
  • 08:08 AM

Motivated to Fail: When Flunking Becomes an Ambition

by Winston Sieck in Thinker Academy

What is the opposite of being motivated to succeed? Well, it must be lack of motivation. Or not caring. Because surely nobody is motivated to do poorly. Or are they? A study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology shows that in fact some students purposefully behave in ways that will lead them to fail. […]
Check out Motivated to Fail: When Flunking Becomes an Ambition, an original post on Thinker Academy.
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  • April 15, 2015
  • 08:58 AM

Take Charge of Your Learning Strategies

by Winston Sieck in Thinker Academy

Do you feel in charge of your own learning? Do you learn well with good teachers and bad? Or even if there isn’t one at all? With the wealth of information available today, you have more opportunity than ever to know nearly anything that is known. You can go out and learn virtually anything you […]
Check out Take Charge of Your Learning Strategies, an original post on Thinker Academy.
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  • March 8, 2015
  • 02:33 PM

A Study Strategy for all Occasions: Test your Memory

by Winston Sieck in Thinker Academy

You have a test coming up. You need to know the material. First, you need to know how to study for it. One way to study is to read back over your notes, textbook, and any other material. Is that really how to study? An alternative approach would be to test your memory. That could […]
Check out A Study Strategy for all Occasions: Test your Memory, an original post on Thinker Academy.
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Carpenter, S. (2012) Testing Enhances the Transfer of Learning. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21(5), 279-283. DOI: 10.1177/0963721412452728  

  • August 20, 2014
  • 11:23 AM

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:/

  • December 16, 2013
  • 04:36 PM

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

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

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

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

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 23, 2013
  • 01:55 PM

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  

  • June 23, 2013
  • 03:35 PM

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 10, 2013
  • 03:23 PM

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 16, 2013
  • 10:38 AM

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

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

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

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

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  

  • March 13, 2013
  • 10:47 PM

Intelligence: What it Means to You

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

What does intelligence mean to you? Take a moment to really think about that. Now, ask yourself another question – why do you think that? Where did your ideas about the nature of intelligence really come from? There are two main ways that people think about intelligence. Perhaps the most common view is that intelligence [...]... Read more »

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