Friday five on the brain

Today’s Friday Five starts with the mind. Specifically, the hottest article in this week’s Times, judging by the number of times emailed, debunked common myths about studying. Based on a review article in Psychological Science, it says there are no “left-brain” and “right-brain” learning styles, we all basically learn the same way!    Furthermore, you should study a mix of different things and not immerse yourself in one thing according to a study of college students and retired people in the Journal of Psychology and Aging.  Other studies say you should study in different rooms not just sit in one place because changes of scene and environment help you to remember.  Finally, spacing your studying, and testing, help you remember better over the long term. Ready to blame the teacher?  Turns out that’s hard, we don’t really know scientifically what makes a teacher successful at getting kids to learn, according to Daniel T. Willingham, a psychologist at the University of Virginia and author of the book “Why Don’t Students Like School?” (available on the 3rd floor of Snell Library!) Finally, an MRI scan can map brain development in children, according to research in the journal Science.  It could allow doctors to place children on a “maturation curve” just like we do with height and weight and perhaps even be alerted to signs of disorders.