Optimize Learning Outcomes

Repeated Sensory Experiences (04-06-20)

Recent research by Gao, Fillmore, and  Scullin confirms the value of repeated exposure to the same stimuli during the learning process;  it also validates the powerful links between memories and sensory stimuli and the fact that linked memories can be reactivated when stimuli are repeated. The team reports on research related to targeting reactivation of memories (TMR) during sleep: “undergraduate students completed a college-level microeconomics lecture (mathematics-based) while listening to distinctive classical music (Chopin, Beethoven, and Vivaldi).

Design and Learning (02-11-20)

Walker, Rett, and Bonawitz link design cues and learning. They studied if an object’s “design can facilitate recognition of abstract causal rules [systems]. In Experiment 1, . . . three-year-olds were presented with evidence consistent with a relational rule (i.e., pairs of same or different blocks activated a machine) using two differently designed machines. In the standard-design condition, blocks were placed on top of the machine; in the relational-design condition, blocks were placed into openings on either side.

Smelling and Learning (02-05-20)

New research confirms that scents we smell as we learn and sleep influence our cognitive performance. Neumann, Oberhauser, and Kornmeier conducted a field study with sixth graders anddetermined that when people smelled the same scent when learning material and later while sleeping (scent was present all night) that they remembered the learned material better after waking up.  The scent used by researchers was of roses.

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