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The Science of “Chunking,” Working Memory, and How Pattern Recognition Fuels Creativity

The Science of “Chunking,” Working Memory, and How Pattern Recognition Fuels Creativity
by Maria Popova “Generating interesting connections between disparate subjects is what makes art so fascinating to create and to view… We are forced to contemplate a new, higher pattern that binds lower ones together.” It seems to be the season for fascinating meditations on consciousness, exploring such questions as what happens while we sleep, how complex cognition evolved, and why the world exists. Joining them and prior explorations of what it means to be human is The Ravenous Brain: How the New Science of Consciousness Explains Our Insatiable Search for Meaning (public library) by Cambridge neuroscientist Daniel Bor in which, among other things, he sheds light on how our species’ penchant for pattern-recognition is essential to consciousness and our entire experience of life. To illustrate the power of chunking, Bor gives an astounding example of how one man was able to use this mental mechanism in greatly expanding the capacity of his working memory. Donating = Loving Share on Tumblr

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/04/the-ravenous-brain-daniel-bor/

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Building Brain Literacy in Elementary Students Practice Makes Perfect For many students, the brain isn't a hot topic of conversation. This is especially true for younger students who are still trying to understand the world around them, and are still far from developing physiological self-awareness of the very thing that gives them that self-awareness. But helping students develop "brain literacy" doesn't have to be a matter of dry science pumped full of confusing jargon. Understanding the brain can be empowering for students as they recognize their ability to strengthen it each time they use it. As a teacher, you can emphasize how using the executive functions, both in the classroom and outside of school, increases their strength for academic success. Are there emotional no-go areas where logic dare not show its face? by Richard Dawkins Are there kingdoms of emotion where logic is taboo, dare not show its face, zones where reason is too intimidated to speak? Moral philosophers make full use of the technique of thought experiment. In a hospital there are four dying men. Each could be saved by a transplant of a different organ, but no donors are available.

Collection History The David Rumsey Map Collection was started over 25 years ago and contains more than 150,000 maps. The collection focuses on rare 18th and 19th century maps of North and South America, although it also has maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. The collection includes atlases, wall maps, globes, school geographies, pocket maps, books of exploration, maritime charts, and a variety of cartographic materials including pocket, wall, children's, and manuscript maps. Items range in date from about 1700 to 1950s. Digitization of the collection began in 1996 and there are now over 55,000 items online, with new additions added regularly.

Mental block: Professor discovers way to alter memory June 4, 2013 — A series of studies conducted by an Iowa State University research team shows that it is possible to manipulate an existing memory simply by suggesting new or different information. The key is timing and recall of that memory, said Jason Chan, an assistant professor of psychology at Iowa State. "If you reactivate a memory by retrieving it, that memory becomes susceptible to changes again. And if at that time you give people new contradictory information, that can make the original memory much harder to retrieve later," Chan said.

Buzzword: Micro-learning I was introduced recently to a new buzz word making its way across the learning & development industry: Micro-learning. If you’re like me, you’re probably starting to get a bit tired of people adding their particular spin to learning – all in search of the holy grail that is the “right way” to make learning happen. It doesn’t exist. But having got that out of the way, it is worth looking at these ideas to see if there’s anything we, as learning professionals, can learn from them. As a term, “micro-learning” has been around since about 2004, when it was put forward in a PhD thesis by Gerhard Gassler. Basically, micro-learning describes a method of learning, whereby concepts and ideas are presented (or retrieved) in very small chunks, over very short time-scales, often at the point of need, or at the point of maximum receptiveness.

Critical Thinking Toolbox: How to Brainstorm Brainstorming is an essential part of critical thinking and a tool that people use to invent an idea, find a solution to a problem, or answer a question. Like: naming a puppy, or . . . Prehistoric Man: "I wonder why all the stars move around in the same way every night, except for just a few? Those few wander about from night to night." How to Optimize Your Brain: Why Refining Emotional Recall is the Secret to Better Memory by Maria Popova “You are what you remember — your very identity depends on all of the events, people and places you can recall.” We’ve seen the many ways in which our memory can be our merciless traitor: it is not a recording device but a practitioner of creative plagiarism, a terrible timekeeper, and the bent backbone in the anatomy of lying. How, then, can this essential human faculty become our ally? In The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It So Well (public library) — a compendium of pragmatic advice on such modern fixations and timeless aspirations as how to create a great company culture (courtesy of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh) to how to be funny (courtesy of Alec Baldwin) to how to fight for justice (courtesy of Constance Rice) — neurologist, neuropsychiatrist, and prolific brain-book author Richard Restak offers some vital tips on how to optimize your brain, central to which is honing the capacity and performance of your memory: Donating = Loving

Expands xConsortium to Asia and Doubles in Size with Addition of 15 New Global Institutions EdX Expands xConsortium to Asia and Doubles in Size with Addition of 15 New Global Institutions CAMBRIDGE, MA – May 21, 2013 – EdX , the not-for-profit online learning initiative composed of the leading global institutions of the xConsortium, today announced another doubling of its university membership with the addition of its first Asian institutions and further expansion in the Ivy League. The xConsortium is gaining 15 prestigious higher education institutions, bringing its total to 27, including Tsinghua University and Peking University in China, The University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University of Science & Technology in Hong Kong, Kyoto University in Japan, and Seoul National University in South Korea, and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The expansion reflects edX’s rapidly growing global student body and supports its vision of transforming education by bringing the power of learning to all regardless of location or social status. Asia –

Boost Your Brain Power: 7 Tips for Improving Your Memory Surely, constantly forgetting what you were doing in the middle of doing something and constantly looking for your misplaced house keys is not the ideal way to spend your golden years. Don't wait until it is too late to start thinking about improving your memory. If you are bad at remembering simple to-do tasks, other people's names, your girlfriend's birthday, and other relevant pieces of information, use some of the most useful mnemonic devices illustrated below to help you retain things more permanently in your brain space. More importantly, be sure to practice good physical and mental health habits on a regular basis to keep your memory and brain stamina high.

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