Presentation on theme: "Top Study Tips with Richard Spacek"— Presentation transcript:
1 Top Study Tips with Richard Spacek Being a modification of “Bjork’s Big Seven,” developed by Dr. Robert Bjork, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, and supplemented by my own research.
3 1False.fMRI has repeatedly shown several brain areas at work during activitiesThere is no unused “reserve,” only some degree of specializationYou use all of your brain. Though the 10-percent myth is widespread, recent neuroimaging technology has conclusively destroyed this falsehood. While not all of the brain is active all at once, functional magnetic resonance images (fMRI) show several brain areas are at work for any given activity, depending on what function is needed.
4 2 False. Polyphasic sleep (more than two sessions per night) Usually the result of illnessOften supplemented by daytime nappingPolyphasic sleep is usually abnormal and causes sleep deprivation. It can seem to work for gifted, highly-motivated individuals (who are still more effective than average even with impaired performance) and for those NOT performing cognitively demanding tasks.
5 3 False. 1993 study suggested better “spatial task performance” Result of mood, not congnitive improvementLearning a musical instrument does contribute to self-regulation and possible cognitive abilityIn 1993, a small study (Rauscher, Shaw, & Ky) showed that college students who listened to a Mozart sonata and then took an IQ test got higher scores than those who didn’t. But this so-called “Mozart effect” wore off in less than 15 minutes. Blasting classical music hasn’t been shown to improve intelligence in children or adults. In fact, researchers have found that young children who watch classical music-based television learn fewer words, just as children who watch regular television do. However, learning how to play a musical instrument has been shown to enhance cognitive skills in the long term. The actual “Mozart effect” seems to derive from improved mood. A 1999 study found the effects to be “an artifact of preference”: when people are in a good mood, they perform somewhat better. Listening to Mozart or to a narrated story both led to better results in a spatial-temporal task than did silence.Rauscher, F. H., Shaw, G. L., Ky, C. N. (1993). Music and spatial task performance. Nature, 365 (6447): 611. doi: /365611a0Nantais, K. M., & Schellenberg, E. G. (1999). The Mozart effect: An artifact of preference. Psychological Science, 10(4),
6 4 False. Wakefield’s study was fraudulent and was withdrawn He was stuck from the British Medical RegisterThere has been no conclusive, scientific evidence that any part of a vaccine causes autism. A link was initially suspected by some because the first symptoms of autism typically emerge around the time children receive vaccinations. This link has been thoroughly reviewed, studied, and rejected, and the initial study by Andrew Wakefield purporting this link has been found to be FRAUDULENT and has been withdrawn (and he has been struck from the British Medical Register). Recent studies have shown that autism is tied to genes that influence brain cell connections.
7 5 False. Repairs are constantly carried out “neuroplasticity” can help recovery in some serious casesWhile brain injury is always serious, in some instances, the brain can repair itself. Whether a person recovers from a brain injury depends on the location and severity of the damage. A concussion, a typically mild and common type of brain injury, usually results in only temporary disruption of brain functions as long as there is adequate recovery time and no repeated injury. Even after more serious brain injury, such as stroke, research indicates that—especially with the help of therapy—the brain may be capable of developing new connections and “reroute” function through healthy areas.
8 6.False.In certain areas, new neurons are formed constantly: hippocampus and olfactory bulbCells constantly regeneratedYour brain constantly generates new cells and remains adaptable—or “plastic”—as you age. Most brain cells, or neurons, are created before you are born. However, throughout adulthood new neurons are created in a few regions of the brain, including the hippocampus, where new memories are formed, and the olfactory bulb, where smells are processed
9 7 True. “spacing effect” is well documented current research focuses on finding the ideal spacingsThe “spacing effect” is well documented; current research focuses on finding the ideal spacings, both in relation to the total time the information is meant to be retained and in relation to permanent availabilityCepeda, N. J., Vul, E., Rohrer, D., Wixted, J. T., & Pashler, H. (2008). Spacing effects in learning: A temporal ridgeline of optimal retention. Psychological Science, 19(11), doi: /j x
10 8False—BUT . . .Damage to dendrites will occur as a result of chronic abuseVit. B1 deficiency can cause Wernicke-Korsakoff syndromeModerate amounts of alcohol do not kill brain cells; however, chronic alcohol abuse or binge drinking will damage the dendrites, affecting inter-cellular communication. Alcoholism can also cause vitamin B1 deficiency, leading to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (confusion, coordination problems, amnesia, and death).Zuccala, G. , et al. Dose-related impact of alcohol consumption on cognitive function in advanced age: Results of a multicenter study. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2001, 25,
11 9 False. Only physical trauma can create a hole in your brain Key brain regions in drug addicted people may be reduced in sizeSome drugs interfere with the way cells send and receive messagesOnly physical trauma can create a hole in your brain. Key brain regions in drug addicted people may be reduced in size, but no actual holes are formed as a result of drug use. Drugs interfere with the way cells send and receive messages. With chronic use, progressively more drugs are needed to achieve stimulation, and pleasure becomes more difficult to achieve naturally.
12 10False.Crossword puzzles and similar games can help you learn words and improve specific skills, but will not enhance overall brain functionCrossword puzzles and similar games can help you learn words and improve specific skills, but they won’t enhance overall brain function. Some software packages such as “Brain Gym” make this claim—on little evidence.
13 11True.regular exercise can help maintain memory and general cognitionAerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain, lessening rate of tissue loss during agingJohn Ratey, Harvard: increases production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)If you want to preserve your mental abilities, exercise your body. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help maintain memory and general cognition, particularly later in life. Starting habits that promote healthy cognitive aging early in life can preserve brain function during aging. Studies show that foods rich in nutrients and antioxidants appear to reduce the risks of age-related impairment. Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain, and even lessens the rate of tissue loss during aging
14 12False.Both hemispheres work together in almost every cognitive task that has been studiedSomething as broad (and ill-defined) as “creativity” is not centered in one hemisphere.
15 13False.Arzi et al. (2012) determined that sleeping subject could learn smells—but that’s about it!Unfortunately, it appears that you can only learn smells. In a 2012 study, researchers sprayed volunteers with pleasant and unpleasant smells while they slept. Sleepers took bigger breaths for pleasant smells and smaller ones for unpleasant smells. Each smell was paired with a particular sound: a high-pitched beep for pleasant smells and base tone for unpleasant. When they played high-pitched beeps without a scent present, sleepers took deep breaths. They had learned to expect the pleasant smell; they were conditioned if not taught.Arzi, A., Shedlesday, L., Ben-Shaul, M., Nasser, K., Oksenbert, A., Hairston, I., & Sobel, N. (2012). Humans can learn new information during sleep. Nature Neuroscience 15, doi: /nn.3193
16 Bjork’s Big SevenBjork combined years of research into a system of key study activitiesI have built on this
17 The Big Seven Concentrate Interpret & Understand Organize & Structure InformationSpace & RepeatTest, Retest/Generate, RetrieveOrganize TimeRecognize Physical Factors
18 1. Concentrate Ever BLANK OUT while reading? Ever notice that a lecture has moved on to a completely different topic while you “tuned-out”?Ever driven miles while your mind wandered?1. Ever read several pages of text only to discover that in this case reading meant “running your eyes over the words without any comprehension whatsoever”?
19 Concentrate If you feel yourself slipping right now. Stop! Stand up; stretchTap your head three times while muttering “think”, “think”, “think”Now refocus. Feel better?We continue to study, teach, try to learn, practice and so on long after we’ve caught ourselves (or our students) slipping into semi-consciousness.
20 Attention, Please! Decades of attention research show us Dividing your attention between multiple tasks is inefficient (no multi-taking)Attention cannot be sustained indefinitely
21 Multi-tasking Multi-tasking is inefficient . . . often an attempt to combine necessary with desired tasksturn off the stereoleave the residencetell yourself that if you study/practice for 20 min. effectively then you’ll spend 5 minutes doing those other things you might otherwise be doing
22 Lecture Multitasking“significant negative correlation between in-class phone use and final grades corresponding to a drop of 0.36 plus or minus 0.08 on a 4-point scale where 4.0 = A”“students cannot multitask nearly as effectively as they think they can”Duncan, D. K., Hoekstra, A. R., & Wilcox, B. R. (2012). Digital devices, distraction, and student performance: Does in-class cell phone use reduce learning? Astronomy Education Review, 11 (1), p
23 Concentration Killers Minor!AlcoholDepressionInterrupting reading with texting/messaging/Moderate!Major!Haines, M. E., Norris, M. P., & Kashy, D. A. (1996). The effects of depressed mood on academic performance in college students. Journal Of College Student Development, 37(5),
24 Exceptions “separate perceptual domains” Allows one to read while walking on a treadmill without interferenceWriting while singing NOT so successful
25 Limits of Concentration 2. A person can concentrate for a limited amount of time.The duration of attention differs from person to person, from task to task.You will know when you’ve reached your limit: your mind will start to wander
26 Limits of Concentration For lectures, give yourself a pep talk beforehand:“Even the most boring lecture will end eventually.”When you find yourself beginning to lose attention, try to think of a question to ask the instructor and write it downWrite one down now!
27 Limits of Concentration Study: more difficult (or more boring) subjects may require more breaksYour ability to sustain focus tends to increase with practiceFatigue, illness will decrease endurance
28 Limits of Concentration Example: You have 50 minutes to studyYou will actually learn more by studying for 45 of those 50 minutes and then taking a short physical break for 5 min.
29 Limits of Concentration If you don’t take a break, your brain will go on one without you anyway. . . Possibly during the most important part of studyFor every 50 minutes, study, practice, or self-test for 25, take a break for 5, and then start again for 20.This study investigated if an acute bout of aerobic exercise could improve the selective attention aspect of executive functioning in higher- and lower-income middle school students. Participants took a selective attention task before and after either watching a 12 min video (control group) or engaging in 12 min of aerobic exercise (experimental group). As expected, watching a 12 min video did not impact the selective attention performance of either the higher- or lower-income students. However, 12 min of aerobic exercise did statistically significantly improve the selective attention performance of both higher- and lower-income students. Specifically, students processed a larger number of items correctly, while not increasing the proportion of errors made. This finding fits with an established body of research suggesting that acute bouts of aerobic exercise can improve EF skills (see Best, 2010; McMorris & Graydon, 2000; Tomporowski, 2003).”
30 Limits of Concentration DON’T FORGET TO START AGAIN!For the next 50 min. time period, you might notice diminishing returns from that 5 min. break.You might find that you need a 10 min. breakEventually your stamina will increase
31 2. Interpret & Understand Read the following:The exposure was insufficient because of the weather conditions.The crash was due to the keys sticking.The numbers slid down because of the crisis abroad.
32 Interpretation Interpretation can be thought of deep processing Now try to recall the three sentences that you just read on the previous slide. Can you do it?Fill in the blanks
33 Interpretation Remembering the sentences was probably difficult They seemed meaninglessThat which cannot be interpreted, cannot easily be recalled
34 Interpretation Read the sentences again: The exposure was insufficient because of the weather conditions. (Taking a picture)The crash was due to the keys sticking. (Computer break-down)The numbers slid down because of the crisis abroad. (Stock-market)
35 Interpretation Context provides comprehension Now try to recall the three sentences again.
36 Interpretation Other factors: you saw them before (repetition). You tried to recall them once already (retrieval practice)Repetition and retrieval practice are both crucial for learning & memoryResearch suggests that the sentences with “clues” are easier to remember even at first sight, because you were able to interpret the sentences.
37 3. Organize/Structure List the months of the year—write them down. How long did that take you?Did you get them all?
38 Organization/Structure Pretty trivial, pretty easy?Now list the months of the year alphabetically.How long did that take?Are you sure that you got them all?
39 Organization/Structure A change in organization is a change in information
40 Organization/Structure Preview the chapters of textbooksLook over section headings how chapters are organizedHow many of you read the chapter summaries at the beginning (or end) of the chapters before you begin reading?
42 4. Space/RepeatYou have 4 hours to study for tests in Class A & Class B. What do you do?Do you spend two hours on Course A and then two hours on Course B?Study Course A for an hour, then Course B for an hour, then Course A for an hour, then Course B.
43 4. Space/RepeatSpacing your study in this way is an easy way to increase variability of encodingSpacing your study increases retention
44 4. Space/RepeatEach time you study something, you will encode the information slightly differently.Especially when time intervenes between the two study sessions.“encoding variability”
45 Going Postal: Optimal Spacing BPO: teaching typing to postal workersOption 1: take workers off their jobs and give intensive typing trainingOption 2: combine training with job and brief practice each dayLance Workman, “Interview with Alan Baddeley.” The Psychologist, 25(5),
46 Typing Sessions Two 2-hour sessions per day (total of 4 hours) One 2-hour session per day (total of 2 hours)Two 1-hour sessions per day (total of 2 hours)One 1-hour session per day (1 hour)
47 Results: Acceptable Standard Attained 80 hours78 hours55 hoursAlso, group 4 retained their competence better than group 1
48 “SPACING EFFECT” Remember the curve of decay: Knowledge initially declines rapidly, dropping by 80-90% within a weekReview material before forgettingBrief reviews produce benefitsSpaced recall promotes long term memory: separate instances of effortful recall!
49 Micro-distribution practice Spaced presentation enhances memoryLandauer/Bjork method:Test new item after short delayAs item becomes better learned, gradually extend the practice intervalSample learning sequence:
50 Micro-Distribution Teacher Learner Stable = l’écurie Stable? Horse = le chevalHorse?Grass = l’herbeGrass?Church = l’égliseChurch?l’écurie Le cheval L’ écurie L’herbe l’église
51 5. Test, RetestWhen you flip through your textbook taking note of the organization before you begin to read the chapter, try to generate questions
52 Bjork’s Advice Step number one: Take out your highlighting pen. Step number two: Make sure your highlighter has plenty of ink.Step number three: Throw away your highlighter!!!
53 Read, Write; Don’t Highlight! Testing is BETTERRead a paragraph or two and test yourself: try to summarizeCheck the textbook to make sure that you have correctly summarized the informationCorrect as needed
54 Generate, Retrieve!All the time, try to make sense out of what you are learning (interpretation)Using this very powerful technique may double if not triple your reading time—but it will produce results.
55 Generate, Retrieve! Retrieval practice. How will you know you are ready to take the test and that you will do well on the exam?PRACTICE RETRIEVING THE INFORMATION BEFORE THE TEST!!!
56 Generate, Retrieve!Retrieval practice provides very effective feedback.Immediate knowledge of performanceEven better, retrieval practice makes the information more likely to be remembered the next time you try to retrieve it!
57 Test Write the French for . . . . Stable Stable = l’écurie Horse GrassChurchStable = l’écurieHorse = le chevalGrass = l’herbeChurch = l’église
58 6. Organize Time“time management and self-testing were generally stronger predictors of academic performance than aptitude”West, C., & Sadoski, M. (2011). Do study strategies predict academic performance inmedical school? Medical Education, 45, 696–703. doi: /j x
59 Time Thief: Video Games “81% of American youth report playing at least once per monthC. 9% of 8-18 year olds are pathological users“consistent negative associations between liking to play violent video games and school performance”BURGESS, S. R., STERMER, S. P., & BURGESS,M. C. R. Video game playing and academic performance in college students. College Student Journal, 46(2),
60 Organize Time Schedules reduce stress, ensure performance They must be designed realistically and they must suit youschedules build habits and habits can work for you!
61 Fight Procrastination Beat procrastination with a limited commitmentPromise to spend just 25 minutes on a large taskOnce you are working, delay quitting—perhaps 10 minutesExtend as necessary
62 TM Workshop For more on Time Management, attend our next TM workshop Or download our slideshows:
63 7. Study Environment Light Day vs. Night Height Distractions, internal and external
64 a. Daylight Lighting (100 watts times 2 or actual daylight Improves concentration, makes study more efficientImproves mood
65 Four Oaks Elementary Wholly “daylit” school Scores 7% ABOVE average Destroyed by fireStudents moved to trailersScores 10% BELOW averageNew daylit school: 9% above averageA study of the fullspectrum fluorescent Canadian schools reported that students had an attendance increase of 3.2 to 3.8 more days per year than the students in traditional fluorescent lighting schools (Hathaway, et al. 1992). Durant Road Middle School is a daylit school in the Wake County, North Carolina, school system. Durant reported the best health and attendance in the entire school system, an attendance rate above 98% (Bailey 1998). Teachers also have lower absenteeism rates, claimingthe lowest number of faculty health absences in the area. (Edwards, L., & Torcellini, P. (2002). A literature review of the effects of natural light on building occupants. National Renewable Energy Laboratory report TP Golden, CO.
66 b. Day vs. Night Most are more efficient in daytime Try to reserve low priority tasks for the nightThe later the hour, the lower the challenge should be“Sleep on it” tasks
67 c. Height Big debate: standing vs. sitting Standing increases alertnessProbably less injurious to healthIdeal: have at least one work space at which you can stand part of the time
68 d. DistractionsUse the “spider technique” to overcome your response to a distractorMake a “symbolic” responseTransition to none at allThe “spider strategy” sounds childishly simple, but it does aid concentration. If you poke a spider web, the spider will initially react. If you do it again, the spider will again come to investigate. If you continue to repeat the disturbance, the spider will learn the pattern and selectively ignore it. Try this: the first time you are distracted by a movement or noise, make a note on a sheet of paper. Do it again the next time and the next. Then merely think of the mark on the paper. Finally, do not react at all—you have dealt with it.
69 The EndWhat about those questions you wrote down?
70 go.unb.ca/wss www.unbwritingcentre.ca/Workshops Want to know more?go.unb.ca/wss