Category Archives: Psychology

Sleep and learning are inextricably linked. Albert Camus understood the connection: “Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep.” But the sleep you catch up on in class is not going to get you to your best grades or test scores. Instead, how and when you hit the pillow exerts a tremendous impact on your performance the next day. The Motherlode blog at the New York Times explored the concept of tailoring sleep patterns to desired outcomes. In essence, the author suggests the following: Facing a trivia contest, spelling bee, or test based on memorized information? Go to sleep early to get as much Stage 1 deep sleep as you can. Deep sleep is when the brain consolidates new information. Facing a big sporting event, performance, or test based on practiced physical skills? Sleep late enough to enjoy sufficient quantities of Stage 2 sleep. Stage 2…

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You have probably heard the terms “extrovert” and “introvert.” According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the difference between extraversion (yes, the word is spelled this way in the MBTI) and introversion is the attitude people use to direct their energy. All of us have traits of each, but tend to rely on one more heavily than the other. Extraverts draw their energy from the external world. You know the type: outgoing, life-of-the-party, gregarious, can carry on conversations with anyone about a multitude of topics. The process of interacting with others and engaging with the world energizes the extrovert. As you’d expect, Extraverts prefer active learning and engaging with others: Study in groups where you can bounce ideas off of others Choose learning partners who are motivated to stay on task Employ active listening and reading practices   Introverts, on the other hand, draw their energy from their internal worlds of…

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Imagine two students in a classroom in Any High School, USA. One struggles to concentrate on what the teacher is saying, but finds himself daydreaming instead. Mind ablaze with different ideas, some only tangentially related to the subject at hand, he texts a note about how boring the teacher is to his best friend. She, however, is so busy taking notes, engaged in what she considers a brilliant lecture, that she doesn’t even notice the text. What accounts for the discrepancies in the ways different students experience the same lessons, teachers, and subjects? Some much of the variation comes down to learning style. All of us learn in different ways, not just in the sense of visual, auditory, and tactile processing, but based on deeper factors. Personality types can shed a lot of light on your specific learning style. Any student enrolled in our Roots2Words: Personalities and Perspective Words program…

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Do you have time for an easy quiz? Just answer this one question: Do you do better work after a good night’s sleep or after missing a full night of sleep? Easy, right? Believe it or not, multitasking has the same impact on our work as losing a night’s sleep, according to trials run at King’s College London: In 80 clinical trials, Dr. Glenn Wilson, a psychiatrist at King’s College London University, monitored the IQ of workers throughout the day. He found the IQ of those who tried to juggle messages and work fell by 10 points — the equivalent to missing a whole night’s sleep and more than double the 4-point fall seen after smoking marijuana. Why give up the the mental processing power of 10 full IQ points if you don’t have to? Unless you are part of the supertasker elite, unplug from media and work on one…

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Meditation may be tough to master in this busy, plugged-in world, but regular practice can moderate stress, promote emotional well-being, and foster physical health. If those benefits aren’t enough to sell daily relaxation, consider this one: meditation can actually make your brain better. Consistent meditation over a period of years has been linked to positive changes in both the structure of the brain and the strength of synaptic connections. Researchers at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging found that long-term meditation promotes gyrification, which is more desirable than it sounds: …Gyrification or cortical folding is the process by which the surface of the brain undergoes changes to create narrow furrows and folds called sulci and gyri. Their formation may promote and enhance neural processing. Presumably then, the more folding that occurs, the better the brain is at processing information, making decisions, forming memories and so forth. Do you know someone…

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