- Mar 2022
In a study published in 2020, for example, Macedonia and a group of sixcoauthors compared study participants who had paired new foreign-languagewords with gestures to those who had paired the learning of new words withimages of those words. The researchers found evidence that the motor cortex—the area of the brain that controls bodily movement—was activated in thegesturing group when they reencountered the vocabulary words they hadlearned; in the picture-viewing group, the motor cortex remained dormant. The“sensorimotor enrichment” generated by gesturing, Macedonia and hercoauthors suggest, helps to make the associated word more memorable
Manuela Macedonia and co-authors found that pairing new foreign words with gestures created activity in the motor cortex which helped to improve the associative memory for the words and the movements. Using images of the words did not create the same motor cortex involvement.
It's not clear which method of association is better, at least as written in The Extended Mind. Was one better than the other? Were they tested separately, together, and in a control group without either? Surely one would suspect that using both methods together would be most beneficial.
- Feb 2022
Local file Local file
This is why it is so much easier to remember things we understandthan things we don’t. It is not that we have to choose to focus eitheron learning or understanding. It is always about understanding – andif it is only for the sake of learning. Things we understand areconnected, either through rules, theories, narratives, pure logic,mental models or explanations. And deliberately building these kindsof meaningful connections is what the slip-box is all about.Every step is accompanied by questions like: How does this fact fitinto my idea of ...? How can this phenomenon be explained by thattheory? Are these two ideas contradictory or do they complementeach other? Isn’t this argument similar to that one? Haven’t I heardthis before? And above all: What does x mean for y? Thesequestions not only increase our understanding, but facilitate learningas well. Once we make a meaningful connection to an idea or fact, itis difficult not to remember it when we think about what it isconnected with.
Our natural associative memories make learning easier when we can associate a new piece of knowledge into our previously existing framework of knowledge and understanding.
Associative questions can help us to assume new knowledge. Try some of the following:
How does this new fact X fit into my conception of Y?
How can new phenomenon be explained by theory Z?
Is this new idea contradictory with this prior theory or do they complement and reinforce each other?
Is this new argument similar to that one? Is one subsumed into or abstracted by the other?
This sounds familiar, haven't I heard this before?
What does x mean for y?