Sunday, September 21, 2014

How We Learn by Benedict Carey

Steve Kramer reads HOW WE LEARN by Benedict Carey, which bears the subtitle “The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens.” One of the surprises is that the traditional method of cramming for tests is not effective in many cases. Science has shown that the brain has many complex ways to arrange perception, memory and retrieval, and sleep patterns figure into this. Oddly, we learn different things in different ways, and what you’re learning determines whether you should stay up late or go to bed early prior to being tested. Also, the usual method of finding a quiet place to study isn’t as effective as learning in the same setting as you’ll be tested. Instead of being a distraction, music or sounds can aid learning, especially if those same sounds are repeated during the exam. The science behind how learning is best achieved is examined here, Carey being a medical and science reporter for the New York Times. The audiobook will help students, musicians, and anyone else struggling with memorizing or just trying to get through college with less stress. And if you want to learn things unrelated to passing a test or getting a job, try WHAT IF? by Randall Munroe, which is subtitled "Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions." Best of all it's read by Wil Wheaton, formerly of Star Trek, and now with his own cable show on all things geekdom.

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