Skip to main content

What Happens In Coma?

How To Study More Efficiently?

 You have a test coming up and you should be studying. While we’re at it, we may as well go into depth and cover the science behind learning to better understand how to absorb information, not just memorize. How do we learn and what are the mechanisms of action that lead to a new level of understanding? 

What we’re about to explain to you is powerful information so we suggest you use it wisely and don’t abuse it! In the late 1800s, Russian psychologist, Ivan Pavlov, was studying salivation in dogs in response to food when he discovered something utterly unique for the time. He had already predicted that his dogs would salivate in response to being given food. That was a given! But what Pavlov did not anticipate was that his dogs would salivate just from the sound of the footsteps of someone delivering the food. That’s when he had the idea to measure salvation from stimuli associated with food, not just the food itself. With this, the concept of classical conditioning was born. 

The ring of a bell on its own isn’t going to make a dog’s mouth water. But what Pavlov discovered is that you can teach a dog to react by pairing the sound of a bell with food. When associated, the dogs learned to start salivating at the sound of a bell. This was not done consciously. Rather, it was the inner workings of the dogs’minds that figured out that the ringing was an indication of the impending arrival of their dinner. In this way, the dogs learned to adopt a new behavior without realizing they were doing it. This can also be applied to humans. If you’ve ever watched the popular show, The Office, you may remember the episode when Jim offers Dwight an Altoid every time his computer reboots.

 After repeated exposure, Dwight holds his hand out, not realizing why he suddenly expects to be given an Altoid after hearing Jim’scomputer reboot. Jim asks, “what are you doing?” and Dwightanswers, “I don’t know. Following Pavlov’s infamous experiment wasJohn Watson in the early 1900s. In a time before ethical considerations, a baby known as “Little Albert” was introduced to a furry, little, white rat before being subjected to the obnoxious, distressing sound of a gong.

  He was even initially amused by the creature. But after numerous pairings of the rat with the gong, the baby began to cry upon seeing the animal, learning to feel afraid. This taught us a lot about how we develop phobias to various things. Watson asserted that we are not born afraid, but that fear is induced in us through association. For instance, you may be terrified of cockroaches but that may only be because, when you were young, you watched your mother react by screaming every time she saw one of that creepy crawlies. In this way, she taught you to be afraid of them by pairing the sight of the cockroach with a fear response.

 But don’t be too hard on your mom for this. Odds are, it wasn’t intentional. She was just behaving naturally. And who could blame her? Anyone would do the same. Those things are gross! Unless you give it a diamond-studded collar of course. Now, let’s move on to a psychologist, AlbertBandura’s social learning theory. He believes that learning is a social process, conducted through observation. To demonstrate this, he used a bobo doll. In 1961, the famous Bobo doll experiment was conducted on children to measure the extent to which behavior was learned by watching others.

 Some children were assigned to watch a clip of an adult being nice to a bobo doll while others watched an adult committing violence against it. The children were then placed in a room with the bobo doll in order to see what they would do with it. Findings showed that the kids imitated the behavior they’d seen prior to interacting with the doll. Some even improvised, adding their own creative ideas along with the process. For example, a kid might have picked up a toy gun and pretended to shoot at the doll despite only witnessing the adult punch and kick it. This was huge in demonstrating how humans learn to adopt observed behaviors by watching others. 

With this, the concept of a role model is taken to a whole new level. Bandura explains four processes of learning. First, there is attention or the degree to which the behavior is noticed. In order to imitate behavior, that behavior first has to grab your attention. This is pretty straight forward. Next is retention or how well the behavior is remembered. You may initially notice the behavior but perhaps it doesn’t entirely sink in or register for a long period of time. If it isn’t remembered, you don’t imitate it. The third is a reproduction or your ability to perform the behavior that the model demonstrated. Sometimes we’d like to imitate someone's behavior, but we are limited by our physical ability and can’t. 

You may see someone do a backflip and wish you could do it, but you’re stumped. Finally, there’s motivation, our willingness to perform the behavior. If the reward of performing the action outweigh the cost, we are more likely to do it. For example, if you see that a guy dressing well attracts a lot of girls to him, you may feel inclined to also start dressing better because you’ve witnessed the reward from doing so. Okay, so now for the big question: what do all these theories tell us about studying? What does the science behind learning teach us with regards to how to study more effectively? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! We rounded up some tips drawn from decades worth of research. Here’s how the science says you should study if you want to better assimilate the information and get that big, fat A+ on your next exam.

 First, it may surprise you to know that cramming for a test last minute is not helpful. Trying to squeeze in a bunch of information into a one- or two-night study session will not do you any good. The consensus states that spacing out study sessions over time is way more effective for long-term learning. So, for instance, if you need to spend a total of 12 hours on a subject, it’s best to spend three hours per week across the span of a month before your test than to cram all 12 hours into one week. Now, maybe in the past, you’ve done just fine on your tests after cramming but, odds are, you don’t remember the material as well in the long run. 

Thus, if you want the cost of your college tuition to be more worthwhile, space out your time in the library. At any rate, spending three hours at a time hitting the books and then enjoying the rest of the night off binge-watching videos onYouTube is way more fun than a long, brutal, drawn-out 12-hour session. We should also mention that you’re more likely to remember the first and final parts of what you study. The time spent in the middle tends to get lost in the shuffle more easily. You can see this for yourself if you try to memorize a large list of numbers and then try to recall what you remember. 

Chances are good that the numbers you spew out mostly come from the beginning and end of that list. Thus, a longer study session means that less information is retained in-between starting and finishing. That means more time wasted. Next, mixing subjects is best. If you have to study for more than one class, the science says it’s better to switch on subjects while studying rather than focus on a single subject for a long period of time. Why is this exactly? The explanation for it is that mixing or interweaving subjects is key in learning, forgetting, and relearning, which helps cement information in the brain for the long term.

 You may study the answer to a history question, move on to something else and then you relearn the answer to that same question and think, Thus, it becomes better stored for easier access and future retrieval. Mixing subjects while studying also forces students to pay attention to similarities and differences between the things they’ retrying to learn, which gives them an improved understanding of the material. So, don’t just block your study sessions based on the topic. Feel free to switch off back and forth between them. 

The learning theories we covered also centralize around an important theme. That is, we tend to learn and remember lessons that are more emotionally provoking or that are significant to us in some way, shape, or form. Try to incorporate some meaning into your study materials. Find a way to connect some aspect of what you're learning to something personal in your own life. This will help the information feel more real to you and make it more memorable. Applications of theoretical material to real-life situations and scenarios also make the content easier to understand. For instance, if you’re trying to learn difficult math concepts, try relating it back to something in your daily life.

 If you’re trying to figure out a percentage question, for example, think about when you go shopping at the mall and you have to calculate prices in your head when something is advertised as half off or 30% off. Then relate that information back to the question in front of you. If you’re studying vocabulary, consider the meaning of each word and try to use it in a sentence or two that applies to a situation that is relevant to you. Let’s say your word is “misanthrope.” You could say something like, “My neighbors a ‘misanthrope’ because he surrounds his yard with a barbed wire fence to keep others away. That and he wouldn’t hand out candy duringHalloween, which I’m feeling pretty salty about.” There you have it.

 Now you get the idea. Teaching others is also a useful tool in cementing the information into your long-term memory. This is because, when you have to teach a subject, you’re forced to think in-depth about it. You have to describe it in a way that will help the other person understand, which, in turn, strengthens your own knowledge. Also, your student may ask questions that push the bounds of your proficiency, forcing you to think deeply about the answer, further grounding the information into your head. The final tip on this list is to test yourself on your knowledge.

 If you just engage in repeated reading, without quizzing yourself on the chapters, you get a false sense of familiarity. You feel like you know the material. But retrieving the material is an entirely different matter. Thus, testing yourself on your knowledge by forcing yourself to ask and answer questions lets you know what more you still need to cover and what you’ve already grasped. Okay so you used these tips, you studied hard, got the degree, and the perfect job. Now you’re rich and successful - it's smooth sailing from here on, right?

 

Comments