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‘Overlearning’ Helps Lock in New Skills

[From the Boston Globe:]

Musicians often play the same piece of music over and over, long past the point of mastery. Researchers debate whether there is any benefit to “overlearning” a skill in that way.

Now, CLPS researchers suggest there is a previously unknown benefit to continuing to train after one’s performance has plateaued: Even just 20 minutes of overlearning locks in a new skill, shielding it from being overwritten by other information.

“If you’d like to learn something very important, then you can protect that from being disrupted by new learning,” says study coauthor Takeo Watanabe, who studies vision and learning. But be warned, he notes: Because overlearning blocks subsequent learning, it may prevent you from learning a series of similar things in rapid succession.

The work was published online in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Joachim Krueger: Manufacturing Happiness

Prof. Joachim Krueger is interviewed about the psychology of creativity for the Brown Schoolf of Profeessional Studies. Read more and listen to the interview here.

Xuan Zhao: Through the Eyes of a Robot

CLPS PhD student Xuan Zhao presented her talk 'Through the Eyes of a Robot'at the Research Matters! series at Brown. Watch her video presentation in full at YouTube.

Infants Use Prefrontal Cortex for Learning, Study Finds

Researchers have traditionally considered the prefrontal cortex, the portion of the brain responsible for higher cognitive activity, to be too underdeveloped in young children. However, a study by Prof. Dima Amso's Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory involving 8-month-old infants suggests this may not be the case. Read more about this work at UPI.

CLPS Researchers Among Team Testing Dementia Treatment

CLPS researchers William Heindel and Elena Festa, alongside researchers from Rhode Island hospitals, hope that transcranial magnetic stimulation will become the first successful treatment for frontotemporal dementia. Read more at the Brown Daily Herald site.

TA Applications Now Open for Spring 2017

You can apply to be an undergraduate TA in a Spring 2017 CLPS course with our online form. Appllications now open.

Brain Science at Forefront of Brown Scholarship Priorities

“Building on Distinction,” the University’s 10-year strategic plan launched in 2014, lists “Understanding the Human Brain” among seven themes of scholarship to be emphasized and invested in under President Christina Paxson’s P’19 administration. This designation is more than just a recognition of what is; it has implications for what Brown will become, said Provost Richard Locke P’17. Read more details about Brown's focus on the mind and brain at the Brown Daily Herald.