Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Get Real! Which is More Reliable, Emotional or Neutral Learning?

Emotional learning wins the day. Not a surprise to advertisers, pictures and words that are more likely to evoke an emotional response were more likely to be remembered accurately. In the picture below, CA refers to "correct attribution", and MA, "mis-attribution". This particular graph shows the extent of activation in the emotional amygdala. Look at the difference between correct and false for emotional words only (green star). No wonder it's hard to remember what we've heard from even a just-OK lecturer.

Some other observations in this study raised more questions than answers (different brain networks appeared to be involved with false memories for emotional or neutral words), but agreement with the research post from yesterday, results suggested that a high degree of imagined visual imagery results in more mistakes. One of the burdens of highly active imaginations.

So the take-home point of this study is that learning that evokes a personal reaction, is learning that is likely to be remembered.

Emotional Learning fMRI
Intrinsic Motivation
Motivation and Middle School Students
Some Ideas for Motivating Students

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