College of Letters & Science l Department of Psychology
Dr. C. Shawn Green received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Rochester. He then completed post-doctoral training in computer vision and machine learning at the University of Minnesota, before joining the Psychology faculty at UW-Madison in 2011. His research focuses on how to improve individuals’ perceptual and cognitive skills both via purposefully designed training regimens as well as commercial off-the-shelf video games.
“Brain Training” has become a huge industry with hundreds of thousands of individuals using various products worldwide. Here I’ll cover what the science in this field really says about what is best for your brain health.
When video games first rose to popularity almost three decades ago, they were considered reasonably “mindless” entertainment. Since then though it has become clear that video games are far from mindless. Instead, playing some games can produce a host of benefits to the way you see and think.
National surveys indicate that over 95% of children today play video games of some type. Here I’ll cover one common concern that many parents have – that video game play can become “addictive.” In this I’ll discuss the definition and predictors of “Internet Gaming Disorder (the clinical term for video game addiction), as well as offer real-world advice for parents worried about their children’s video game play habits.
Many of the most common methods that students use when studying have been repeatedly shown to produce poor learning outcomes. These include common practices such as re-reading texts, highlighting text, studying in a “consistent location” or having a “study routine,” studying one topic at a time in long blocks, cramming, studying with a television or radio on as “background noise” and many others. More interesting still, when students are explicitly exposed to both more and less effective methods of studying and are asked which was more effective, they almost always identify the less effective methods as being more effective. In the end, it seems that not only do learners tend to gravitate toward less effective methods of studying, they aren’t able to recognize these as being less effective. In this talk, I’ll be discussing both the less effective practices (and explaining why they’re not effective) as well as talk about the types of studying techniques that are more effective at producing learning. In this I’ll talk about the benefits of distributing studying over time, interleaving the topics that are studied, having variety in study contexts, of active (as compared to passive) studying techniques, and many more. I’ll also talk about how I instantiate these principles in my own class and encourage my students to utilize them when studying.