Hitting the books is by definition an anti-social activity. It is about locking yourself away in a quiet room, to pour over pages and pages of “important” information.
In person contacts and social media posting CEASE.
There is no way you can CEASE
Cease……………… don’t be ridiculous, as an addict, no contact would precipitate a life threatening withdrawal syndrome. You don’t cease, you cut back significantly.
Cutting back involves reluctantly turning off the notifications and refraining from checking in, during your study sessions.
This week’s Neurotechnology Tip suggests you might not need to forgo your social media fix, when you’re trying to study. Researchers from the University of Warwick recommend doing the exact opposite, they think you should deliberately log into your facebook account to study.
Because facebook posts will stick in your memory.
The research team set about testing what format information should be in, to maximize recall.
They exposed a group of volunteers to
- Sentences from books
- Anonymous facebook updates, stripped of images and out of context
- Human faces
The thing the participants remembered BEST – the facebook posts.
Facebook is full of noise
The guys from Warwick were.
In a single hour, facebook is updated 30 million times. Most updates are mundane, sharing largely trivial bits of information – truth be told, most of the information is instantly forgettable.
But the brain does not forget !
It gives these posts higher status than serious information from learned books. Facebook posts are brain candy.…..
Facebook keeps it real
Stunned the team tried to figure out WHY facebook posts were so…………………..memorable.
Several experiments later, they concluded, facebook posts are REAL. They are written in a conversational style i.e. spontaneous, unedited and closer to natural speech and your brain likes this. Plus they tend to be stand alone bits of information, making them more manageable.
They are “mind-ready”
A blast from the past
Our brain is probably designed to remember bits of information that it considers “helpful”. It would have been prudent to remember when travelling past the big rock, turning left is dangerous and turning right is rewarding. On the other hand, remembering the day and time the second world war started, is not obviously “helpful”.
One way to learn the ins and outs of big rock geography, would be the hard way. The other, through listening for snippits of information dropped into casual conversations. In the past, stuff worth remembering would not have come by reading a carefully edited and polished text, it would have been spontaneous.
Yup, the study notes written in “proper” English are forgettable.
And forgetting is exactly what happens to you. You diligently study them and then, you forget them.
So to remember more, you need the information to be “REAL” i.e. a facebook post.
One caveat – you do need to be posting about the material you’re studying.
Here is a quick guide on how to get going
- Set up a private facebook group page for a specific class.
- Invite the people in your class to join the page.
- Set a few rules, such as only content related to the class can be shared.
- Turn off all notifications, except the notifications coming from you study group. You don’t want to get distracted.
- Set a timer
- Adopt the usual study position………… open those books etc.
- Then start studying and SHARING.
Be sure to share what you have learned with your facebook group, write it in your own words, using the kind of language you would use when sharing on your profile page. Ask questions.
Read what your fellow class mates are sharing.
The back and forth banter of brain candy, should help you get the information to stick. And it will be way more fun than pouring over the books on your own.
Social studying – the way to do it in the 21st century….
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