npj Science of Learning Community: Digest #7

Image by Mariana Antoneag, Pixabay
Image by Mariana Antoneag, Pixabay

The npj Science of Learning Community presents research focussing on the mind, brain and education space. In April, our authors examined whether spacing study improved student academic performance, and if mindfulness meditation helped to extinguish fearful memories.

The world is still in the grip of COVID-19 and never has there been a greater time to test the effectiveness of online learning, with physical distancing accepted as the ‘new normal’. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University observed the online behaviour of students to assess whether study spaced over an extended period compared more favourably to the cramming method. Paulo Carvalho discussed the learning approach that worked best in Spacing study in distance learning.

A frightening experience is, for many people, hard to forget, and when the memory is recalled, the challenge is coping with the response triggered: anxiety, panic or PTSD. Sara Lazar, based at Harvard Medical School, led a research study which examined how mindful meditation helped reduce the symptoms participants experienced and the brain’s ability to adapt to and live with confronting memories in Extinguishing fear.

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