Annie Murphy Paul

How to (Once and For All) Correct Mistaken Beliefs

“Often mistaken, never in doubt.” That wry phrase describes us all more than we’d like to admit. The psychological study of misconceptions shows that all of us possess many beliefs that are flawed or flat-out wrong—and also that we cling to these fallacies with remarkable tenacity. Although much of this research concerns misguided notions of … Continue reading How to (Once and For All) Correct Mistaken Beliefs →

How to Stimulate Curiosity

Curiosity is the engine of intellectual achievement—it’s what drives us to keep learning, keep trying, keep pushing forward. But how does one generate curiosity, in oneself or others? George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, proposed an answer in a classic 1994 paper, “The Psychology of Curiosity.” Curiosity arises, Loewenstein … Continue reading How to Stimulate Curiosity →

Why Confusion Can Be a Good Thing

We all know that confusion doesn’t feel good. Because it seems like an obstacle to learning, we try to arrange educational experiences and training sessions so that learners will encounter as little confusion as possible. But as is so often the case when it comes to learning, our intuitions here are exactly wrong. Scientists have … Continue reading Why Confusion Can Be a Good Thing →

Anxious About Tests? Tips to Ease Angst

As any parent or teacher knows, tests can create crippling anxiety in students–and anxious kids can perform below their true abilities. But new research in cognitive science and psychology is giving us a clearer understanding of the link between stress and performance, and allowing experts to develop specific strategies for helping kids manage their fears. … Continue reading Anxious About Tests? Tips to Ease Angst →

Here Comes 2013: The Big Themes in Learning

Getty Here are three big stories concerning education and learning that you’ll be hearing about in the year ahead—and some pointers on how to think about them. 1. SMART USE OF TECH. Computers have been present in classrooms for a number of years now, of course, and in 2013 excitement about their potential to transform … Continue reading Here Comes 2013: The Big Themes in Learning →

Beyond Talent and Smarts: Why Even Geniuses Struggle

Flickr:Bunchesandbits “The struggle with writing is over.” That message, written on a Post-It note and affixed to his computer, brings the novelist Philip Roth great relief and contentment these days, according to a profile published earlier this week in the New York Times. At the age of 79, the author of more than 31 acclaimed … Continue reading Beyond Talent and Smarts: Why Even Geniuses Struggle →

Why “Googling It” Is Not Enough

Thinkstock Has the Internet changed the way students conduct research? Yes, and not always for the better, reports to a study released last week by the Pew Research Center, “How Teens Do Research in the Digital World.” According to a survey of more than 2,000 middle and high school teachers, “research” for today’s students means … Continue reading Why “Googling It” Is Not Enough →

What Do Emotions Have to Do with Learning?

Thinkstock When parents and teachers consider how children learn, it’s usually the intellectual aspects of the activity they have in mind. Sidney D’Mello would like to change that. The University of Notre Dame psychologist has been studying the role of feelings in learning for close to a decade, and he has concluded that complex learning … Continue reading What Do Emotions Have to Do with Learning? →

Can E-Readers Ease Reading for Dyslexics?

Flickr: libookperson The causes of dyslexia—the disorder that makes reading excruciatingly difficult for about one in twenty school-aged children—have remained frustratingly elusive, as has anything resembling a cure. Training programs for dyslexics have proven effective at improving certain parts of the reading process, such as phonological awareness and auditory perception. Once these skills have been … Continue reading Can E-Readers Ease Reading for Dyslexics? →

How Thinking in 3D Can Improve Math and Science Skills

All of us, children included, live in a three-dimensional universe—but too often parents and teachers act as if the physical world is as flat as a worksheet or the page of a book. We call kids’ attention to numbers and letters, but we neglect to remark upon the spatial properties of the objects around us: … Continue reading How Thinking in 3D Can Improve Math and Science Skills →

Surprising Tips That Help Kids Learn to Read

Thinkstock Parents, do you know how to read? More precisely, do you know how to read to kids? Almost every adult who cares for young children knows that sharing books with them is an important way to promote their reading skills. But research shows that subtle features of the way adults act during story-time make … Continue reading Surprising Tips That Help Kids Learn to Read →

Why Daydreaming Isn’t a Waste of Time

Parents and teachers expend a lot of energy getting kids to pay attention, concentrate, and focus on the task in front of them. What adults don’t do, according to University of Southern California education professor Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, is teach children the value of the more diffuse mental activity that characterizes our inner lives: daydreaming, … Continue reading Why Daydreaming Isn’t a Waste of Time →

How Do You Spark a Love of Math in Kids?

What is it about middle school and mathematics? Decades of educational research demonstrate that during the years between elementary school and high school, many students disengage from math and don’t regain their interest—to the detriment of their later schooling, and even their adult careers. A study that followed 273 students over the course of their … Continue reading How Do You Spark a Love of Math in Kids? →