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It was tested by MIT researchers who found better learning in college students.
What is the best study method? And how to improve learning? A simple “trick” could allow us to make the most of our brain’s potential, helping us to process and remember almost anything. It was tested by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who found an unexpected benefit to attention lapses, or those moments when one loses concentration and which, according to the results of this new test, helps to improve learning.
According to the researchers, the brief loss of concentration would allow the absorption of new information not directly related to the task at hand, but which would later prove useful for knowledge. ” Although focus helps us reduce our concentration, losing some focus can widen the span of attention, helping us to incorporate less relevant information, which can help us learn more about regularities in our environment or even to integrate distant ideas or concepts.» explains on Twitter neuroscientist Alexandra Decker who led the study.
To test this hypothesis, the researchers conducted a test on a group of 53 university students, who were given the tedious task of sorting out the letters and numbers that appeared on a computer screen, flanked by distracting symbols that they should have ignored. As expected, the concentration of the participants »it rocked in and out of focusexplains Decker who, with his colleagues, used a technique capable of detecting fluctuations in attention based on personal reaction times.
However, during moments of loss of concentration, the field of attention widens, leading students to see correlations between the appearance of a letter or number and distracting signs. ” Therefore, moments of loss of concentration increased learning – tweets the expert – . We also observed that those who lost the most concentration were also the most sensitive to distractors and showed the most learning. ».
The results of the research, published in an article on Psychonomic Bulletin and Reviewtherefore suggest that Sometimes losing focus can be a good thing. But going from periods of high concentration to periods of less concentration – concludes Decker – it might be the best thing overall”.
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