Friday, March 27, 2009

Your Brain is Your Friend

via Instapundit, a fascinating article from Scientific American about what makes kids learn, and what can make them stop learning. If you read the whole thing, the behavioral traits illustrated are not restricted to children.
Many people assume that superior intelligence or ability is a key to success. But more than three decades of research shows that an overemphasis on intellect or talent—and the implication that such traits are innate and fixed—leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unmotivated to learn.

Kids in the studies mentioned in the article were taught that the brain was something like a muscle, and exercising it would make it stronger and faster. They became much more motivated to do homework and try hard, since failure didn't mean "stupid". It just meant their brains weren't strong enough yet.

Yeah, strange how that works. If serious adults, that a child respects and believes are all-knowing, say (for example) that math ability is innate and what you have is what you will always have to the end of time, amen, why try to learn? Why try, and possibly fail, and prove to the world your lack of talent? I'm looking at you, Larry Summers.


Anonymous BillT said...

Many people assume that superior intelligence or ability is a key to success.

Epic Fail occurs when many people assume that they actually *possess* said superior intelligence merely because they feel that they *should* be so endowed because their sensitivities are so, y'know, ummmm, ahhhhhh, *nuanced* toward being, errr, ackshully, ehhhhh, *sensitized* to sensitivity.

And feelings 'n' stuff..

4:09 AM, March 28, 2009  

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