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Learning physics activates a part of the brain associated with episodic memory





Students learning from a physics course using modeling instructions showed changes in brain activity. With the fMRI, the researchers found that the posterior cingulate cortex became more active after learning.

( Pixabay )

Areas of the brain that are not normally associated with learning science become active as soon as people actively participate in physics learning.

Different forms of instruction can alter brain activity

Researchers from a new study, who said in the journal Frontiers in ICT, that their results show that the brain's activity is variable through different forms of teaching.

Study researcher Eric Brewe of the University of Arts and Sciences of the University of Drexel and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure blood flow in the brain to capture the areas that become active when human before and after learning the concepts fulfill a physics inference task.

In the study, more than 50 volunteer students took a physics course with a "modeling lessons" teaching style that encouraged learners to be active participants in the learning process.

Before class, participants took questions from a test that evaluated the knowledge of physics taught in early college. The students took the test called Force Concept Inventory for the second time after completing their physics course.

In both cases, activities in the participant's brain were monitored by fMRI during the test.

New areas of the brain become active After completing the physics course

The researchers found that the parietal cortex and the lateral prefrontal cortex, parts of the brain associated with working memory, attention and problem solving, showed activity before the Students attending the physics course

found that the students' frontal poles became more active, which is not surprising since these areas are associated with learning. However, you have also noticed that a new area is active. This part of the brain, known as the posterior cingulated cortex, is associated with episodic memory and self-referential thinking.

"We delivered fMRI brain activation results from two main estimates: First, we observed that the physics inference task (FCI> control issues) was associated with increased brain activity, especially in the lateral prefrontal and parietal regions." the researchers said in their May 24 study

"Students who had completed the MI course showed increased activation during the physics task after the course in the posterior cingulate cortex and frontal pole regions."

Implications of the study

The researchers said that the results of their study could help improve physics learning.

Among the objectives of the study is to examine how modeling lessons can encourage students to use their own mental models to learn new concepts.

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