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Research Studies Of The Week

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'magnifying glass' photo (c) 2005, Tall Chris - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I often write about research studies from various fields and how they can be applied to the classroom. I write individual posts about ones that I think are especially significant, and will continue to do so. However, so many studies are published that it’s hard to keep up. So I’ve started writing a “round-up” of some of them each week or every other week as a regular feature:

A recent study was published identifying what elements make an infographic more memorable. Here’s an excerpt from an article on the study:

“A visualization will be instantly and overwhelmingly more memorable if it incorporates an image of a human-recognizable object—if it includes a photograph, people, cartoons, logos—any component that is not just an abstract data visualization,” says Pfister. “We learned that any time you have a graphic with one of those components, that’s the most dominant thing that affects the memorability.”

Visualizations that were visually dense proved memorable, as did those that used many colors. Other results were more surprising.

“You’d think the types of charts you’d remember best are the ones you learned in school—the bar charts, pie charts, scatter plots, and so on,” Borkin says. “But it was the opposite.”

Unusual types of charts, like tree diagrams, network diagrams, and grid matrices, were actually more memorable.

“If you think about those types of diagrams—for example, tree diagrams that show relationships between species, or diagrams that explain a molecular chemical process—every one of them is going to be a little different, but the branching structures feel very natural to us,” explains Borkin. “That combination of the familiar and the unique seems to influence the memorability.”

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Creating Infographics.

Forget Delayed Gratification: What Kids Really Need Is Cognitive Control is an article in TIME that says we shouldn’t necessarily talk about “self-control.” Instead:

fighting off impulses is just one part of a much broader and more predictive mental skill, one that scientists call cognitive control or the ability to manage your attention.

That phrase was new to me, and I’m adding it to The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control.

I’ve written a lot about how extrinsic rewards don’t improve performance. A new study, though, tried offering “prosocial bonuses” — money that workers could give to charities. They found some positive results.

How Field Trips Build Critical Thinking Skills is a short article at MindShift about a study documenting the academic benefits of taking…field trips.

Five Research-Driven Education Trends At Work in Classrooms is another interesting article at MindShift.

The Power of Restraint: Always Leave Them Wanting More is an article from The Harvard Business Review citing a fair amount of research, and is worth reviewing.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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