We’ve already talked about the Learning Curve. In this blog post, we will talk about the psychology behind the process of learning. We will try to define how learning impacts our brains. While doing so, we will also look a little into how forgetting affects humans. Before we dive deeper, let’s start by defining the important terms.
Table of Contents
- Brain: It is an organ located within the skull in a human body. It is responsible for the cognitive and mental processes. All the movement of the body part is done by the brain. Psychology is connecting with the brain because the brain is the place where perceptions, ideas, thoughts take place.
- Psychology: It is the scientific study of the mind and human behaviour. It is a multilayered discipline that tries to study different functions of the brain, including human development, conscious and unconscious movements, cognitive thinking, etc.
- Learning: This is defined as the process of taking in information and changing what we know and what we do. It is known to be a relatively permanent change in a person’s knowledge or behaviour. However, the learning process is often supported by what we already know and what we’ve experienced.
- Forgetting: Also known as disremembering, it is the loss or changing of the already stored information in an individual’s short or long term memory. This is a gradual process in which the memory storage lets go of the old memories.
What is Psychology in Learning
Psychologists have known that the Brain is where learning happens for many years now. Even though this information has always been held true, they weren’t aware of how it happens.
Recently, neuroscience, with the help of new effective and emerging technologies, was able to go inside the brain and observe the process of learning.
Sensory information is transmit from a network of neurons. It is then store temporarily in our short term memory where the data that we encounter on a daily basis in the store. One thing to note is that if we wish to keep information stored and saved, it needs to be transmit to the long term memory section.
Once processed in the former sector, our brain’s neural pathways carry these memories to the structural core. These are then store in the long term memory, a vast inventory of all our life long experiences and learning.
This is how the learning process occurs.
Though, it is not always perfect.
You must have gone through one of these situations:
- You’re giving your exams and the answer requires five points but no matter how much you pull your hair, you aren’t able to remember that last point.
- You perfectly remember the last Kasol trip that you had but you seem to have forgotten where you stayed there.
There are many instances like these that you face in your day to day life. Sometimes, we face holes in our memories. They seem incomplete or filled with false portions, at times. This happens because of volumes of information race across billions of neurons’. Throughout this process, it is easy for some parts to be left beside.
Aside from working on how the brain learns, scientists have recently come up with how the brain forgets too. As we stated before, the neurons transfer a huge volume of information. Even when they’re converted into memories, it gets difficult to deal with them.
After a memory is form, a slow and continual release of dopamine trigger some biological reactions in the neurons where the memories are store. This wears out the information unless a brain mechanism deems it important and thus, intervenes.
According to Ronald Davis, a neurobiologist at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla.” If the memory is really important to the organism, or to us as humans, then this attention or emotional interest will come in and act like a judge, telling the brain, ‘Keep this one, protect it,’”
Now that we have caught up on how the brain learns and forgets, we will now try to bridge the gap between these two by looking into ways we can prolong the stay of the memories and stop the mind from disremembering.
The most efficient way is to repeat the information, time, and again. Our brains have a “use-it-throw-it” way of dealing with things. But the information that is call up and use frequently is least likely to be forgiven. Reviewing and repeating the same process, again and again, adds another sensory cue to encode the memory. This repetition can be as small as keeping a designated spot for your plant to write the steps to a complicated process.
Another trick of retaining the memories is by providing a context to it. We, humans, are rather complicate being. If I tell you that the dress is red, it might not register but if I tell you that the dress is the same color of the light that signifies ‘stop’ at a signal, the chances of remembering it are higher as compared to the earlier example.
There are many other tips and tricks to enable efficient learning and storage of that information.
However, one important thing to keep in mind that we often fail to realize when we talk about this is that even learning has restrictions. Cognitive psychologists and scientists have found out that the brain has its own set of limitations in the amount of information it can process.