Today's Thought Bubble

Today’s thought bubble is about learning. Recently while studying sets, I found that I had confused the concept of the element of a set (denoted using ?) and subsets (denoted using ? or ?). It made me think that many of my moments of dawning understanding have been marked by the discovery of error.

In psychology, a most useful tool for studying the function of the brain is error. Visual illusions are used to study the functioning of the visual cortex. By tricking it we can tease apart its intricate workings.

So today’s thought is:

Can common errors be used to tease apart the process of learning?

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One Response to Today's Thought Bubble

  1. Dave Bath says:

    (1) The best way of learning NOT to do something (technically extinguish an undesirable behaviour) is a subcutaneous injection of histamine (essence-of-sting, but pretty much harmless subcutaneously) IMMEDIATELY after the undesirable behaviour.

    (2) It’s not just common errors that provide insight into learning (and other psych issues), but accidents and disorders. Short-term memory-loss sufferers teach us about how memory works, and let’s not forget the famous Phineas Gage.

    (3) Creating and extinguishing fetishes is an interesting topic to investigate if you are into learning. One of my old psych lecturers was both experimenter and experimental subject in this area.

    (4) How about this common error: Choosing a product that costs big bucks that is not as reliable as a free service, and when both do everything you want.

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