Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday News Roundup

Since signing up for Twitter I've become deluged with information. Some of it is rather banal ("I'm heading out for  a cup of coffee") while other is much more interesting (breaking news from the environmental summit). In an effort to slow down the flow of information enough for me to understand it I'm going to experiment with aggregating tweets that I find most interesting and post it here on a Friday News Roundup.   Think of it as a companion to the Wednesday Smile that I post on Maggie's blog.

  • Doodling Improves Memory and Concentration. Jackie Andrade had 40 participants listen to a monotone two and a half minute phone message. Each were told the message would be dull , they should not memorize it, but they should write down the names of the people who would be attending the party that the message discussed. Half the participants were instructed to doodle as they listened . The study indicated that those who doodled could remember more names (7.8 for doodlers vs 7.1 for nondoodlers, which represented a significant difference). When presented with a surprise memory test later, those who doodled remembered 29 percent more details. It has long been taught that multitasking reduces productivity: this research suggests otherwise. 
  • Evidence Does Not Support Theory of Different Learning Styles. It has become common belief that people exhibit different learning styles (visual, auditory, etc.). An industry full of tests to measure these styles and educational tools to teach to these styles has grown. However a report that reviews the existing literature finds that while there are many studies that show the existence of different kinds of learns, those studies have not used research methods that would make their findings credible. The article concludes that research has not shown that people learn differently, at least in the ways the learning-styles proponents claim, and thus the widespread use of learning-style tests and associated teaching tools is a wasteful use of educational resources.
  • Antidepressants Help Suicidal Youth. Many parents have expressed concerns about their adolescents taking antidepressants. The FDA required a black box warning on antidepressants about suicide risks with youth and there was significant reports in the media. This is however much  more complicated than a black box warning. A study from Ohio State found that the use of antidepressants in adolescents was related to a dramatic reduction in hospital readmissions.

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