Holiday cards: Tiny Prints giveaway

Holiday cards: Tiny Prints giveaway Emily Dickey posted this in GiveawaysI loooove summer and every winter I’m begging for summer to come. But right now I’m so over it–what is with this super warm weather mid-October?! I’m ready for hoodies and fires and colored leaves and… Christmas! Soooo ready. And you know you’ve already seen those holiday decorations up in stores (eek!) so it’s definitely not too early to start planning.We’re having family photos taken in early November and I’m  hoping for a shot or two we can use for our holiday cards! I order cards from Tiny Prints all the time –to send friends and family on special occasions–so naturally it’s the first place I head to check out holiday cards. They have…

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How to learn successfully even under stress

July 30, 2013 — Whenever we have to acquire new knowledge under stress, the brain deploys unconscious rather than conscious learning processes. Neuroscientists at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have discovered that this switch from conscious to unconscious learning systems is triggered by the intact function of mineralocorticoid receptors. These receptors are activated by hormones released in response to stress by the adrenal cortex.The team of PD Dr Lars Schwabe from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, together with colleagues from the neurology department at the university clinic Bergmannsheil, reports in the journal Biological Psychiatry.Predicting the weather under stressThe team from Bochum has examined 80 subjects, 50 per cent of whom were given a drug blocking mineralocorticoid receptors in the brain. The remaining participants took a placebo drug. Twenty participants from each group were subjected to a stress-inducing experience. Subsequently, all participants underwent a learning test, the so-called weather prediction task. The subjects were shown playing cards with different symbols and had to learn which combinations of cards meant rain and which meant sunshine. The researchers used MRI to record the respective brain activity.Learning unconsciously or consciouslyThere are two different approaches to master the weather prediction test: some subjects tried consciously to formulate a rule that would enable them to predict sunshine and rain. Others learned unconsciously to give the right answer, following their gut feeling, as it were. The team of Lars Schwabe demonstrated in August 2012 that, under stress, the brain prefers unconscious to conscious learning. …

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Give them a hand: Gesturing children perform well on cognitive tasks

July 26, 2013 — In the first study of its kind, SF State researchers have shown that younger children who use gestures outperform their peers in a problem-solving task.The task itself is relatively simple — sorting cards printed with colored shapes first by color, and then by shape. But the switch from color to shape can be tricky for children younger than 5, says Professor of Psychology Patricia Miller.In a new study due to be published in the August, 2013 issue of Developmental Psychology, Miller and SF State graduate student Gina O’Neill found that young children who gesture are more likely to make the mental switch and group the shapes accurately.In fact, gesturing seemed to trump age when it came to the sorting performance of the children, who ranged from 2 and a half years old to 5 years old. In the color versus shape task, as well as one that asked children to sort pictures based on size and spatial orientation, younger children who gestured often were more accurate in their choices than older children who gestured less. The children’s gestures included rotating their hands to show the orientation of a card or using their hands to illustrate the image on the card, for example gesturing the shape of rabbits’ ears for a card depicting a rabbit.”Gina and I were surprised by the strength of the effect. Still, the findings are consistent with a growing body of research showing that mind and body work closely together in early cognitive development,” Miller said.”The findings are a reminder of how strong individual differences are among children of a particular age,” she added. “Certain 3-year-olds look like typical 4-year-olds. This likely reflects an interaction of natural talent and particular experiences — both nature and nurture, as usual.”There is a growing body of research that suggests gesturing may play a significant role in the processes that people use to solve a problem or achieve a goal. These processes include holding information in memory, keeping the brain from choosing a course too quickly and being flexible in adding new or different information to handle a task.Studies have shown that gesturing can help older children learn new math concepts, for example. “Really, though, there is evidence that gesturing helps with difficult cognitive tasks at any age,” Miller said. “Even we adults sometimes gesture when we’re trying to organize our tax receipts or our closets. …

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