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posted by mrpg on Monday November 22, @04:16PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the interesting dept.

As We Develop, the Brain Connects Lessons Learned Differently:

[...] The researchers found that whereas adults build integrated memories with inferences already baked in, children and adolescents create separate memories that they later compare to make inferences on the fly.

“How adults structure knowledge is not necessarily optimal for children, because adult strategies might require brain machinery that is not fully mature in children,” said Alison Preston, professor of neuroscience and psychology and senior author of the study published today in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. She co-led the study with first author Margaret Schlichting, formerly a doctoral student in Preston’s lab and currently assistant professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.

To understand the distinction between how adults and children make inferences, imagine visiting a day care center. In the morning, you see a child arriving with one adult, but in the afternoon that child leaves with a different adult. You might infer that the two grown-ups are the child’s parents and are a couple, and your second memory would include both the second person you saw and information from your earlier experience in order to make an inference about how the two adults — whom you didn’t actually see together — might relate to each other.

This new study finds that a child who has the same experiences isn’t likely to make the same kind of inference that an adult would during the second experience. The two memories are less connected. If you ask your child to infer who that child’s parents are, your child can still do it; he or she just has to retrieve the two distinct memories and then reason about how each adult might be related.

Journal Reference:
Margaret L. Schlichting, Katharine F. Guarino, Hannah E. Roome, et al. Developmental differences in memory reactivation relate to encoding and inference in the human brain, Nature Human Behaviour (DOI: 10.1038/s41562-021-01206-5)


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, @04:38PM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, @04:38PM (#1198597)

    Children do not waste brainpower on that, and coincidentally (or not?) learn much easier and faster than adults.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, @07:31PM (7 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, @07:31PM (#1198639)

      Except that's not true. Children don't learn more easily than adults do, children have more time and energy to learn than adults do. The main area where children have the advantage is in terms of not being locked into incorrect thinking. But, that comes at the cost of the whole process taking longer and being more work.

      Abstraction is something that doesn't even start to appear until children have been in school for years, but most adults can abstract away without too much effort. And it's usually round about 4th grade or so that children start to gain the ability to understand things like that the shape of a cup does not say anything about the amount of water that it can hold. Adults don't do that perfectly, but most adults realize that changing the shape of a glass doesn't automatically change the volume it can contain.

      Kids do some pretty amazing stuff, but it's dishonest to suggest that they are more efficient at learning when they don't just have to learn how to do something, they're often times also learning that it can be done and that it is a thing in the first place. Most adults don't need to do all of those things, unless it's a really unusual skill that they're just now being exposed to. And even then, there's often times some life experience that they can analogize to.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, @07:42PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, @07:42PM (#1198643)

        Citation required.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @05:10AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @05:10AM (#1198812)

          Google "Piaget"

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @05:47AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @05:47AM (#1198817)

          Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily been disabled. You can still login to post. However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege could be revoked as well.

          Oh, noes! I are ascared! Will they gonna revoke my privilege?

          I don't need no fucking citations! I am a kid! If I color the sky brown, the sky is fucking brown. Stop trying to stuff your "woke" conventions about political correctness down my tiny throat!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @04:18PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @04:18PM (#1198932)

          Not really, this is really well established by common sense. If kids were better than adults at learning, they should be capable of tackling calculus or physics in a meaningful way. That's not the case, they can grasp the superficial bits in singe cases, but not generally much of the conceptual underpinnings.

          Piaget is a good place to start. I'm personally partial to Vygotsky. It's extremely well supported that developmentally children don't have the same level of ability with abstract reasoning that adults typically have.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @04:18PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @04:18PM (#1198933)

        I think this is partly true. I think part of the issue also is that children are more prone to believe whatever you tell them and commit it to memory whereas the adult memory has learned to disregard much of what it's fed because much of it isn't true. Also the adult brain is probably more selective about what's relevant and what's not, due to experience, with respect to what to store and what not to store. For instance children are far more susceptible to advertising whereas adults naturally tune it out and regard many advertised claims as being exaggerated and not worth remembering.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @05:32PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @05:32PM (#1198951)

        Except that's not true. Children don't learn more easily than adults do, children have more time and energy to learn than adults do. The main area where children have the advantage is in terms of not being locked into incorrect thinking. But, that comes at the cost of the whole process taking longer and being more work.

        This is just wrong. Or at least misrepresentation.

        The obvious example is in languages. Children learn languages MUCH easier than adults do. A child will naturally pick up a language and become "native" in it, while an adult can certainly become "fluent/proficient" but they don't become native.

        Likewise there is a reason why the best athletes (I'm thinking Chess and Go, but this applies to sports like Golf as well) begin as children. There have been countless adults who get external support and dedicate full-time to trying to master things like Go or become the next great mathematician. They get good, but not as much as children do.

        That's not to say that children are just better. If you drop a 10-year old and a 20-year old into a Freshmen Physics class, I know which I'd expect to get more out of it.

        However, to just say "children have more time and energy so it all just an illusion of them learning easier" is just not true.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @11:50PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @11:50PM (#1199088)

          You can also argue that the child has had more time to practice as well.

          Someone that starts out at 10 will have already had ten years experience by the time they reach 20 and they still have more time to go and so they will be more appealing to recruiters.

          Someone that starts at 20 will have had only ten years by the time they reach 30 and by then they won't be as appealing to recruiters.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by DannyB on Monday November 22, @05:42PM (11 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 22, @05:42PM (#1198613) Journal

    Kids know the answer to many questions, just try asking them:

    • What animal is a turtle neck sweater made from?
    • What animal is duck tape made from?
    • What animal is gorilla tape made from?
    • What animal is frog tape made from?
    • What is masking tape made from?

    What will grow if we plant carrot seed? What will grow if we plant bird seed?

    --
    This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @01:46AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @01:46AM (#1198777)

      First, turtles don't wear neck sweaters. As for planting bird seeds, of course it grows birds. They grow quite quickly too. Plant them on top of the soil and the next day you'll find birds growing there. They don't even need to be watered! Sometimes you'll have squirrel seed mixed in with your bird seed.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @04:15PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @04:15PM (#1198928)

        If you plant candy you will grow a candy tree!!!! ;)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @05:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @05:24PM (#1198948)

      What animal is a turtle neck sweater made from?
      -Giraffes.

      What animal is duck tape made from?
      -Silverback gorillas

      What animal is gorilla tape made from?
      -Tapeworms.

      What animal is frog tape made from?
      -Navy Seals.

      What is masking tape made from?
      -Human suffering.

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday November 23, @07:35PM (7 children)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday November 23, @07:35PM (#1198991) Journal

      If it walks like a duct and quacks like a duct it must be......an HVAC system.

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday November 23, @08:54PM (2 children)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 23, @08:54PM (#1199010) Journal

        When I was in high school, I heard it called "Duct" tape. But then I encountered others who said "Duck" tape.

        Eventually, I saw "Duct" tape in a hardware store and figured that settled it.

        But years later, I sad "Duck" tape in a different hardware store. And it had a picture of a duck on the label.

        --
        This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by cmdrklarg on Tuesday November 23, @10:05PM (1 child)

          by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 23, @10:05PM (#1199050)

          "Duck" tape is a brand name. "Duct" tape is the generic name.

          --
          Dealing out the agony within
          • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday November 23, @10:10PM

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 23, @10:10PM (#1199054) Journal

            Very interesting! Thank you.

            --
            This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @08:56PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @08:56PM (#1199014)

        If it squeaks like a chipmunk asking for food it must be your garage door after you failed to grease the tracks for too long

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday November 23, @10:23PM (2 children)

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 23, @10:23PM (#1199059) Journal

          Bannon: Your honor! I object! I deny having ever molested any chipmunk, either (1) in the public park, (2) alley ways, (3) under bridges, (4) on balconies, (5) stopped at traffic lights, or (6) in a trailer park. Furthermore I vehemently deny having ever molested any other kind of animal at any other location or at any time. I find the accusation that I have taken indecent liberties with chipmunks to be a defamation of my well known and famous character and is notable enough that I will respond in the strongest way possible by giving you a one star review on Yelp. Finally, I impugn the reliability of the accuser; how can you trust a witness who is unable to distinguish the difference between a chipmunk and a squirrel?

          Judge: what is the difference between a chipmunk and a squirrel?

          Bannon: I'm glad you asked, your honor, as I am an expert on that very subject. While there are various differences, the primary and most important (to me) difference is that a squirrel has a larger, softer tail that feels really good against your skin. I submit these Google Images of chipmunks into evidence. I also submit these photos of squirrels but request that they be filed under seal as I am in the photos with some of these squirrels and the photos are not suitable for publication.

          --
          This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @04:09AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @04:09AM (#1199138)

            I meant to say squirrel and realized my mistake after I submitte

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @04:09AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @04:09AM (#1199139)

              submitted *

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @03:14AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @03:14AM (#1198796)

    Avoid females, and avoid females. Also, don't forget to avoid females.

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