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22 Sep 2005 - 19:59 Cognitive Neuroscience that is directly relevant to the question of whether ransom note typography in textbooks is good, bad, or neither. (Assuming I understand the abstract, that is.) Distracted and confused?: Selective attention under load
by Nilli Lavie
Volume 9, Issue 2 , February 2005, Pages 75-82:
The ability to remain focused on goal-relevant stimuli in the presence of potentially interfering distractors is crucial for any coherent cognitive function. However, simply instructing people to ignore goal-irrelevant stimuli is not sufficient for preventing their processing. Recent research reveals that distractor processing depends critically on the level and type of load involved in the processing of goal-relevant information. Whereas high perceptual load can eliminate distractor processing, high load on ‘frontal’ cognitive control processes increases distractor processing. These findings provide a resolution to the long-standing early and late selection debate within a load theory of attention that accommodates behavioural and neuroimaging data within a framework that integrates attention research with executive function.
Roughly, I believe that this paragraph says two things:
If I'm reading this correctly--Daniel Willingham may be willing to tell me if I've got it right--this is, to me, revolutionary. I don't need cognitive science to tell me that American textbooks are horrifically distracting. I can barely extract meaning from Prentice Hall Pre-Algebra, and I don't think the teacher can, either. When I mentioned the integer tiles PHPA uses ON THE FIRST PAGE she had no idea they were there, in the book. Although I read the PHPA section on adding & subtracting integers carefully (I thought), I did not manage to notice that the text formally defines subtraction of a number as addition of the number's opposite. This definition was there, on the page, in a green box no less, but I didn't take it in. I had to come up with the principal on my own, as I was trying to create simple, readable, attendable lesson review sheets for Christopher. This is one of those issues where I'm simply going to go with my own experience, no matter what the scientific consensus or non-consensus may be. Page splatter obstructs learning.
Russian Math. It's a lovely book, and I 'had to' read it. The design is pristine, sober, and respectful, and I felt compelled to open the book and begin.
OK, I better knock this off until I find out whether I've interpreted the abstract correctly..... Because if I didn't, I'm going to have to take this whole post back.
TRENDS, because it carries review articles summarizing trends & questions in the field. From the web site:
Trends in Cognitive Sciences provides concise reviews, summaries, opinions and discussion of the most exciting current research in all aspects of cognition, the mind and the brain. Internationally renowned scientists from cognitive neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, social cognition, artificial intelligence, neural computation, and philosophy regularly contribute to the journal. Trends in Cognitive Sciences features succinct, lively, and up-to-date Review and Opinion articles and discussion of the latest developments in the primary literature in Research Focus articles. Together with stimulating Book Reviews, Trends in Cognitive Sciences provides an essential overview of the latest thinking for both experts and newcomers to this rapidly expanding, multidisciplinary field. Most articles are commissioned by the Editor and all Review an Opinion articles are peer-reviewed.
He's right; this is exactly what I need. Haven't checked the price yet.
Glencoe page splatter
Doug Sundseth on ransom note typography
Tom Friedman piles on
distance tutors & mathematicallycorrect review Glencoe
page splatter and the frontal lobes
page splatter redux
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