BS 167 Stanislas Dehaene explores "How We Learn"


I think it's also important for teachers and educators because they tend to underestimate the capacities of the baby brain. It's not just plasticity not just learning. It's a combination of innate abilities and learning there is no such thing as a nature nurture as always both brain science the podcast that explores how recent discoveries in neuroscience are unraveling the mystery of how our brain makes us human. I'm your host Dr Ginger Campbell and this episode one hundred and sixty seven. I've been hosting brain science since two thousand and six because I passionately believe that understanding the basics of how our brains really work not only enriches our lives but prepares us to deal with the challenges of the twenty-first century. Today's Guest Stanislas Hong shares my passion before we jump into today's interview. I WanNa remind you that you can find additional episodes of brain science along with episode shown notes and transcripts on my website at brain science. Podcasts DOT COM. You can send me feet back at brain science by Kesse. submit voice feedback at speak pipe dot com forward slash doc arduous and impose to the brain science podcast fan page on facebook. We also have a group on good reads which you can get to with the Shortcut Brain Science Forum Dot Com. Today's guest neuroscientists Stanislas. The Hawn is the author of several bestselling books including the number sense reading in the brain and consciousness in the brain which I discussed in detail in episode one hundred sixty today. We're going to be talking about his new book. How we learn why brains learn better than any machine for now. I'll be back after the interview to review the key ideas and to share a few brief announcements and really excited dime finally having you as a guest on brain science. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. It's a pleasure so before we talk about your new book how we learn. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Sure Yeah I. I am a brain scientist. At the moment. I started in mathematics. Initially my job as a little bit bizarre when I started to be essentially very fascinated but at the beginning of the personal computer and I was very interested in whether you could make tutors. That'll be intelligent as we are. I realized that in fact there was a science of that. That was a way to study cognition. And it's called cognitive science and when I entered the field I was very lucky that my start going sided with the onset of brain imaging. It started to be possible to look inside the brain of human beings and to try to use this images of the brain to understand how we compute and how we differ in fact from a computer so I became a cognitive scientist a little. My training was in mathematics and I made use of every possible technique. I started in fact Interacting with by lesion patients because at the time that was about the information we have the brain. But then we you. We did a lot more of brain imaging and now. I'm the director of the center just south of Paris. It's called Nuro spin. The she's friends his most advanced brain imaging center. We have six seven and many other tools to look at the brain so as I mentioned before we started I featured your last book during my series about consciousness and one of the things you mentioned in that book was that for a long time. Consciousness was considered to be outside the realm of neuroscience. Were you always sort of interested in consciousness but felt like you couldn't study at. I mean could you talk about that piece of the journey a little bit? Indeed I was trade with the idea. The country was beyond the hail of what you could study scientifically. They took me quite a wide to think about it more until the United States was forced but there was a time in our science where consciousness. Tabu. This was a word that you wouldn't use and this is a field that you wouldn't study unless you were retired so you could get away with him. Well actually helped a lot. He and crystal core were some of the people like Gutty Rice. Confidence who by studying patients showed us that there was a way. I'm a student of Mike. Posner in the US in Oregon was also one of the people who said you know countries. He's tightly related to attention. And we can study books so eventually realize that in fact that many many times to study consciousness we can manipulate countries in the lab. That many ways we can study visually delusions where they said this association between objective stimulus and the subjective content reporting. We studied patients. We can study sleep. We can steady vigilance and the loss in coma and bridget that you states at the moment we do a lot of applied research of this as well so we found some signatures of consciousness that can be helpful to decide whether a patient in hospital easily is not countries so this is become a huge fields in about twenty years. It's I published my I C- I use paper on consciousness in one thousand nine hundred eight. In fact there were two different papers. One showing that experiment. You could have somebody me note and Sue Party on Stimuli below the hash out of consciousness above this hush load of consciousness so we found that. This was a lovely way to contest the brain level the brain activation evoked by a non conscious in my conscious stimulus and to study the difference and I also proposed the theory of consciousness. Global NEURONAL WORKSPACE SERIES JUMPS. Show which still is twenty years later when of the dominant series of countries processing and that was based on Bernard. Baars original global workspace theory. Or It's a very important book. I think Ben at boss but it was solely a psychological theory of consciousness. The literal neuro science that there was. I think was not what we saw today. So my main concern was to show that Siri could be extended into the neuroscience SPA and too much greater picture of what was happening the Cortex when we become conscious. The concept of ignition is one of the things that we brought to the field. Another thing that my impression. I don't read all the literature in your field. Obviously so that's why I'm asking you this. I get the feeling that a lot of the work you did was a big part in our current understanding that so much of what our brain does is not conscious yes. I think this is a key. Finding from a lot of experiments in fact most of the computation in the brain is unconscious whether it is face league nation word recognition understanding the meaning of a sentence. This is something was end. Result is conscious but the process itself is not and by making experiments using these subliminal stimuli were to show how far non conscious stimulus can go in the brain without being detected by the subject so we could flash pictures. Mike was mostly pictures of words written words and show that it could go all the way for instance to the middle where the meaning is accessed and subjects have a notion over the awards. Emotional on us for instance you flush. There were draped was totally activate. The mega much more than for new code word and they would do so even when the word is totally impossible to detect. So is just one example. We have many many others showing that country's necessarily the tip of the iceberg saw Nia small boss on elementary. We could go on and on and on and never get around to your new book. So let's focus on your new book today and maybe you can come back in the future and we go back to consciousness because it I think is for my listeners. A continues to be one of the most popular topics. Because for the average person who's not a neuroscientist but we're conscious and we want to know. Well how did that happen? Would you give us just a brief overview of your new book? How we learn. Yes absolutely What happened was that I became more and more interested in how we change our brain school education and I did a lot of work on reading. I have another book on. Reading in the brain and mathematics to great examples where humans compare to other pilates too much much father in understanding the extent of the world and acquiring information in a short period so I became more and more interested in learning or Gorey's abs of human beings and that's what the new book is about to a view of how it and why the human brain is still a much better than any machine that we know of learning. I try to start with a view of what he's learning what it means for brain to learn and then how the human brain is especially gifted learning. Why is she superior to many other animals into all of the machines that we know of and then I end with a mechanical part? Where I speak about. You know that the devices that we get used go using facts to improve our learning and that should be used in schools so what echo the full peters of learning right and that's really important because when impression I have is a problem in education is the failure to use the real science yes spoke. It's a failure of all of us. You know we all learn but we have never learned to learn and the point of the book is really that we can learn to learn better. They are tricks. It's useful to know more about how brain does learning and then we can use this knowledge in very practical terms. You know the to acquire formation better whether it's a school in the office and that's the reason why I do this show about neuroscience because I really believe that knowing things about our brain works is something that we can use in practical everyday life. So let's start out by defining what you mean by the word learning well so learning in my opinion should be defined as the construction of mental model. So it's not the trivial thing to hang that in our brain. We host an enormous variety of models of the external world. We can close our eyes for instance and think about the spelling of words. Thank about the visit of our apartment and things on later over there in our apartment we have in our brain the internal model that we have captured to experience and they are so rich that they are lois to generate almost an entire virtual hannity. This is what happens in our dreams. We Ima by there's no inputs and yet the brain generates an entire rarity so this is what learning is about about that. Just saying the parameters of an internal mothers so he fits better. We suspect of the extended worked. That's of course they all finish in and we have to think that they'll probably thousands of mental mothers including some that are extremely. Apps talked like in mathematics. We are learning about you. Know they all go nuys D- but also some very concrete wants like I learned homages of my buddy and how much force and aim high splitting the to reach about secret object. What's so that definition that you just gave me. Sounds like it would be the definition of well for sure. The definition of human learning yet you point out in the book that learning is universal on the basic types. Pichu Asian happen even in very primitive animals now. They don't actually have models as far as we can tell. The most primitive learning that some animals do wouldn't quite reach up to the level that you just described on. Oh I disagree. I think even in the case of education I mean. It's very simple but there is a valuable inside the animal that corresponds to the amount of consultation of some substance and save the substances being high concentration for a long time and as an internal valuable that has tweeted inside the animal. Then that reflects the presence of the substance in the extended world. So I think even in this case even though you know it's a minimal. Mother was very Meters but somehow anybody's carrying with him and it can be even a very simple animals like nematodes warm. They anybody's carrying some knowledge of you might think that he would be better for Russian to just lie about the brain but a festival. It's not the responsibility. Because our brain there eighty six billion neurons. So it'd be impossible to could in the genome every single connection of all of these yards but also is not desirable because we are born in different environments and we simply cannot anticipate on the specifics of the environment that we saw in the human brain. This process has been Richard an incredible level. We are able to acquire information about extol in a variety environment. I claim that we should be called Homo sapiens. The species that teaches in that learns cheese itself because I think the the definition of our niche although animals have a boutique UTO ecological niche our leashes deputy tour so in your book how we learn. Focus a lot about on how babies learn. Why why is that so important? Because it's a characteristic of our species that we are young for a long time that we have a very extended of justice city a class for at least twenty years and in fact we remained plastic in some areas for much much longer essentially all areas. Yes we differing degrees of plasticity. So you don't start in childhood and I think it's also important for teachers and educators because they tend to underestimate the capacities of the baby is not just plasticity. Not just learning. It's a combination of innate abilities and learning there is no such thing as a nature nurture. They always both. It's hundred percent of books. I'M GONNA break in here to remind you that. 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Or then mo where. My username is doc. Artemis to learn more and pick the option. That's best for you go to brain science podcast. Dot Com forward slash donations? What science has discovered is that learning is made possible because the inmates domains of knowledge corner edge that we capitalize on in other the to go beyond so in the book for instance. I described these laibach experiments. Not just about number. This was also a topic of a previous book of mine. The number sense but also about possibilities in babies and babies have a sense of obesity. If you can believe it they know how to anticipate events that have been in poverty of occurring. If they C- C- bowls that are blue and another one which is yellow and the Shaker in an urn and then one of them comes out. They think it's much more likely to be the bluer and they are surprised if they see their yellow one. Come out because this was less likely. Experiments showed that the amount of looking looking time is the highclere related to the possibility of the event or the impossibility. The less likely it is the longer they look and what experiments have shown these that. Don't really look the more they learn. It's Heidi both of their learning or go is if it's a device for orienting to odds else to thinks that you don't yet know and that you have to learn so he's starting in the baby and even the few days of age and this relates to the idea of the brain is as basins statistician. Right it may be going on in the baby. Talk a little bit about that idea what it means to think of. The brain is basin. Yes I think it's a very important races idea and one that has not yet made it into actual devices like your networks and so on but it's super important. Essentially Beijing or go is provider South of Oak T- motorway to learn. If you know you know about the domain you do better than by using these patients that he's teakwood ago reserves. They essentially. Say exactly how you should combine your knowledge of field and new evidence that you're getting from young vibrant and these quite evidence with babies do and essense they act as scientists statisticians. They pulled the extended words experiments. They look at the result and enter pet. What they've seen in external world in a statistical as Paul ballistic evidence in this that mother. So I do. I governor and sinking the debate. He is a scientist. In the crab lethal scientists will reasons vary optionally about the accelerated essentially. Bayesian statistics big. Were to say that. The baby's acting as a national being tied to the optimal inferences from the extended world. So then what goes wrong? I mean this is a surprising result because the average adult was a terrible statistician. I mean at least like you know. They think they're going to be in a plane wreck when the eyes of that are really low. Well it's not always true. This is. This is a matter of debate and Many many experiments of course on this topic we are not very good when poverty is conveyed by the similar numbers. So if I you. There's a point zero zero one po ability. You don't understand that very well but if I tell you about Integer I'll tell you out of ten thousand cases. There was on the one where he came out. This way. You're much better and in fact there is a going field of Beijing. Statistics apply to the other brain showing that study. That's with our brains do. Of course it's an approximation not perfect calculation but Our brains occupied good other stimulating. The possibilities of events and our brain is a dictator. The brain constantly tries to anticipate on what's going to happen generates a publisher which is stick and compares. Then what it gets that. That's a very important set of series called predictive coding that. I think capture of a lot about what the baby's doing already from the start. Inate categories provide some actions. They've costed a lot to learn on top of this innate knowledge and so we learned by detecting the L. between what we predicted an which we got. Okay so that seems like a really natural way to move on to the question of how machines or computers learn is obviously constantly changing. But what are the key differences for? How COMPUTERS LEARN. How people aren't at the current time right. It's a wonderful topic. Of course I don't want to diminish the wonderful performance that has been achieved and is still being cheap daily their two new papers in nature yesterday From the deep mind lab showing wonderful Paul Guy so I am impressed by these pogo is but I think there's still ways in which the human brain is much better first of all. We require much fewer data if you think of a baby quieting language. The baby is actually getting vader data but the target language and yet its sabre to converge in fact better than any machinery no so far on like to convert the whole lexicon of the language we can pull that it is using a few words sometimes just a single instance of a single word. It's using all of the appropriate information about the context that particular the social context in a way that machines can do so far so it's intercepted since reading the minds of the speaker. The social component is another aspect which is completely missing from me sheets. We don't just learn. We educate ourselves so we have a theory of mind that tells us that's The teacher in front of us. He's actually trying to help us by giving US examples that are hopefully it for us to learn by using these sorta inflammation. We can go much further much faster again. Experiments show that they'd do that. They have tons precisely to the attention of the others in front of them and they use that and I went to mention the third thing which the brain is superior to other machines. This is the ability to obstucted information. You know symbolic for if you look at your networks official your networks these days. They learned a lot but they have no idea whatever they totally unable to formulate does a symbolic formula on scientific expression and that means that there were so totally unable to commit to another machine but we do hauntingly. We synthesize the inflammation in conscious form in a way that we can speak about. And he's remarkable. You know we are not as good as learning. Go the machines better than us these days but when we go we can speak about it and we can say you know. You shouldn't play beyond the force role until at some moment in the game and this helps us to learn we. We are species that was able to bootstrap itself because we share the information this ability to share information language to formulated explicitly. Sometimes the former equations is absolutely son. Torrance not imitated by machines at the moment so I got the impression from the book that one of the key. Things that's going on is at this current point in time. Artificial intelligence is really only to a certain extent mimicking. What the unconscious. Parts of our brain does but doesn't really have any ability to do what our consciousness does yet. Quality think for the most part. That's exactly what I try to say. I think this is certainly true of the so-called collusion on your network. Cnn's which is a subset of social networks that may make the way of visual system yards and organizes a face hoods judge these networks mimic quite. Well what happens our brains heat about two hundred eight to one hundred fifty a quarter of a second. That's the unconscious pathway. But then beyond that they are not very good. He for instance objectives included behind another. And you have to construct. What's behind that? They good? This requires a south of top down conscious. Attention that are not so good at mimicking. That he's always gone son. Pogo is so I don't want to gain too pooh-pooh what has been done day. I it's fantastic and I think so. All the examples that my book they are known by researchers in the eye and they the focus of a lot of work so find since attention is increasingly being put in artificial neural networks on tastic success but this is only a recent events on the Six or seven years. What about the role of Self Organization in the brain is that something else it would set our brains apart from artificial networks to some extent I mean can be simulated but it's true that many of the recording maps somehow self organizing the way that Alan Turing described that is to say they will organize themselves just continuously on the basis of some input two separate categories for instance and we think that this is a form of learning so called unsupervised learning which is again very very efficient in the brain? We are getting now into the issue. Adjust of how. We learned that the psychological ever but also how we learned that the new level and is of course an important chapter in the book. I tried to describe what we know but less ity about how sinuses. But if I'd himselves an obesity becomes the substrate learning it's an area that is still moving but we Ready Begin to no other and I think it's useful to Nossa find. Since did you know that when you look at little baby for just one second poverty? Something like two or three million has been changing either connecting. All they could act. Say the baby's until the age of about one or two. They have many more sign up cities than we do these an overproduction of sinuses. And that probably explains why they also extraordinary plastic then. The number of sign up sees will decrease select. We pulled the sign up. Tick trees of the Nolan's until we have each other to where we have a salt pond down system that he's much more efficient but less able to learn and Another thing which I on as I was reading about this very intriguing is that we begin to understand why we lose plasticity Leicester City. First of all we've lost sign up says but seconds the new own seller so Holland being themselves behind me. During your south of Matrix of rigid molecules that prevents lineups is from being made. It's like the saw in a cage. They cannot move anymore. Chives brain is a much more liquid stated as it has about of water. There's not movable parts of US still going at the other state it's a much more hedge it system. That physically cannot move. The when you think of brain plasticity you have to think completely literacy. They are moving image. In your brain. In particular on the drive of the neurons Alito Spines Miniscule one thousand on yawns that move around that he talks they contract cheap ly and that's the substrate of learning but we can still learn. Unless we have Alzheimer's disease we can still learn throughout our lives. It depends well. What about is there something we can do to maximize our plasticity as we get older? That's a great question. The first thing is to recognize that they are sensitive periods and that these depend very much on the domain. There are some domains. We're really plastic extremely early and then closes down. A one case in point is for neurological learning. When we acquired the sounds of language. This goes on the officio of life. The baby is not even starting to speak but he is already converged onto the categories of ours and consonants. Vowels about six months consonance after about twelve months. At this point you are no longer hearing the differences between phonemes had on the juice for your which so Japanese speakers norger Shia the difference between our and L. against reverse for a few years and that's also a subject of research not fully known but let's say after the age of nine or ten. It begins to freeze completely and cannot reverse anymore. The same is true for Gummer. That beautiful experiment with was millions of subjects was off the Internet by Steve. Pinker and these goodies in haver and what they found was that there is slowly decreasing curve for the ability to and he'd collapses domestically so if you're trying to learn a second language shoot that he learned that before puberty because after that much much more difficult but as you say there are other domains like we can anew words so the next secret is not a big cognitive where they main classic. We don't quite understand why some brain areas remain plastics and other loser. So I wanted to touch on something that you didn't spend a lot of time in your book but I think is really interesting. Which is you're a neural recycling hypothesis. It's a very simple idea. We are the only primates fishes that he's able to learn completely new tricks. One of them is reading the use of our eyes to convey information that nobody should come so spoken. Language other is mathematics manipulation of symbols in order to do calculations in various. Talk though mates so Mike. Lame is that when we acquire these domains. We have to recycle to re audience to purpose circuits. That had they vote for another purpose. Maybe slightly related one so in the case of reading we understand a lot about this. We know that some visual circuits of the brain that used to be able to recognize objects and faces via to cook nuys the shapes of words and things of letters and they become chew into the body could all letters that we have learned to read so we have seen this occurring We did some way since experiments. For instance where. We scanned some children. Several Times says they were acquiring leading and so we could see their brains change and the spot of the objective ignition circuits being reoriented towards the acquisition of letter shapes so I think this is agenda order phenomena we have our brain a number of circuits that the Pasha DP wired but because of plastic and Deville entered to another activity and full the teacher. I think this is important. It means that we never start with a tabular hustle. The brain is never covered a hustle or a blank slate. We have some initial abilities and we have to grow something new of it sometimes. Details like in the case of reading we have in the valiant so We get is a word regardless of its size because that's what the objects ignition is wired up to do like objects wherever they are how big they are but sometimes he told so a problem and we also need to know about that as a teacher. For instance of reading the visual system is wired. Such statue recognize face with the right provider in the left profile. great fuss tickly useful. There's a tiger coming from the left. You see it's the same data if it's coming from the right great but now you get to be and you think it's exactly the same as that. It's a D. and your visual system tells you it's the same I've worked with young children also recruited to people who've never been to school and they just cannot see that it's different they just don't use the same so this is something that we have to overcome. It's something that's given to us by our visual circuitry but when we recycle circuitry for reading we have to overcome it and it takes time and if it's not dyslexia. Many people thinks that Muriel dyslexia. It's a completely natural feature of brain everybody's brain but it's something that we have to a side good and overturned Redick so I think though he cycling theory helps to understand the relation between our INET circuitry. And how we can go beyond. This has implications. I guess if somebody is trying to learn how to read as an adult while unfortunately with we are finding is that it's much much more difficult. So what you have to imagine these. The van told part of the brain. There is a sheet of cortex it's covered with a specialized digits though. He's one of agent in particular. That's where studied which is specializing faces. But they all those agents that specialize for words some of the specialized for numbers. The specialization can be amazing. So it's not the same area for letters and phone numbers because they play defraud focuses and these areas have to be laid down early ought poverty before puberty again trying to learn as an adult while you use whatever you've learned when you were young but you are not going to be able to completely reorient dispatches of Cortex you going to have to deal with whatever stayed there in at the moment so I think that explains the difficulty these others that are editor rights. They have the hardest time in the were just figuring out than the Dr Different so we sometimes for those of us who have read since we are small children. We may not appreciate the challenge that they're really facing That's very true. I think it's part of the difficulty for teachers. I speak to teachers these day because I became the head of the Scientific Council for Education in France and I think part of the difficulty. Is that when you are an adult when you not on cover your eyes? How difficult learning courses you. Don't go visualize the tricks that Played by your brain and that's You've overcome so you don't see that if not anymore this in particular has given rise to the idea of horrid word reading a whole language reading which we know is wrong from the scientific point of view but it's true that has another you look at their word and unconsciously or of the letters processed at once and you have a feeling of It's not true at the brain ever. We can show that every single letter is being processed. But it's even less true of the chart. The child has absolutely no access to the whole world. It has to decode the letters. Almost one by one left rise and so we know that this is the wrong in tuition on the part of the teacher and we must fight that you know I think consequences of what we know about learning of the brain for education. And that's what I try to propagate any scientific council since this long interview. I'm going to break in here to remind you to listen. Pass the end of the interview for my review of the key ideas and a few brief announcements. I don't want you to miss the details about how you can help. Take brain science to the next level in twenty twenty. I'm planning to release a second expanded edition of my book. Are you sure the unconscious origins of certainty in May twenty twenty? And I WANNA make sure you get a copy of it. As soon as it's released please listen to the end to find out more and I do have quite a few teachers that listen to this show so I wanNA Devote pretty good chunk of time now to the four pillars of learning that you mentioned at the beginning she wanted to sort of take us through those maybe highlight how they're important in this idea of for teachers. Yes although of course. It's a of information so you just hit the high points. Of course. Well I the four pillars. I call them attention. Active engagement feedback and consolidation including sleep. And I call them fillers because each of them is really important in multiplying effect of learning and enhancing the effect of learning so if we learned to manipulate them well we can really enhance learning in pupils but also in our cells so attention the first one. The brain is a fitter at the highest level of processing in the brain. You are Nikon process a small amount of information the obscene formation at the time at the highest level of the country slow so it means that there is a gigantic filter that takes the median of bits of information that riches are ready and decides that on these smaller bodies in boardrooms if attention is misdirected. You're not learning. They surveyed learning in the absence of attention so we need to learn to attempt. We need to focus. We need to avoid destuction on the other hand. It's very helpful thing you know a few items. You'd Hachi clump information information which is already on the corner of your eye on somewhere. On the neck and become the medically amplified and access these global workspace where becomes the focus of countries attention? So might claim. Is that the teachers. Most important talent is today. Heck she dons attention to the appropriate level. They must decide what is important. What is not and this concentrated into extremely ticket. Information for instance there is experimental research which I describe in the book that says that you should not exceedingly decoyed your class whole that the classroom which is to decorator. This tax jiggle thinks that you could attend you. Know and you get these toxic. The same of course applies to the phone or to tablet computer you want to focus not destruction so that's the first pillar. It's a big one. You know they really is very learning in the absence of attention so when a child tells you for instance I don't see this is something that happens in mathematics. Do you see now. I don't see it could be very obstacles. What does it mean? It's very little the children to attend to the appropriate concepts and therefore the simply blind? We can be completely blind in absence of attention. I think your know about the invisible Goldberg Roads. You can go in front of you and not see it because you're not attending so I think it's exactly the same in schools. Some completely harnessed when they say I don't see even though it is you know. Because they haven't learned how to focus their attention the PAPA and we need to guide them so active engagement so active engagement. That's below number two. What do I mean by that? I don't mean that the child was pedaling doing physical exercise. It's been one of the misinterpretations you know what I mean is that the child's brain must be actively engaged acting as a scientist we started with those formulating potus is performing experiments mentor. Expand projecting activity on the extended word hypotheses and selecting among them as opposed to being passive. So we know that is very to learning in a passive organism if you just bombarded Charles Infomation passively not much fun since Dale beauty for experiments. Actually you put an object in front of the Chinese and at the same time there's a loudspeaker in the home that gives the name of the Object Ziada onic even though there is a perfect correlation between the name and the object is essentially running whatsoever though. He's learning when the charges on gauge typically by another person with whom he shares attention and when there is curiosity so I speak a lot about curiosity in the book. I think it's one of the major systems that we need to study at the brain. Never we begin to related to bone it. The human brain in particular has Much evasion system. Which is not just leave and buy food or by sex. It's the Dopamine System. Of course which is a university in the members at least but in our case it's driven by the urge Tudor. We have a system that will give us a discharge of dopamine reward when we can explore new domain when we can ask a new question and get the answer. So curiosity is a fundamental. Property of learning ago is when we to go into foster it. We need to try to avoid to kill it and of course unfortunately scored can kill us. It's if the impression that the teachers knows everything in life to do we sit there so this is the idea of. The child has a curious playful individual who activity on gauges in the Roenick. So again it translate into very direct applications as beautiful research in the class home. Also search rectory showing. That's you shouldn't do magister lecture but it's much better to have the child actively interacting with the teacher for instance being able to ask questions that some teachers that say we should spend half of their lesson weezer question from the learner. There are many ways of course to actively engage the child. Estrogen your idea. I've read a lot about this particular aspect because I become concerned when I'm creating podcast and somebody's just going to be listening to it. Which could theoretically be passive thing but it sounds like the difference or key. Question is is the listener curious. Because if I'm listening to something I'm not interested in. I'm not even going to hear it but if I'm really interested my curiosity is what's going to drive my listening so I think you ought to curious listener to your guest. I think you also onto speaker in your school. Some manages to feed that curiosity by creating mental images by giving examples for instance. One thing that we do you try to Spurlock something in the recent mines and I think there are big differences between teachers in disability to create a an interesting mental image in charge to foster curiosity. Nothing you want. An active charred with engage in uniting hypothesis. But you want the pillow L. feedback in order to select the apotheosis. The another learn popularly. We want to generate hypotheses immediately. Know whether it's true or false works on that where they'd fits the world on so the brain makes a prediction and then must receive an L. signal that tells it whether these predictions correct which we found that the brain level is that a lot of the messages that exchange between binary signals I on. Tcp Did something about music. And then suddenly I hear sour note is nothing to a place and I have to correct mental mother of the middle of the I was. I didn't have the mother of the day. So this is something also that the teachers must know. Send piece is informative feedback. Signals does nothing to his punishment. It has nothing to his grades. Which are you know? Summary statements that are not informative precise feedback about what went right and what went wrong and how you can go. I see this in medicine where we started to the things we use for our continuing medical education now are designed to give us immediate feedback of whether our answer was right or wrong so we actually learn instead of just doing some activity. That's intended to fill some box. Yes yes so. There is in fact beautiful experimental research again on this. So suppose you of two hours to learn something. Should you just spend two hours revising in the text book studying the text book? Maybe you put some color on it. You know all right. Should you have some serious study and some periods? Where you test yourself. And he's not completely trivial because when you test yourself of course you don't study so you lose time in a certain sense so when the experiment was done the experiment is asked teachers with other addictions. And say well you should study. You know the more you study the better. You are where he's not true. What is true. Is that if you test yourself you better? Why because when you test your sense you get these off feedback. You'd know that there are some items that were right then. You don't need to advise them again but there you also that there are some that where you were wrong. It's important to test yourself not immediately but after a little periods because we just started the information is still in your working memory memory so you have the impression of knowing but this is not the right memory system. It's not the one that you're going to need in the long run the next day. So if you had just five minutes or ten minutes and you test yourself you realize that in fact you don't know and then you can correct yourself. You get the feedback that goes to your mental level. I tried to explain to teach us that. This has nothing to do with bad grades that they something to avoid which is punishment to survey negative effect on learning we old freeze and learning algorithm stops if we are under stress on negative feedback. So you want to have just a non penetrative assessment of what was right and which was wrong. What if he punished a baby? That was learn how to walk every time at fell. That would not end. Well Yes yes and then so. Many teachers know that of course then. I think my favorite example is music. Learning MUSIC. Teachers usually no. It's completely normal. The first time you tried to play an instrument not trying but they also know that is appropriate at fault and day after the training you will get there and I think this is the notion of patience. Resilience and effort thinks that we need to bring to all of the different forms of learning experiences reading in the classroom. So this is leading tree to a false pillar which is consolidation. It's not enough to just learn. You need to consolidate you need to monetize. Learning must be tansferred. Calm the country's compartments the country's global workspace to a non conscious compartment. This is absolutely essential. Because you need to free the resources of the CORTEX in particular the prefrontal cortex for other learning so When you begin to learn something you'll mental resources are absolutely touched Maybe you can give an example Lima Beauvais where when I started to drive a car. And maybe you. You'll remember this catastrophe Kasey in Europe. We have to learn to drive a stick shift. So he's also the hands out doing lots of things as well as the feed and you have to watch in the middle and the guy next to you speaking to you and it's horrible. Your Punter Cortex is completely overloaded. Just wait a few hours. Fueled I sir twenty cents. Per Hobson you come back at. It's completely different. The learning of how to move the feet and the hands become a Thomas is and You feel much more at ease. You've learned essentially to tomatoes a lot of activities and then you can think about something like listening listening to the radio corrupts so it's just an example to show your important to. Mott is what is fantastic is that we begin to know how it works. And when important aspects of how it works he's sleep. Sleep is a key moment of learning. This is absolutely non trivial. I think we all think that when we sleep we just test but that's not true. Our brain doesn't dressed our brain learns very actively and we begin to see it in brain imaging so at the new hole or level so when we sleep what has been discovered. What first of all the psychologist made a discovery the psychologist discovers that you could learn something ad nauseam during the day maybe for CEO for hours maybe video game winstons. And there's a point where you don't get better. You'll reach an import and you just stay there. You go to sleep and the next morning. You haven't practiced anything but next morning. You are better this just an experimental findings so it looks like the period of sleep some all made you better and then in your scientists made the discovery then your scientists found that in fact. The brain is been rehearsing during the night. This was fun in the Rut Festival. They found that the neurons that were firing during the day actually fired again during the night in precisely the same sequence and the same neurons that had been excavating join today in a particular period of learning. So for instance. Hot maybe was exploring. Amaze there was a very precise pattern of activity of the place cells that each new has a certain place. And so when you moving amaze displaces get activated in the secrets. Where during the night vase? Same Yawns activated in the very same sequence with one difference was that they were activated MMA trustor and therefore many more times. The brain was replaying the activation billups fifteen times twenty times faster and this is a way to rehearse during the night without even being conscious of there have been many many studies of this including in humans weekend for instance enhance district late and then the brain learns better if you have deeper sleep and more carriers of these sleeps when these movie blade and you'll have better learning. They are companies that try to enhance the sleep in various ways. And then you get better learning so I think this is an absolutely essential element for parents and teachers and for all of us in fact by sleeping well we can enhance their learning. Doesn't matter what time of day we do. The original learning. It doesn't seem to also does not matter when we sleep. So for instance experiments but naps and not sold so important and they have a consolidation effect. It does matter at what age you to it. So once again she lorna advantaged. There is one study where the effects of the same amount of sleep. One Night of sleep is scary times larger in young Chila so you see how important it is and we know of course that babies and young children must sleep longer. It's much more important for them. Because they'll learning more. In fact there is evidence. Voice south of homeostasis. So when you of learning during the day you have to sleep more during the night. It's a wonderfully all good I system but we just need to be more aware of it because many of us you know loose sleep we get distracted by TV or by series or by the computer and when we do sleep we also lose some ability to three date yeah. I think that that's one piece a practical information we can all use. Oh yes and also I want to say we make discoveries during sleep. It's not just his for scientists. You know so first of all. This has been proven by experiments. It's true that the brain will make discoveries during sleep but we all do in fact. Children make discoveries find since about the meaning of words during sleep. They have experienced a few words during the day. But the generalize. They placed a word in the context. They understand multiple meanings of some words. Join the night and when they wake up the next day they have consolidated their learning of the word. So Stan how do you think you learn all this stuff about how babies learn and how it changes our brain? What kind of impact are these discoveries having on on our general understanding of the human brain wow I think it's one of the essential part of humans first of all? This is one of the most exciting areas of study. You know in your science how learn I also think that it has an impact on how we you ever cells? As period of childhood is one of the most important kids for shaping of human mind is a period where you need to end the rich the environment because the amount of enrichment of the environment shapes will we are basically and the human brain Especially in this respect. It's absorbing much more from others in body Kudos from the social environment. I think this means that we have a special responsibility for children. We need to provide them with the best possible environment. Join these blessed period where they earning. I say that because I think weekends did improve alert. You know first of all. We must provide Chilean ways. The appropriate language. There is Jodi for experiment that they explained in the book that showed that the amount of chided acted language that is received by chart as a direct impact on the Organization of the brain networks for language and we know that there are huge differences function of social economic status when she learned You know are preparing to learn to read and this whatever determinant effect on their ability to tweet fast and all the rest of the school so a we have a big responsibility here and it's just the environment as providing stimuli for learning but also providing the appropriate biology corvette yours the vitamins oxygenation sleep the lack of poisons such as Alcoa for instance. There's a whole environment for healthy brain to end up Timothy. I mentioned article because we know that exposure to out Gordon you travel as domestic effects on the ability of the Chart Brain to develop papa in this. We'd have lifelong effects in the book. Give other examples Comic example of children in is higher who were deprived those specific vitamin and yours later even though they were deprived for just a few weeks years later this TWA bill moons in their language areas of the brain which system so that he's very precise systems that needs to be well fed boasts intellectually and also physically at the same time. That is a fantastic resilience. And that's also the message of the book you know. There is this ability to learn means that we can overcome some of the early insoles of life and it also means that learning is much talk than we think. We haven't talked about that. Indicates Speaker not about patients? The LESIONS FOR INSTANCE. We've done experiments on people who are blind who become proficient or mathematician. So you can be completely blind and yet have completely normal ideas about abstract concepts of mathematics. It means that we overestimate the sensory aspect of what we do. The brain is projecting. The type with this isn't GonNa go hacked full missing inflammation even the missing modality of vision. I also studied. Their child was top. Logic and blind and divert up completely normal language WTI to do mental imagery and write stories and so on so forth. So I think he's Bosa sense of resilience but also a sense of responsibility and feeding. This little brain was the most appropriate information. Well I hope that lots of people will read. This book is full of really exciting stuff. What else would you like to share before we close? I think we've talked about so many ideas. Not SURE IF ANYTHING LEFT. I maybe I would like to conclude. Perhaps with going back to the idea of artificial intelligence. I don't mean to say that artificial intelligence is a doom project. Not at all. I think that in fact I see no reason why the human brain could not be copied and some of these algorithms could not be copied innovation. We are little machines but with I tried to sign. The book is that the baby is the most incredible machine so far it is the best supercomputer in the world and we must respect that in your study it in other to have been the machines in the end. Do you have any advice for students that are interested in going into science? Well I think there is a lot of advice in the book about how they should go about learning. But that's the most important for scientists quite peculiar job. You know I would say the most important descaler yesterday. You must have the spark that makes you curious about anything. Sciences a lot of focus about. Thanks that look very trifle to other people you know you spent scale for years on the PhD. Which is already my PhD. Compare number with another. How do you decide that foy smaller than fire? And so most people look at me and they say well you know. I just know that for smaller than five. How'd you know you know? How does he work in the brain? You have to be interested focused and Julius about all sorts of sex I think this is the key creditor. Yeah one of the things I try and you have done a great job of sharing this. Today is the idea. That science isn't a bunch of static. Facts keep talked about how school can ruin curiosity. I think it's incredible. At least the IT's taught in the United States that anyone becomes a scientist may based on the way that science has taught in school because they make it so boring. Well it's not always case I think the US education a some qualities which is to Make the Child Away. Happy about going to school and feeling so owned they'd by exciting you know he'd formation. I may be missing MRS debating but It seems to me that this is a problem. The tweet facing the scores in France If we don't get international comparisons like the visa studies by the OCD. We find that in factual in France. more like key to say. I think that the teacher does not help me. The teacher is not there to help me. Small sanction me so they asked some quantities. I think to the US education which is disability to foster on Tuesdays and confidence in Shiva. Of course this student needs to build out of legal was studying and maybe that could be improved. Well I'm looking forward to sharing this with my listeners and I would love to have you to come back someday and talk some more about your work with consciousness because that's a fascinating area. I read your book the Reading Brain and of course consciousness in the brain. I'm hoping to get is it. Andrew Neater is that the right pronunciation although I asked neater yes absolutely. Yeah he has a new book out to on number a number. Yeah so I'm hoping to get him on soon. Well that's a very good idea. His His Superb. We've collaborated on somebody views of the number field. He's book is a sort of a big update on my book for many years ago. The number sets and it's much more specific about how neurons in the brain and code number which I think is a fascinating discovery. That's what I'm hoping for but I would love to have you back on some day. So today I wanNA thank stanislas to haunt for taking the time to talk with us about his new book how we learn. Why brains learn better than any machine for now. I think how we learn will be of special interest to students teachers and parents as well as anyone who aspires to be a lifelong learner. It's definitely assessable to readers of all backgrounds before I review the key ideas from today's interview. I want to reflect on how this interview affected me personally and how this relates to my aspirations to take brain science to the next level in twenty twenty as I listened to Dr to Hong Talk About his passion for bringing his work into the world of education. I realized that I have a similar goal for brain science almost every day. I get an email from a listener. Telling me how the PODCAST has impacted their life. Sometimes in surprising ways for example a few days ago I got a message from a listener. Who told me that brain science is helping him cope with signs of early onset? Dementia emails like this reinforced my conviction that understanding the basics of neuroscience matters to how people live their lives for years. I have resisted putting the content of rain science into book form because I felt that I could not afford another time consuming project that was unlikely to generate much income but last year. I realized that there are too many people who need this information. That may never listen to a podcast. Sure I want to sell books and attract new listeners but I want to keep an eye on the real goal helping other people by sharing knowledge that I know will make their lives better. This is where you come in. I'm counting on you to help me reach more people by sharing your own stories about why neuroscience matters to you. I be talking more about this in the coming months but for now. I will mention that the expanded second edition of. Are you sure the unconscious origins of certainty will be coming out in? May Twenty twenty. I will announce the exact date at least a month in advance since my publisher says that if we sell two hundred copies on the first day we can hit number one in neuroscience with your help. I think this is a very reachable goal. One small thing that you can do today is join the brain science podcast group on good reads by going to brain science forum dot com. Let's finish up by reviewing a few key ideas from today's interview. The main idea is that babies are not blank slates. They are born with some innate knowledge. Such as assumptions about objects and even a number sense that includes the ability to judge simple probabilities. They are also prodigious learners partly because their brains are incredibly plastic. Doctor pointed out that every second to three million synapses change in the baby's brain. There is mounting evidence that the human brain uses something that resembles basins statistics which means that it uses its prior knowledge to make predictions and then it adjusts predictions based on what actually occurs to haunt babies as little scientists. You're constantly experimenting. Think of this next time you watch a baby repeatedly drop or throw objects on the floor. We also talked a bit about why babies are actually better learners than our current computers. Computers require huge data sets to learn while babies learn with as little as one exposure. Language is the prototypical example of this. There's also a social aspect to the way babies learn. They know dog trying to teach them and they can tell what the adults are paying attention to also as humans were able to describe what we have learned and use language both to share and learn more. This is a form of bootstrapping are learning. The bottom line is that computers only emulate the unconscious aspects of human learning for example objects recognition software emulates. The I two hundred fifty milliseconds the unconscious object recognition part but it struggles with things like re constructing an object that is excluded behind. Something else another important idea is the neuronal recycling hypothesis. This is the idea that learning new skills involves repurposing brain areas. That evolved for something else again. Reading is the best example because there's lots of evidence that when we learn to read we repurpose parts of the CORTEX set our previously dedicated to object recognition and one of the things that we have is something called in variants. Where when we look it something or its Mirror Image. We see it as the same thing. This is actually a challenge when you learn how to read because for example the letter B. and the letter D. are mirror images of each other and can be hard to tell apart for beginning reader. It's not dyslexia. It's actually overcoming. Our default object in variance assumption. It's also one of the things that makes it hard for adults to learn to read. He pointed out that sometimes people that are adults when they learned to read never can see the difference between a B. entity understanding how a brain learns to read makes it clear. Why so called whole word? Reading doesn't work for beginning readers. Scientists have shown that the brain actually codes every letter but because the process becomes auto matic. We have the illusion that we read each word as a whole but this won't work for the beginning reader because they decoding hasn't become automatic yet. They still need to read every letter. This brings us to the main theme of today's conversation the importance of using what sciences revealing to improve the way. We teach both adults and children. That's why the Han wants to emphasize what he calls. The four pillars of learning. These are attention. Active engagement error feedback and consolidation. I'M NOT GONNA go into these in any detail but I will mention that we talked about how important sleep is for consolidation and when it comes to era feedback. I was really startled to learn the evidence that you actually learn better when you do frequent self-testing compared to just extensively reviewing I think that's a piece of information that any of you that our students ought to put into use. This episode is full of information that will be useful to teachers parents students and lifelong learners. I want to encourage you to share it with others and to read how we learn. Why brains learn better than any machine for now by stanislas to Hong. Don't forget that you can get complete show notes and episode transcripts at my website at brain science podcasts dot com. While you're there you can sign up for the free newsletter and get show nuts automatically. You can also go to brain science PODCAST DOT COM forward slash donations to learn how you can support the show. If you have feedback or ideas you'd like to share. Please email me at brain science podcasts. At G MAIL DOT COM submit voicemail at speak pipe dot com forward slash doc arduous or post to the brain science podcast fan page on facebook for those of you who prefer to avoid facebook. There is a brain science. Podcast group on good reads which I mentioned earlier and you can get there by going to brain science forum dot com. This is something that I hope to reinvigorate. In the coming months saw be back again in two weeks with another episode of Brain Science. In the meantime. I hope that you will check out my other podcasts books and ideas and grain rainbows. Thanks again for listening. I look forward to talking with you again very soon. Brain Science is copyright. Twenty eight twenty two Virginia Campbell. Md You can share this audio with others but for any other uses or derivatives. Please email me at brain science. Podcast G MAIL DOT COM the theme music for brain. Science is mind fire written and performed by Tony Cottrell Chea. You can find his work at syncopation. Now Dot Com.

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