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The Neural Correlates of Embodied Cognition in Comprehension and Imagination

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The premise of the embodied cognition hypothesis is that cognitive processes require emotion, sensory, and motor systems in the brain, rather than using arbitrary symbols divorced from sensorimotor systems. The hypothesis explains many of the mechanisms of mental simulation or

The premise of the embodied cognition hypothesis is that cognitive processes require emotion, sensory, and motor systems in the brain, rather than using arbitrary symbols divorced from sensorimotor systems. The hypothesis explains many of the mechanisms of mental simulation or imagination and how they facilitate comprehension of concepts. Some forms of embodied processing can be measured using electroencephalography (EEG), in a particular waveform known as the mu rhythm (8-13 Hz) in the sensorimotor cortex of the brain. Power in the mu band is suppressed (or de-synchronized) when an individual performs an action, as well as when the individual imagines performing the action, thus mu suppression measures embodied imagination. An important question however is whether the sensorimotor cortex involvement while reading, as measured by mu suppression, is part of the comprehension of what is read or if it is arises after comprehension has taken place. To answer this question, participants first took the Gates-MacGinitie reading comprehension test. Then, mu-suppression was measured while participants read experimental materials. The degree of mu-suppression while reading verbs correlated .45 with their score on the Gates-MacGinitie test. This correlation strongly suggests that the sensorimotor system involvement while reading action sentences is part of the comprehension process rather than being an aftereffect.

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2016-05

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Effective Student Understanding: Using Video Interventions to Increase Engineering Student Concept Comprehension

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The focus of education in the classroom traditionally is one of fact memorization and recall. The teaching process of linear knowledge progression is not always in tune with the way that the human brain actually processes, conceptualizes, and comprehends concepts

The focus of education in the classroom traditionally is one of fact memorization and recall. The teaching process of linear knowledge progression is not always in tune with the way that the human brain actually processes, conceptualizes, and comprehends concepts and information. In an introductory engineering class, focused on materials engineering and its related concepts, a system of lecture interventions has been put in place to increase concept comprehension by supplementing lecture units with various activities, from additional worksheets, explicit concept discussions, and most recently, YouTube videos showcasing specific concepts and situations. In an attempt to correct the lack of actual concept comprehension, these interventions seek to interact with the human mind in a way that capitalizes on its ability to process and interpret non-linear knowledge and information.

Using a concept test given prior to the lecture unit, and after, the difference in scores is used to recognize if the concepts presented have actually been comprehended. Used specifically in a lecture unit on solubility and solutions, the concept test tested student’s knowledge of supersaturated, saturated, and unsaturated solutions. With a visual identification and a written explanation, the student’s ability to identify and explain the three solutions was tested.

In order to determine the cause of the change in score from pre- to post-test, an analysis of the change in scores and the effects of question type and solution type was conducted. The significant results are as follows:
 The change in score from pre- to post-test was found to be significant, with the only difference between the two tests being the lecture unit and intervention
 From pre- to post-test, solution type had a significant effect on the score, with the unsaturated solution being the most easily recognized and explained solution type
 Students that felt that the YouTube videos greatly increased their concept comprehension, on average, performed better than their counterparts and also saw a greater increase their score from pre- to post-test

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2014-05