NY Times article

This is an article I read today about how the brain works better if you don’t try to fill it up with theories before you get used to the practice… very interesting!

Unfortunately, all I get is Page Not Found. What a pity!

Sanne, you have to delete the space character in “html”.

I shortened the URL.
Brain Calisthenics for Abstract Ideas Brain Calisthenics Help Break Down Abstract Ideas, Researchers Say - The New York Times

@diegomartins: This is so interesting, thank you!
@Jamie: When will I ever learn!
@YutakaM: Thank you!


This is a very interesting article and gets to the heart of how we learn things, in my view. What the article says about maths also applies to language learning.

"For years school curriculums have emphasized top-down instruction, especially for topics like math and science. Learn the rules first — the theorems, the order of operations, Newton’s laws — then make a run at the problem list at the end of the chapter. Yet recent research has found that true experts have something at least as valuable as a mastery of the rules: gut instinct, an instantaneous grasp of the type of problem they’re up against…

Now, a small group of cognitive scientists is arguing that schools and students could take far more advantage of this same bottom-up ability, called perceptual learning. The brain is a pattern-recognition machine, after all, and when focused properly, it can quickly deepen a person’s grasp of a principle, new studies suggest. Better yet, perceptual knowledge builds automatically…"

We need to find ways to sharpen our perception, or our ability to notice language patterns so that they become instinctive, so that we can refer to them without thinking.

I think that a lot of input helps, but so do a lot of other things, like seeing patterns of speech isolated in the form of examples, the way we do in the LingQ widget, flash card review, occasional grammar review, tagging saved LingQs for similar features or parts of speech for later review, using the patterns and making mistakes and much more. But the key is till a lot of exposure, I believe.