Think Like an Expert, Meir Meshulam (2306167)
What is the best way to learn and become an expert? To find out, I used functional MRI to scan the brains of Princeton students enrolled in an introduction to computer science course while watching course lectures and taking an exam. The scans shows that the curriculum material left detectable “neural fingerprints” in the students’ brains. These fingerprints were shared with other students in the class as well as with experts in the field. Strikingly, the better a student was aligned with the rest of the class, the better they did on the final exam – allowing us to predict learning outcomes weeks in advance. We also found that learning the correct set of relationships between concepts is essential to learning success. It is not enough to remember what is a flower and what is a bee. You also need to learn how they are related; that there is a special relationship between a flower and a bee. This result is significant because it could allow teachers to pinpoint *why* a student misunderstood a particular topic and how best to help them. So what is the best way to learn and become an expert? Spend time with your friends, talk to them and learn together! Your brain will thank you for it. The study was performed in the labs of Prof. Uri Hasson and Ken Norman at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.