Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why One Way Of Learning Is Better Than Another

Date:
October 2, 2009
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
A new study reveals that different patterns of training and learning lead to different types of memory formation. The significance of the study is that it identifies the molecular differences between spaced training (distributed over time) and massed training (at very short intervals), shedding light on brain function and guiding learning and training principles.

A new study from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) of McGill University reveals that different patterns of training and learning lead to different types of memory formation. The significance of the study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, is that it identifies the molecular differences between spaced training (distributed over time) and massed training (at very short intervals), shedding light on brain function and guiding learning and training principles.

Related Articles


In every organism studied, results have shown that memory formation is highly sensitive not only to the total amount of training, but also to the pattern of trials used during training. In particular, trials distributed over time are superior at generating long-term memories than trials presented at very short intervals.

"It is a well known psychological principle that learning is better when training trials are spaced out than when given all together," says Dr. Wayne Sossin, neuroscientist at The Neuro and lead investigator of the study. "However, there are very few, if any studies that identify, at the molecular level, differences between the two types of training."

"In this study, using Aplysia, a type of mollusk often used as a model of learning in which the difference between spaced and massed training has been well established, we identify an event, the activation of the enzyme called Protein kinase C Apl II (PKC Apl II), which is very different under the two training paradigms and could explain the differences in learning.

The process of strengthening communication between nerve cells (neurons), called synaptic facilitation, represents learning and is the basis of change in learning in Aplysia. This process is controlled by the release of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Four to five spaced applications of serotonin generate long-term changes in the strength of the synapse – the junction between two neurons - but in this study lead to less activation of PKC Apl II. This leads to stronger connections between neurons and therefore increased learning and memory. In contrast, if the application of serotonin is continuous, as would be the case in massed learning/training, the researchers found that there was much more activation of PKC Apl II, suggesting that activation of this enzyme may block the mechanisms for generating long-term memory, while retaining mechanisms for short-term memory.

This study shows that the enzyme PKC Apl II is regulated differently by spaced versus massed applications of serotonin and that the difference in activation of PKC Apl II can explain some of the distinction between spaced and massed training.

This work is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Why One Way Of Learning Is Better Than Another." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001163730.htm>.
McGill University. (2009, October 2). Why One Way Of Learning Is Better Than Another. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001163730.htm
McGill University. "Why One Way Of Learning Is Better Than Another." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001163730.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins