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Museums & the Mind III, ASTC 2008

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Part III of the Museums and the Mind session at ASTC 2008 in Philadelphia. Jennifer Mangels, professor of psychology at the City University of New York, discusses the neuroscience of knowledge-seeking emotions and learning.

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Museums & the Mind III, ASTC 2008

  1. 1. The Neuroscience of Knowledge Seeking and Learning Jennifer A. Mangels, PhD Baruch College, City University of New York
  2. 2. Goosebumps : Fear System <ul><li>Amygdala is particularly involved in processing FEAR </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stimuli expressing fear (or inducing fear) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But responds more broadly to any positive OR negatively AROUSING stimuli </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Particularly when stimuli are presented quickly or subject is distracted </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Why does fear help memory? <ul><li>Memory Modulation Hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>Amgydala enhances “ consolidation ” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>memories are more resistant to decay with time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why?? </li></ul><ul><li>Fast route: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Amygdala has direct output to the hippocampus and other parts of the medial temporal lobe (areas important in creating new long-term memories) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Slow route: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Arousal increases release of stress hormones (ephinephrine and cortisol) that enhance the influence of the amygdala on the hippocampus </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Balancing Fear with Seeking <ul><li>FEAR system promotes withdrawal rather than further seeking of information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enhances memory for arousing event, but often at expense of surrounding context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Narrowing of attentional focus </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>KNOWLEDGE SEEKING EMOTIONS motivate learning and exploration (Silvia, 2008) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Confusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Surprise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Awe </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Attracts us to the unfamiliar… </li></ul><ul><li>provides counterweight to feelings of uncertainty and anxiety (Kashdan, 2004) </li></ul>
  5. 5. What’s interesting? <ul><li>Interest is subjective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No intrinsic categories </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. What’s interesting? <ul><li>Interest is subjective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No intrinsic categories </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A function of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Appraisal of novelty-complexity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Novelty: New, surprising, mysterious, obscure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Complexity: requires greater effort to understand </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Greatest differential payoff in absolute knowledge gained </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appraisal of comprehensibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Whether you have the skills, knowledge or resources to deal with novelty </li></ul></ul></ul>(Silvia, 2006; Silvia, 2008)
  7. 7. Novelty and Dopamine <ul><li>Novelty and complexity are also relative, not absolute </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforcement (i.e., reward, feedback) based learning is fastest when deviation between actual and expected outcome is greatest (Rescorla-Wagner, 1972; Sutton & Barto, 1981). </li></ul><ul><li>Phasic activity of midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>signals novelty and unexpected outcomes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dopamine = neurotransmitter important in signaling reward… </li></ul></ul>(Neural activity in midbrain of monkeys when receiving rewards (green) or punishment (red) Hollerman & Schultz, 1998) 250 ms
  8. 8. Prediction Error and Learning <ul><li>Novelty and complexity are also relative, not absolute </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforcement (i.e., reward, feedback) based learning is fastest when deviation between actual and expected outcome is greatest (Rescorla-Wagner, 1972; Sutton & Barto, 1981). </li></ul><ul><li>Phasic activity of midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>signals novelty and unexpected outcomes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dopamine = neurotransmitter important in signaling reward… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>modulates hippocampal activity (Witmann et al., 2005) </li></ul></ul>Hippocampus Midbrain DA fMRI activity More activity for rewarded items that were later remembered ( ★ ) ≈ ç ≈ ç
  9. 9. Midline frontal regions also register novelty -- rapidly orient attention P3a P3a (Butterfield & Mangels, 2003) Map of scalp-recorded brain activity Unexpected > Expected outcome * * P3a Unexpected bad outcome Unexpected good outcome Expected bad outcome Expected good outcome (Buttefield & Mangels, 2003; Mangels, et al., 2006)
  10. 10. Novelty enhances memory <ul><li>Unexpected outcomes are generally remembered better </li></ul><ul><li>But learning is best when individuals perceive unexpected bad outcome as a challenge , not threat to their self-concept of ability </li></ul>(Mangels, Butterfield, Lamb, Good, & Dweck, 2006) Memory for event Expected bad outcomes Un expected bad outcomes (Mangels, et al., 2006) *** threatened challenged ** *
  11. 11. Optimizing Arousal Levels of Arousal Too little Too much (Optimal) Cognitive Performance Yerkes-Dodson Inverted U-Shaped Curve (including stress/fear-based and novelty-based arousal)
  12. 12. The importance of comprehension <ul><li>Neural Axis: </li></ul><ul><li>Sympathetic nervous system stimulation of heart muscle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>increased cardiac performance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Endocrine Axis: </li></ul><ul><li>Adrenal medullary release of epinephrine </li></ul><ul><ul><li>peripheral vasodilation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Neural Axis: </li></ul><ul><li>Sympathetic nervous system stimulation of heart muscle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>increased cardiac performance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Endocrine Axis: </li></ul><ul><li>Pituitary inhibition of adrenal response </li></ul><ul><ul><li>peripheral vasoconstriction </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disengagement </li></ul>(Tomaka, Blascovitch, Kibler, & Ernst, 1997) <ul><li>Threat </li></ul><ul><li>demands outweigh resources </li></ul><ul><li>Novelty-Complexity > Comprehension </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge </li></ul><ul><li>resources equal/outweigh demands </li></ul><ul><li>Novelty-Complexity ≤ Comprehension </li></ul>
  13. 13. Deeper engagement in learning when novelty-complexity is appraised as challenging rather than threatening 500-1000 ms <ul><li>More left temporal (deep/conceptual) processing for challenged students </li></ul><ul><li>Similar right occipital (perceptual/shallow) processing for challenged and threatened students </li></ul>threatened challenged (Mangels, et al., 2006)
  14. 14. Conclusions <ul><li>Both fear (amygdala/cortisol) and reward (midbrain dopamine) signal information that is important to remember </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Both enhance formation of long-term memories by the hippocampus </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Knowledge seeking is most effective when fear (avoidance) of the unknown is balanced by interest in discovery (approach) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Novelty-Complexity is high… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… But well-balanced by resources that provide sources of Comprehension </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning becomes challenging, not threatening </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Conclusions <ul><li>Ones “resources” for comprehension have both external and internal (metacognitive) sources </li></ul><ul><li>Meeting challenges is rewarding in itself and reinforces knowledge seeking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not too hard (threatening), not too easy (insufficient novelty/complexity) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creates positive feedback cycle </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. References <ul><li>Butterfield, B., & Mangels, J. A. (2003). Neural correlates of error detection and correction in a semantic retrieval task. Cognitive Brain Research, 17 , 793-817. </li></ul><ul><li>Hollerman, J. R., & Schultz, W. (1998). Dopamine neurons report an error in the temporal prediction of reward during learning. Nature Neuroscience, 1(4), 304-9. </li></ul><ul><li>Kashdan, T. B. (2004). Curiousity. In C. Peterson & M. E. P. Seligman (Eds.), Character strengths and virtues (pp. 125-141). New York: Oxford University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Mangels, J. A., Butterfield, B., Lamb, J., Good, C. D., & Dweck, C. S. (2006). Why do beliefs about intelligence influence learning success? A social cognitive neuroscience model. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN), 1, 75-86 . </li></ul><ul><li>Rescorla, R.A. & Wagner, A.R.. (1972). A theory of Pavlovian conditioning: variations in the effectiveness of reinforcement and nonreinforcement in: A.H. Black,W.F. Prokasy (Eds.), Classical Conditioning II: Current Research and Theory, Appleton–Century–Crofts, New York, pp. 64–99. </li></ul><ul><li>Silvia, P. G. (2006) Exploring the psychology of interest . New York: Oxford University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Silvia, P. G. (2008). Interest-The Curious Emotion. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(1), 57-60. </li></ul><ul><li>Tomoka, J., Blascovitch, J., Kibler, J., & Ernst, J.M. (1997). Cognitive and physiological antecedents of threat and challenge appraisal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(1), 63-72. </li></ul><ul><li>Witmann, B. C., Schott, B. H., Guderian, S., Frey, J. U., Heinze, H. J., & Duzel, E. (2005). Reward-related FMRI activation of dopaminergic midbrain is associated with enhanced hippocampus-depedent long-term memory formation, Neuron, 45(3), 459-67. </li></ul>

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