Category Archives: Learning


Exciting New Evidence Points the Way to How We Learn This month marks a hallmark in the history of biology. For the first time, we understand how learning takes place. Not vaguely, with ill-defined concepts and analogies, but in concrete precise molecular detail. The discovery of the molecular basis of learning is likely to impact… Read More »

Sometimes I wonder if my dog is smarter than I am

I hate it when my dog outsmarts me. Last week Sparky, our six-year-old Jack Russell terrier, escaped from the family backyard again. We have a big fenced backyard, which Sparky and our other two dogs roam like sovereigns patrolling their kingdom. Every once in a while — just to get my attention, I suspect, —… Read More »

Rats Control a Robot by Thought Alone

Among the most devastating of disabilities are spinal injuries that sever communication between the brain and the limbs. The nerve cells in the brain devoted to controlling limb movement are still there, but unable to communicate with the limb muscles. It takes a long time for the brain to adjust to this harsh reality, and… Read More »

Simple repetition can have a powerful impact on learning

I have an awful memory for faces. Introduced to someone, five minutes later I may have no recollection of their name. After years, the names of many of my wife’s friends are still embarrassingly elusive. A study published this Monday in the Journal of Experimental Psychology by Psychologists Catherine Fritz and Peter Morris suggests that… Read More »

To What Degree Does Environment Affect I.Q.?

The influence of environment on the expression of genetic traits is especially hard to study when a number of different genes affect the trait. Nowhere has this difficulty led to more controversy than in studies of I.Q. scores. I.Q. is a controversial measure of general intelligence based on a written test that many feel to… Read More »