Mind: The little breaks that make it easier to be taught new issues

  • Paula Adamo Idoeta
  • BBC News Brazil in London

photo credit, Seventy-four

image subtitle,

Studies indicate that when learning something new, such as a song on the piano, it is more effective to take short breaks than to practice nonstop to exhaustion.

To learn something new, you have to practice, practice, practice, says common sense – this idea that “it is by getting enough that you become a blacksmith”.

But a number of scientific studies have shown that relentless practice may not be the most effective way to learn a new skill: the brain needs to rest to consolidate newly acquired knowledge and transform it from a transient memory into a lasting memory.

And one of the most recent findings is that short breaks interspersed with the practice of activities lead to significant learning gains: the brain takes advantage of these breaks to mentally and very quickly review what it has just learned, thus reinforcing the newly acquired skill.

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