Mind: the little breaks that enable you 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, like a song on the piano, it is more effective to take short breaks than to practice constantly until exhaustion.

To learn something new you have to practice, practice, practice, says common sense – this idea that “you become a blacksmith by gorging yourself”.

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

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

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