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Babies Learn Better When Surprised

New research out of Johns Hopkins University suggests babies whose expectations are challenged by surprise tend to learn more efficiently.

New research out of Johns Hopkins University suggests that babies learn more effectively when taken aback or surprised. Brian Handwerk of Smithsonian Mag explains:


"Fans of 'Got Your Nose' take note: Unexpected experiences that violate infants' innate knowledge of the world, like a ball appearing to roll through a solid wall, stimulate interest and help them figure out where to focus their learning efforts. The discovery not only shows that very young babies already have sophisticated expectations, but that the ones who experience surprises learn more efficiently than those who don't."

Cognitive psychologists Aimee E. Stahl and Lisa Feigenson co-authored the new study published in Science. They found that babies are motivated to learn more about their surroundings and do so best when confronted with surprising events. If a new item is introduced into their immediate environment in a startling way, a baby is much more likely to pursue further understanding of the object than if the object hadn't surprised them.

Read more at Smithsonian Mag.

Below, psychologist and Big Think expert Alison Gopnik explains her own childhood and how to analyze the psyche of an infant:

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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Masturbation boosts your immune system, helping you fight off infection and illness

Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?

Sexual arousal and orgasm increase the number of white blood cells in the body, making it easier to fight infection and illness.

Image by Yurchanka Siarhei on Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
  • The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
  • Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
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Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

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