How map-reading jokes make women worse with directions

Daily Mail - Science & tech

For as long as road maps have been about, men have driven women round the bend by joking that they cannot read them. Now scientists have found that this attitude has made women so nervous that many are now likely to avoid maps altogether. They say women are more prone to anxiety around navigation, spatial awareness and visualisation because of the stereotype that these abilities are male-centred. Spatial skills, from navigation to assembling flat-pack furniture, have been linked to success in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professions. But people differ considerably in these skills and researchers think it could be partly due to anxiety.

Loughborough University researchers reveal why some of us can't multitask online

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The internet may be the most comprehensive source of information ever created but it's also the biggest distraction. Set out to find an answer on the web and it's all too easy to find yourself flitting between multiple tabs, wondering how you ended up on a page so seemingly irrelevant to the topic you started on. Past research has shown that we have a very limited capacity to perform two or more tasks at the same time and brainpower suffers when we try. But my new study suggests that some people are better at multitasking online than others. Past research has shown that we have a very limited capacity to perform two or more tasks at the same time and brainpower suffers when we try.

5 Ways to Overcome Cognitive Overload


Cognitive overload happens to students and teachers. Often looking like ADHD, cognitive overload can happen for a variety of reasons including challenges to your working memory. Todd Finley some ways to help your students and yourself when you struggle with cognitive overload. What is it, and how do we work with it in our students and in ourselves? Today thought leader Todd Finley is going to help us understand this.

[In Depth] Energy pulses reveal possible new state of memory


Memory researchers have shone light into a cognitive limbo. A new memory--the name of someone you've just met, for example--is held for seconds in so-called working memory, as your brain's neurons continue to fire. If the person is important to you, the name will over a few days enter your long-term memory, preserved by permanently altered neural connections. But where does it go during the in-between hours, when it has left your standard working memory and is not yet embedded in long-term memory? To figure this out, a research team resurrects memories from this limbo. Their observations point to a new form of working memory, which they dub prioritized long-term memory, that exists without elevated neural activity. Consistent with other recent work, the study suggests that information can somehow be held among the synapses that connect neurons, even after conventional working memory has faded. This new memory state could have a range of practical implications, from helping college students learn more efficiently to assisting people with memory-related neurological conditions such as amnesia, epilepsy, and schizophrenia.

Effective and Efficient Management of Soar's Working Memory via Base-Level Activation

AAAI Conferences

This paper documents a functionality-driven exploration of automatic working-memory management in Soar. We first derive and discuss desiderata that arise from the need to embed a mechanism for managing working memory within a general cognitive architecture that is used to develop real-time agents. We provide details of our mechanism, including the decay model and architecture-independent data structures and algorithms that are computationally efficient. Finally, we present empirical results, which demonstrate both that our mechanism performs with little computational overhead and that it helps maintain the reactivity of a Soar agent contending with long-term, autonomous simulated robotic exploration as it reasons using large amounts of acquired information.