Up close - why our brain needs surfaces to learn

The human brain does not function like a digital data storage medium, in which information can be flipped over and retrieved at any time in exactly the same way. Everything we remember becomes anchored in different parts of the brain. So we learn multidimensional. That is why learning strategies, such as the storytelling walk, also work. Here we imagine that we are walking through a room and find information in different places. If we want to call up the information later, we go through the virtual space again and easily find access to our knowledge. 

Learning is feeling and moving

Researchers found that reading is always accessed with the motor information of writing. Also, people learn better from books than from screens. This is where the three-dimensional component comes into play. In addition to the information itself, the brain also stores, for example, a stain in a book or a dog's ear. The knowledge is better anchored. 

We feel what we feel

Surfaces and their feel are much more than learning aids. Even before we reach the age of three, we have associated deep emotional impressions with different surfaces. They are so concise that they can often not even be expressed verbally. Think for yourself how you feel when you walk barefoot on a wooden floor or when you wrap yourself in a soft blanket. So we not only feel sensory, but also always feel emotionally. 

Our skin is equipped with millions of haptic sensors that transmit an impressive sensation to our brain. That's why it's wonderful for children to experiment with toys that have different surfaces. Wood can be oiled, varnished or natural and each variant triggers its own sensation. 

Writing by hand is more sustainably anchored

Writing on paper is also completely different from typing on a computer or writing on a screen with a stylus. When students write on paper, there is also a three-dimensional and haptic experience.

In the case of transcripts, connections are summarized accordingly and thus better recorded. When typing, people tend to just jot down word for word. In studies with students, those with the handwritten version had a learning advantage over those who typed on the computer. 

 

 


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