Leer je een bepaalde vaardigheid pas echt goed als je ze ook zelf uitvoert? Nieuw onderzoek heeft aangetoond dat het kijken naar een video van een simpele taak het functioneren en de hersenstructuur kan bevorderen. Lees echter ook de tweede helft van deze blogpost om te weten of het volstaat!
“Watching video of simple tasks before carrying them out may boost the brain’s structure, or plasticity, and increase motor skills, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, April 26 to May 3, 2014. Brain plasticity is the brain’s ability to flex and adapt, allowing for better learning. The brain loses plasticity as it ages.
For the study, 36 right-handed healthy adults participated in 40-minute training sessions five times a week for two weeks. Half the group watched videos of a specific task, such as writing with a pen, cutting with scissors or handling coins, then were asked to complete the task themselves. The other half watched videos of landscapes and then were asked to complete the same tasks.
At the start of the study and again two weeks later, the groups were tested for strength and hand skills, and also underwent 3-D MRI brain scans. Scientists looked at brain volume changes in both groups.
The study found that the group who completed the training along with watching the activity videos had 11 times greater improvement of motor skill abilities, mainly in terms of strength, compared to those who watched the landscape videos.
“Our study lends credence to the idea that even as an adult, your brain is able to better learn skills just by watching the activity take place. With a dramatic increase of videos available through mobile phones, computers, and other newer technology, this topic should be the focus of more research,” said study author Paolo Preziosa, MD, with San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy. “The results might also contribute to reducing disability and improving quality of those who are impaired or who are undergoing physical rehabilitation.”
Source: American Academy of Neurology”
Ook uit eerdere onderzoeken bleek al dat wanneer we iemand observeren die een bepaalde vaardigheid uitvoert, dat dan ook de delen van onze hersenen die daarbij betrokken zijn als we deze activiteit zelf uitvoeren, worden geactiveerd. Hierdoor wordt het leerproces versneld. Via een blogpost van Annie Murphy Paul ontdekte ik nog de volgende interessante studies die dit aantonen:
“Scott Grafton, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has employed studies of dancers to investigate the operation of what he calls the “action observation network,” a circuit in the brain that is stimulated whenever we observe a movement, imagine performing it or actually engage in it ourselves. In a study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex in 2009, Grafton and his co-authors asked participants to rehearse a dance sequence set to a music video. For five days they practiced the routine; on each day they also watched a different dance sequence without trying it out for themselves. The subjects’ brains were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after the five-day period. The second round of scans revealed that the dancers’ action observation networks showed similar patterns of activation as they watched both videos — the one with a dance sequence they had practiced, and the one with a dance sequence they had simply watched. “Human motor skills can be acquired by observation without the benefit of immediate physical practice,” Grafton and his colleagues concluded.”
Volstaat het dus om vanuit je luie zetel de hele dag passief naar tv te kijken om iets te leren? Neen! Zoals Annie Murphy Paul aangeeft nuanceren enkele andere onderzoeken deze vaststellingen.
- “First, we derive the most benefit from observation when have in mind the conscious intention to carry out the action ourselves. In a 2006 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, psychologist Scott Frey of the University of Oregon scanned the brains of participants as they watched videos of someone putting together and taking apart a toy made of several parts. One group of subjects simply watched the demonstration; another group was aware that they would be asked to reproduce the actions they viewed on the video. Although members of both groups were lying completely still inside an fMRI machine, the brains of the second group showed activation in a region involved in motor learning. Simply knowing that we will be expected to carry out the motions we observe seems to prime the brain to learn better.”
- “Second, we gain more from observation if we bring with us some familiarity with the movements being watched. In a 2005 study, Beatriz Calvo-Merino and her colleagues at University College London showed videos of dance sequences to experts in classical ballet and experts in capoeira, the Brazilian dance and martial art form, as the experts’ brains were being scanned. Although members of both groups were experienced dancers, each showed stronger brain activation when they viewed movements that they had been trained to perform compared to movements they had not. The more we already know, this and other studies indicate, the more we’re able to improve through observation.”
- “Lastly, Grafton of UC-Santa Barbara notes that as valuable as watching others can be, multiple studies have shown that “the benefit from learning by observing is never as strong as advantages derived from physical practice.” With apologies to the couch potatoes out there, sometimes you just need to get up and dance.”