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24/7: How People Learn and Remember

How people learn and remember — and the specific factors that play a role in both — is a fascinating research area, and one that Noah Yeagley ’19 is extensively exploring through summer research at Ursinus.

Neuroscience and Psychology
Faculty mentor: Jennifer Stevenson

Learning any subject requires an understanding of concepts and how they are related to one another, and in Yeagley’s case, he is measuring how students learn neuroscience terms using the “structural assessment of knowledge” approach.

“Essentially, you take a whole matrix of words and give students two words at a time. You ask how similar they are — from not similar at all to synonymous — by ranking them from one to seven,” Yeagley explains. “A software program creates an actual webbing map of all the connections between all of the words.”

It’s research Yeagley started earlier this year, testing students both before their familiarity with the words, and then after they learned the concepts. Then, Yeagley will use multiple experts to create a congregate map.

“The goal is to see if structural assessment of knowledge is a viable testing strategy,” Yeagley says. “We anticipate comparing these results to traditional test and quiz scores.”