Learn-More-Study-Less by Unknown

Learn-More-Study-Less by Unknown

Language: eng
Format: mobi
Published: 2020-07-24T17:32:24.845671+00:00

For example, let’s say you were in a psychology lecture learning about classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is the process of associating a stimulus and a response and was made famous by Pavlov’s dogs. Pavlov noticed that by conditioning the dogs to associate a ringing bell with the arrival of food, the dogs would salivate when he rang a bell. After several times, the dogs would salivated when hearing a bell, even if he didn't bring food.

How could you use metaphor to learn this? The first step in metaphor is to look for something in your experience that models this process. As I grew up with Canadian winters, the first metaphor I imagined was

walking through snow.

When you first walk through snow, every

possible path is equal because they are all

densely filled with powder. But after several

walks through the snow, the first path you

chose will become easier to walk through.

This is because the compacting of snow under

your feet creates a trail. Soon it is far easier to walk through one path than any other.


I can link this concept of walking through snow to classical conditioning by seeing the associations in the dogs brain. Initially, the bell could cause the dog to salivate or not (representing the expanse of snow with no trails). But after conditioning the bell with the arrival of food, the path from bell to food inevitably creates a trail through the snow. Eventually the dog will drool at the sound of the bell because that path has been so strongly conditioned.

Like most metaphors this one isn’t perfect, but it can be a useful example. Coming up with a metaphor is a matter of following three simple steps: 1) Identify the information you want to better understand or remember. In our case it was classical conditioning.

2) Find something in your experience that matches part of the idea you want to understand. Perfect matches are often impossible, so compromise with a couple imperfect metaphors instead of a complete match. In our case we used walking through snow as an example.

3) Repeat this process and check for circumstances where the metaphor doesn’t apply. With this example, walking through snow is a linear process, whereas brain neural connections have many different impulses running at the same time.


Sometimes a metaphor doesn’t easily drop into your lap and requires more creative effort. Our snow-walking example fit snugly within the idea of classical conditioning.

But, often metaphors require more effort in constructing.

Let’s say you were taking basic calculus and needed to understand derivative. A derivative is the result of differentiating a function and has many useful properties in mathematics.

A derivative will measure the slope at any part of the parent function. So if you have a function that rises in a straight line upwards, the derivative will be flat as the slope is the same throughout the parent function. In a curved line, the derivative will have a shape that models how the slope changes at every position on the parent function.

The problem with this explanation of a derivative is that it might be hard to remember what a derivative represents.


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