Author Archives for Syngli

ChatGPT-4 passes tough exams

February 9, 2023 11:00 am
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ChatGPT-4 – the computer interface you can interact with – just got even better. The AI chatbot uses natural language processing to create humanlike conversational dialogue and can compose written content in various modes, including essays, social media posts, emails,... View Article

Perceptual learning and recognizing abnormalities

March 29, 2015 6:00 pm
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Writing in The New York Times, Benedict Carey identifies some areas in which perceptual learning has been applied: visualizing high-dimensional genetic data (e.g. as has been done, at least implicitly, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine) training pilots to... View Article

Race still a factor in top US college admissions

November 24, 2014 6:00 pm
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In a New York Times article on race and college admissions, Yascha Mounk exposes both the “racial balancing” at top schools like Harvard that discriminates against Asian-American applicants (as Harvard once discriminated against Jewish applicants), and the myth that “Asian-American applicants... View Article

Critics speak out against behavior-tracking apps

November 16, 2014 6:00 pm
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In a New York Times article, Natasha Singer relates criticisms of behavior-tracking apps, in particular the most popular, ClassDojo, which its developer reports is now “used by at least one teacher in roughly one out of three schools in the United States”.... View Article

Lizette Alvarez reports on Florida’s reactions to standardized testing in a New York Times article. Florida has adopted standards more challenging than Common Core, including its Florida Standards Assessment which is still to be validated. She writes, “In Florida, which tests students... View Article

Chocolate may enhance memory

October 26, 2014 6:00 pm
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New evidence suggests that ingestion of chocolate is associated with memory enhancement. In healthy adults aged 50-69, ingestion over three months of a mixture with a relatively high- vs. low-concentration of cocoa flavanol (specifically epicatechin) was associated with about 25% better... View Article

Portal 2 vs. Lumosity

October 2, 2014 6:00 pm
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Shute et al. (2015 Comput & Educ) compared undergraduate subjects who were randomly assigned to play either Valve’s Portal 2 video game or Lumosity for eight hours. Those who had played Portal 2 showed significantly higher pre- vs. post-test gains on measures... View Article

EQAO shows Waterloo elementary students trailing

September 18, 2014 6:00 pm
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Grade 3 and 6 reading, writing and math test scores in the Waterloo region are uniformly less than the provincial average, according to more detailed EQAO (Education Quality and Accountability Office) results released yesterday. See here. Performance is worst in... View Article

Canada’s emphasis on commercial research is criticized

September 5, 2014 6:00 pm
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An episode of CBC’s The Current, hosted by Chris Hadfield, dealt with the Canadian government’s increasing support for commercial research over basic research. In 2013, the federal government decreed that every new dollar of research funding would be earmarked for... View Article

EQAO Math: Falling performances in Ontario 2014

August 28, 2014 6:00 pm
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Ontario provincial test scores released by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) today showed falling performance in elementary school (Grade 3 and 6) math (in terms of the fraction of students meeting provincial standards, relative to 2010), and even... View Article

As related by Catherine Shu in an article in TechCrunch, the Korean start-up Ybrain has raised a $3.5M Series A round to manufacture and run clinical trials with its wearable health device. This headband device is targeted at Alzheimer’s and MCI (mild cognitive impairment)... View Article

Memory retrieval for arithmetic problem solving

August 19, 2014 6:00 pm
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Qin et al. (2014 Nat Neurosci) found that as children transition from counting to a memory retrieval strategy when solving arithmetic problems (between ages 7 and 9), there are corresponding changes in BOLD activation from prefrontal-parietal to hippocampal areas (along... View Article

Preventable medical error is a lead cause of death

August 9, 2014 6:00 pm
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According to Daniel J. Levitin in the New York Times, by “some estimates, preventable medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year”.

Language learning: Effortful vs passive learning

July 23, 2014 6:00 pm
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Finn et al. (2014 PLoS One) find evidence that the more “effortful” language learning of adults vs. children interferes with their learning of an artificial language (consisting of two-syllable, three-category nonsense words). In particular, adult learners under given instructions to... View Article