Social Media’s Effect on Learning

Social media may seem, at times, to be a flurry of meaningless updates and marketing schemes, but researchers are figuring out how the interaction it spurs can stimulate brain activity.

“We’ve evolved to interact with the world,” said Patricia Kuhl, a University of Washington professor and co-author of a recent study on social learning. “We did not evolve to lie in front of a flat screen and just watch it,” even if what it’s spewing at us is informative or entertaining. One reason for this is that the social part of the brain affects which computational skills a person picks up.

Take a recent study, which showed how social interaction plays into learning languages. Japanese-speaking students took English lessons through an interactive and self-monitored computer program.

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