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Stress and Learning

I always get excited when I find hard research that substantiates the use of stress-free learning.  This time I hit a jackpot when I found JW Wilson’s, Cracking the Learning Code.  JW Wilson is the Executive Director of The Advanced Learning Institute, an organization which researches, develops and implements scientific-based learning programs. JW is also the author of the soon-to-be-published book Cracking the Learning Code, the culmination of over 20 years of scientific research into how to accelerate the speed of learning and enhance its effectiveness.

Studies Show Stress’ Negative Impacts on Memory and Intelligence

The man who gave the world the conditioned response [Pavlov] was also one of the first researchers to recognize the profound negative influence that stress has on the learning process. In 1924, during a major Leningrad flood, water surged high into Ivan Pavlov’s laboratory. The terrified dogs that Pavlov had spent weeks and months conditioning were trapped in their cages and had to paddle for their lives with their noses just barely above the high-water mark. After these animals were rescued, Pavlov was shocked to find that the stress of the flood had produced such profound changes in these animals’ brains that they had unlearned the conditioned responses he had worked so hard to implant!

Recent research confirms Pavlov’s findings. Over 125 studies of more than 36,000 individuals have shown conclusively that the more stress you are under, the lower your memory performance, no matter how it is measured – by grade point average, IQ, or other forms of achievement tests.

  • Dr. Bernard Brown of Georgetown University, studying over 4,000 students, found increased stress cut IQ scores by 14 percent.
  • Researcher John Hunsley reports that the amount of stress you feel while taking a test directly predicts how poorly you will do on it.
  • A study of 1,790 individuals training to be air traffic controllers showed that, even though these individuals had superior IQs, high stress disrupted their abilities to score well on air traffic tests.
  • In a McGill University study, researchers checked stress hormone levels of 130 volunteers and found that high amounts of the stress hormone cortisol correlated with inhibited memory and attention.
  • A survey of stressed and maltreated children showed that the rate for having to repeat the first grade was an incredibly sad 65 percent. These poor stressed-out kids just could not think or learn!
  • Learning expert Gordon Stokes says, “80 percent of learning difficulties are related to stress, remove the stress and you remove the difficulties.”

~ JW Wilson, Advanced Learning Institute

Thank for this rich information, Jack. Can’t wait for your book!

 


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