Dazzling Knowledge

Thursday, September 07, 2006

This will be my excuse from now on.

I'm not ignoring you; I'm thinking

Gazing into the middle distance improves your concentration.

Lucy Heady

Teachers everywhere can be heard shouting "look at me when I'm talking to you". But research presented today at the British Association's Festival of Science in Norwich, UK, suggests that they should be doing exactly the opposite.

When posed with a conundrum, it is normal for adults and older children to look away, staring in an unfocused way out of the window or at a patch of the carpet. This aimless gaze isn't necessarily thanks to an attitude of indifference or indolence, but instead might be helping the brain to concentrate.

Researchers at the University of Stirling in Scotland took a group of 25 five-year-olds and trained them to look away when they were being asked a question. The effect was a significant increase in correct answers to mental arithmetic questions, says Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon, who led the research. She declined to give details as the work is in press with the British Journal of Developmental Psychology.

Whole thing here.


Blogger Chamomiles Davis said...

I was looking away while reading this post, but I think I got the gist of it.

5:21 PM  

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