Pay Attention to Your Clock
October 6, 2011 3 Comments
My most deeply ingrained memory of high school is staring at that old three-limbed clock on the wall, willing it with all my mental energy to advance deeper into the afternoon. According to a new study, there might have been some benefit to that behavior:
The present experiments show that the rotational direction of meaningless body movements and even passively perceived rotating objects substantially shape novelty orientation, with clockwise compared to counterclockwise rotation increasing preference and openness to novelty as well as exploration behavior.
On one hand, this type of meat-and-potatoes cognition research could never be the basis for actual education policy. On the other hand, is the current effort dedicated to making school aesthetics conducive to thinking greater than zero? Although the utility of presenting students with rotating objects may be debatable, there are some low hanging fruit when it comes to the design of learning environments. Brighter colors. Bigger windows. More student interaction. Is it so farfetched to think that making the aesthetics of school environments more conducive to thinking might help kids learn better? At this point it seems like it’s worth a shot.
Topolinski, S., & Sparenberg, P. (2011). Turning the Hands of Time: Clockwise Movements Increase Preference for Novelty Social Psychological and Personality Science DOI: 10.1177/1948550611419266