Friday, August 07, 2009

Learning from success

A fascinating article about research being done by some folks at MIT. Apparently we learn better from success than failure.

When I asked Clif Saper, our Chief of Neurology to comment, he said the following. I think the last point has something to do with how I am supposed to treat Chiefs of Service!

The thing that is most salient in this work is the role of reward. Emilio Bizzi at MIT began studying prefrontal neurons and their role in directing eye movements in the 1960’s, and found that they had no real relationship to the eye movements when the monkeys randomly scanned the room. But later it was found that if you reward the monkeys for looking in a certain direction, they respond briskly. Primate prefrontal cortex is a machine for shaping behavior based on reward. There is a lesson in there...


e-Patient Dave said...

> we learn better from success than failure

Hmmm, whaddaya think are the odds that this has something to do with what Lachlan Forrow said the other day, commenting on your Ed Schein post?

"What’s neglected in most of the rhetoric about “service” is that it needs to be effective, not just to be of value to others (i.e. of any real value), but also because seeing real impact of what one does provides the crucial feedback loop to keep one going. It’s not very satisfying to be ineffective..."

Aaron said...

My wife, a teacher, has been saying for years that positive reinforcement is better than negative. Many dog trainers say the same thing. Not sure what boat that puts healthcare professionals into, but it does work!!

Anonymous said...

That's interesting because my failures in my career are burned far more deeply into my memory than the successes. It might be better phrased to say new information is learned better/faster with a reward than without one, perhaps?