Tweet: The importance of novelty in learning and attention is well documented

Several theories have suggested that novelty elicits a learning signal (Kormi-Nouri et al., 2005, Lisman and Grace, 2005, Meeter et al., 2005, Recce and Harris, 1996, Tulving and Kroll, 1995).
Novelty can help orient our attention, releasing neuromodulators in the brain that can increase engagement and promote learning.
Novel contexts can help engage students with a new topic, or help encourage them to practice the freshly learned knowledge in new scenarios, which is important for consolidating their understanding, memory, and transfer of that knowledge. Topics that engage curiosity have been shown to stimulate activities in the brain’s reward regions (Min Jeong et al., 2009).
Studies have shown that novel stimulus sets off a cascade of brain responses, activating several neuromodulatory systems in humans. As a consequence novelty has a wide range of effects on cognition, This include pro-learning capabilities like :
  • Improving perception and action,
  • Increasing motivation,
  • Eliciting exploratory behavior,
Thus Promoting learning. 
Further, spatial novelty may trigger the dopaminergic mesolimbic system, promoting dopamine release in the hippocampus, having longer-lasting effects, up to tens of minutes, on motivation, reward processing, and learning and memory.

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