Learning Is Both Social And Computational, Supported By Neural Systems Linking People:
"ScienceDaily (July 19, 2009) — Education is on the cusp of a transformation because of recent scientific findings in neuroscience, psychology, and machine learning that are converging to create foundations for a new science of learning.
Writing in the July 17 edition of the journal Science, researchers report that this shift is being driven by three principles that are emerging from cross-disciplinary work: learning is computational, learning is social, and learning is supported by brain circuits linking perception and action that connect people to one another. This new science of learning, the researchers believe, may shed light into the origins of human intelligence.
"We are not left alone to understand the world like Robinson Crusoe was on his island," said Andrew Meltzoff, lead author of the paper and co-director of the University of Washington's Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. "These principles support learning across the life span and are particularly important in explaining children's rapid learning in two unique domains of human intelligence, language and social understanding.
"Social interaction is more important than we previously thought and underpins early learning. Research has shown that humans learn best from other humans, and a large part of this is timing, sensitive timing between a parent or a tutor and the child," said Meltzoff, who is a developmental psychologist.
"We are trying to understand how the child's brain works – how computational abilities are changed in the presence of another person, and trying to use these three principles as leverage for learning and improving education," added co-author Patricia Kuhl, a neuroscientist and co-director of the UW's Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences.