Artificial Intelligence

Feature Story

Can taking breaks enhance test-taking performance?

December 18, 2018

Might power naps enhance performance? Perhaps. Short breaks sure do. That is the finding of research by Kristina Lerman, principal scientist at the USC Information Sciences Institute and research associate professor in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science.

In the paper, called "Model of Cognitive Dynamics Predicts Performance on Standardized Tests," Lerman, along with lead author Nathan O. Hodas, and co-authors Jacob Hunter, and Stephen J. Young, reviewed 2.8 million attempts by 180 thousand users to answer 6,000 SAT, ACT, and GED test questions on the website grockit.com, evaluating the intervals between the stop and start time of the students’ attempts to solve problems and learn from mistakes. Their study, published the Journal of Computational Social Science, puts forth a model to understand factors at play in performance.

Similar to models previously employed to understand energy metabolism in the brain, the USC team’s model focuses on the concept of resource depletion. In this case, the researchers’ premise is that the mere act of answering questions itself depletes the brain the resources it needs for performance.

The data shows that the longer test takers focused on a task, the more their cognitive resources were "depleted by sustained mental effort."

What is a test-taker to do? Take breaks. The authors say, "Performance declines over the course of a test taking session, it recovers following prolonged breaks between sessions."

And the researchers suggest that when you do return to whatever task you are doing, that you should warm up of an easier task before starting a more complicated task.

This body of work has implications not just for test-taking, the researchers say, but for the start of the work week. One should start with something easier such as an email before going onto bigger, more complex tasks that require intense concentration.Read More

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News

ISI Researchers Fight Biometric Spoofing

February 1, 2019

A bad guy cases the supposedly secure Southern California headquarters of a major aerospace corporation with close governmental ties. He notes that everyone from the janitor to the CEO gains entrance after a facial recognition scan confirms their identities.

https://viterbischool.usc.edu/news/2019/02/stop-the-spoofing/

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COMPUTER SCIENCE STUDENTS UNLEASH POWER OF SOCIAL WEB DATA CS599: Data Science for Social Systems

December 18, 2018

 

 

As part of a new USC data science course taught by ISI's Emilio Ferrara and Fred Morstatter, more than 100 master’s and PhD students unveiled their final research project posters to professors and industry members on Nov. 30  https://www.isi.edu/news/story/357

 

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Feature Story

Can taking breaks enhance test-taking performance?

December 18, 2018

Might power naps enhance performance? Perhaps. Short breaks sure do. That is the finding of research by Kristina Lerman, principal scientist at the USC Information Sciences Institute and research associate professor in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science.

In the paper, called "Model of Cognitive Dynamics Predicts Performance on Standardized Tests," Lerman, along with lead author Nathan O. Hodas, and co-authors Jacob Hunter, and Stephen J. Young, reviewed 2.8 million attempts by 180 thousand users to answer 6,000 SAT, ACT, and GED test questions on the website grockit.com, evaluating the intervals between the stop and start time of the students’ attempts to solve problems and learn from mistakes. Their study, published the Journal of Computational Social Science, puts forth a model to understand factors at play in performance.

Similar to models previously employed to understand energy metabolism in the brain, the USC team’s model focuses on the concept of resource depletion. In this case, the researchers’ premise is that the mere act of answering questions itself depletes the brain the resources it needs for performance.

The data shows that the longer test takers focused on a task, the more their cognitive resources were "depleted by sustained mental effort."

What is a test-taker to do? Take breaks. The authors say, "Performance declines over the course of a test taking session, it recovers following prolonged breaks between sessions."

And the researchers suggest that when you do return to whatever task you are doing, that you should warm up of an easier task before starting a more complicated task.

This body of work has implications not just for test-taking, the researchers say, but for the start of the work week. One should start with something easier such as an email before going onto bigger, more complex tasks that require intense concentration.Read More

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Events

Unless otherwise noted, seminars are open to the public.

Dec 06 Shiwali Mohan, PARCAI Seminar

Cancelled-Modeling Humans in Collaborative AI Systems

11:00am - 12:00pm PST
Dec 11 Qiang Yang, HKUSTAI Seminar

Dealing with Data Silos and Privacy in Artificial Intelligence – Advances in Transfer Learning and Federated Learning

11:00am - 12:00pm PST
Dec 12 Soravit (Beer) Changpinyo -Google AINL Seminar

Tightly Connecting Vision and Language

11:00am - 12:00pm PST
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