Faculty Lecture Series to Feature Nate Kornell on Feb. 9

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., February 2, 2017—Nate Kornell, associate professor of psychology, will present the first lecture in the Faculty Lecture Series at Williams College on Feb. 9, at 4:15 p.m. in Wege Auditorium. The lecture, titled “Productive Struggle: Using Cognitive Science to Enhance Learning,” is free and open to the public. A reception in Schow Atrium will immediately follow the presentation.

In his lecture, Kornell will discuss how arranging learning so it is difficult makes students do worse in the short term, but learn more in the long term. He will discuss the value of struggle in education, and the problem that doing well today is not a good way to prepare for tomorrow. He will discuss his research in cognitive psychology and how it determines if students are aware of the value of struggle, if students are good judges of their own learning, and if there is value in looking at student evaluations of teaching.

Kornell is a cognitive psychologist with a focus on how learners can increase the efficiency of their own learning. He conducts research on how learning works, how memories stick, and how people think they learn best. Kornell’s research also explores the benefits of “desirable difficulties” and “spaced practice” for everyday studying that makes remembering what one learns easier to retrieve in the long term. His research also explores how judgments about memory and beliefs about memory are quite disconnected from memories themselves, and how non-human animals also benefit from desirable difficulties. Teaching at Williams College since 2009, Kornell teaches courses in introductory psychology, cognitive psychology, educational psychology, and experimentation and perspectives of psychological issues. He has published papers in various journals, including the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Psychological Science and Educational Psychology Review. Kornell received a B.A. from Reed College, an M.A. from Columbia, a Ph.D. from Columbia University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA.

The Faculty Lecture Series was founded by 1911 by Catherine Mariotti Pratt. The current chair of the series is Keith McPartland, associate professor of philosophy. The next speaker is John Kleiner, who will discuss “The Hydraulic Wig or What Stage Tricks Tell Us about Emotion” on Feb. 16. The remaining speakers are Jacqueline Hidalgo, Luana Maroja, Amy Podmore, and Frederick Strauch.


For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications (413) 597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/map