Learning and emotionsWe are happy when we can communicate in a foreign language. We are proud of ourselves and our learning progress. On the other hand, if we aren't successful we're upset or disappointed. Different feelings are thus associated with learning. New studies have come to interesting results. They show that feelings play a role during learning. Because our emotions influence our success in learning. Learning is always a ‘problem’ for our brain. And it wants to solve this problem. Whether or not it is successful depends on our emotions. If we believe we can solve the problem, we're confident. This emotional stability helps us in learning. Positive thinking promotes our intellectual abilities.
On the other hand, learning under stress does not work as well. Doubt or worrying hinders good performance. We learn especially poorly when we are afraid. In that case, our brain cannot store new content very well. Therefore, it is important to always be motivated when learning. So emotions influence learning. But learning also influences our emotions! The same brain structures that process facts also process emotions. So learning can make you happy, and those who are happy learn better. Of course learning isn't always fun; it can also be tedious. For this reason we should always set small goals. This way we won't overtax our brain. And we guarantee that we can fulfill our expectations. Our success is then a reward that motivates us all over again. So: Learn something – and smile while you do so!