It turns out that the fairytale has a lot to tell adults about the most effective way of studying a new topic
Learning something new is satisfying but hard. In fact, if it’s not hard enough, we won’t do a very good job of learning because we get bored. But if it’s too hard we also don’t learn – we get disheartened.
This explains why, on those rare occasions we do get round to learning something new, we opt for something at the fringes of our ability. This sweet spot, researchers report, is called the “Goldilocks zone”, where learning progresses most quickly. This was worked out from research into how newborn babies avoid spending time on things that are either “too simple” or “too complex”. Long before they can understand the story of Goldilocks, babies appear to have mastered the heroine’s art of decision-making.