As we get older, the brain gets more set in its ways. The neural pathways and patterns get deeper, easier to run and harder to change. "In a rut," the saying goes, although when the saying was popularized we had no idea it was so apt all the way down to the neural level.
Why do old brains get into ruts? It isn't because old neurons work differently then young neurons. It's only because we get out of practice of re-organizing the neural net. We forget to learn new things and to shake up the old neural net by finding ways in which it doesn't work well and re-wiring to fix them. Since it takes time and energy to re-org, we'd rather not re-org, if we don't have to re-org.
Ruts and re-orgs are mirrored in the social and science levels as well, since society and science is, in a way, just a product and an extension of our beliefs and neural wiring interacting with everyone else's.
Here's a neat TED talk that may be able to demonstrate an opportunity to re-org at both brain and social levels. Maybe it will shake up your neural net a little bit and give you the opportunity to re-organize your beliefs and/or thinking the way you do a spring cleaning in the garage. It also proposes a shake-up and clean-out of current scientific thinking around how humans evolved to be the way we are.
In what ways are humans different than our closest genetic relative, the ape? Do those differences offer us clues as to the history or environment that shaped those changes? Elaine Morgan says yes.
Enjoy her TED talk, "Elaine Morgan says we evolved from aquatic apes."
Elaine is hereby nominated for being my new hero. :)
If you are interested in the brain, brain development, neuroscience, neurobiology, brain anatomy, psychology and the brain and/or brain health, you are sure to find something interesting in this collection of videos brought together by AssociatesDegree.com. I don't know the people or focus behind this site, but I appreciate this round-up of videos that have done.
Following the links to these videos will also link you up with other learning resource sites: various lecture and class archive sites from different universities, libraries and more. Explore!
Update 01-July-2014 I hear from a lot of people that they have difficulty finding things on Facebook that are supposed to be there... posts from friends and family don't seem to be their feeds, and clicking around to find the post they want often yields poor results.
This is the best analysis and explanation of the transformation in learning needs that I have seen yet. An excellent white paper. If you are looking to understand not only why and how things are changing, but also the opportunities for better learning, read this paper and then read it again. The opportunities this paper brings into view are both from the learner and the provider roles.
- the three stages of learning agility;
- leadership behaviors at each stage;
- the five moments of need for learning;
- current trends, and risks & threats.
An outstanding resource. Get it, print it, read it, know it. The map for learning practices in the next ten years for professionals, for business leaders and for educational providers is right here.
I've known about YouTube since its very early days. As a software guy and Internet developer, when I see something like YouTube launch, my hopes for worldwide sharing, free knowledge and new kinds of friendships and communication soar. I had visions of watching videos on my laptop instead of wasting my time with network TV and spot breaks that were approaching 50% of air time. I was anticipating great things from this new, free video sharing resource called YouTube.
Sweet! Deric Bownds, Emeritus Professor of Molecular Biology and Zoology & Director, Program in the Biology of Mind at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has put his book, BIOLOGY OF MIND online in its entirety.
His blog also offers great updates on studies, experiments and theories of brain science, vision and cognition.
Published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 31, 2010
A worthwhile read citing both studies and anecdotal evidence from college professors about the lowered comprehension, test performance and reasoning capabilities of students who multi-task while in class.
The downside to the many easy, instant and cool blogging platforms on the Internet is that it is really easy for Internet-active folks to suddenly discover they have started a few too many blogs, joined a few too many social networks, and have created too many points of presence to keep up well.
I have a one-page chart that anyone can make that has helped me manage two things: keeping focus and awareness on my important blogs, and easily channeling blog post ideas to the right blog.
How fun! The language constructed especially for the movie "Avatar" has fun and cool support on the web.
If you've ever wanted to create your own language, you might want to see how Paul Frommer, a professor at USC with a doctorate in linguistics, built Na'vi. Check out these sites:
An active forum plus a cool downloadable PDF of "The Na'vi Pocket Guide."