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Brain Research and Learning Theories
"New imaging studies are revealing—for the first time—patterns of
brain development that extend into the teenage years. [These patterns] may
parallel a pruning process that occurs early in life that appears to follow the
principle of "use-it-or-lose-it:" neural connections, or synapses, that get
exercised are retained, while those that don't are lost. While it's known that
both genes and environment play major roles in shaping early brain development,
science still has much to learn about the relative influence of experience
versus genes on the later maturation of the brain..." -- NIH
Publication No. 01-4929
Brain: A work in progress
Brain Research for Teachers & Other Curious Souls (2013 update) by Wenda Sheard
- After a background in critiquing research, learn about dozens of recent
research studies of the brain, and what they show. Updated for all the great
new research through 2013, don't miss this informative collection of
brain chemistry clue found in BBC News
- US researchers have pinned down new differences in the brain chemistry of
people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They found ADHD
patients lack key proteins which allow them to experience a sense of reward
brains are hard-wired for math: Experiment indicates that infants notice
seeming errors in subtraction by Sara Goudarzi, LiveScience
- Through monitoring the brains of infants, researchers confirmed that
infants as early as 6 months in age can detect mathematical errors.
During the tests, the babies wore a special head net containing 128 sensors
that monitored their brain activity. Analysis illustrated that babies have
similar brain activity to that of adults when served with correct and
incorrect mathematical solutions...
May Still Be Evolving, Studies Hint by Nicholas Wade,
New York Times
- Two genes involved in determining the size of the human brain have
undergone substantial evolution in the last 60,000 years, researchers say,
leading to the surprising suggestion that the brain is still undergoing
Network Related To Intelligence Identified Science Daily
- Researchers report that their new Parieto-Frontal Integration Theory
(P-FIT) identifies a brain network related to intelligence, one that
primarily involves areas in the frontal and the parietal lobes...
System Behind General Intelligence Discovered Science Daily
- Neuroscientists have mapped the brain structures that affect general
intelligence. Several brain regions, and the connections between them,
were what was most important to general intelligence...
Left And Right Sides Work Together Better In Mathematically Gifted Youth
- A recent study of adolescents with above-average math abilities found the
right and left halves of their brains are apparently better able to interact
and share information than the brains of average students... Full research
Interhemispheric Interaction During Global-Local Processing in
Mathematically Gifted Adolescents, Average Ability Youth, and College
Students by Harman Singh and Michael W. O’Boyle (requires
on Fire: The Multimodality of Gifted Thinkers by Brock Eide and Fernette
- Functional brain magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brings exciting new
insights into our understanding of how gifted thinkers think. The first
thing you notice when you look at the fMRIs of gifted groups is that it
looks like a 'brain on fire.' Gifted brains are essentially
"hyper-sensitive," and can be rendered even more so through training...
Scientists dissect mystery of genius by Sanjay Gupta, CNN
- ...found a strong correlation between intelligence and the size and shape
of certain brain structures -- including parts of the superior parietal lobe
(involved in sensory perception) and parts of the prefrontal cortex
(associated with complex thinking, personality, planning, coordination).
Intelligence research is full of surprises. For example, the brains of
smarter people, as measured by IQ, tend to be less active but more
Cult Science by Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman, from
- In his 1974 Caltech commencement address, Feynman gave us the test of
"cargo cult science." It would be wise to apply his test to all things
masquerading as "research"... "The first principle is that you must not
fool yourself--and you are the easiest person to fool.
Mellon Scientists Discover First Evidence of Brain Rewiring in Children
- Reported in the journal Neuron, brain imaging of children between the ages
of 8 and 10 showed that the quality of white matter -- the brain tissue that
carries signals between areas of grey matter, where information is processed
-- improved substantially after the children received 100 hours of remedial
training... What are the implications for teaching gifted students?
Rose Brain Series on PBS
- Each 60 minute program in this ongoing series explores a different aspect
of the brain, from development fetus to adult, to the aging brain, the
anxious brain, and more. At least 13 episodes by December 2010...
Matures Faster in Youth with Highest IQ in National Institutes of Health
- Youth with superior IQ are distinguished by how fast the thinking part of
their brains thickens and thins as they grow up, researchers at the National
Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have
discovered. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans showed that their brain’s
outer mantle, or cortex, thickens more rapidly during childhood, reaching
its peak later than in their peers — perhaps reflecting a longer
developmental window for high-level thinking circuitry...
It Wrong: Surprising Tips on How to Learn by Henry L. Roediger and
Bridgid Finn in Scientific
- New research makes the case for hard tests, and suggests an unusual
technique that anyone can use to learn. Learning becomes better if
conditions are arranged so that students make errors. Trying and
failing to retrieve the answer is actually helpful to learning. It’s an idea
that has obvious applications for education...
the Brain Filters out Distracting Thoughts to Focus on a Single Bit of
Information in ScienceDaily
- The human brain is bombarded with all kinds of information... But how do
you "tune in" to just one thought or idea and ignore all the rest of what is
going on around you, until it comes time to think of something else?
the Gifted Brain Learns by David Sousa
- Dispelling the myths about the nature of giftedness with credible
research, Sousa provides a greater understanding of the idiosyncrasies of
gifted children, and the implications for teaching and parenting them...
video games are good for the brain by Emily Anthes in
The Boston Globe
- Concerns about violent programs persist, but researchers are discovering
that playing can boost cognitive function and foster positive behavior. The
games aren’t just hard - they’re adaptively hard. They tend to challenge
people right at the edge of their abilities. Most games involve a huge
number of mental tasks, and playing can boost any one of them...
intelligence determined by volume and location of gray matter tissue in brain
Today @ UCI
- ...UC Irvine College of Medicine researchers have found in the most
comprehensive structural brain-scan study of intelligence to date.
The study also discovered that because these regions related to intelligence
are located throughout the brain, a single “intelligence center,” such as the
frontal lobe, is unlikely.
People Really Have No Clue, Studies Find: They're blind to own failings,
others' skills by Erica Goode, New York Times
- According to research, most incompetent people do not know that they are
incompetent. On the contrary. People who do things badly, Dunning has
found in studies conducted with a graduate student, Justin Kruger, are
usually supremely confident of their abilities -- more confident, in fact,
than people who do things well... Original research paper:
Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead
to Inflated Self-Assessments by Justin Kruger and David Dunning, Cornell
fluid intelligence is possible after all by Robert J. Sternberg
- Fluid intelligence is trainable to a significant and meaningful degree;
the effect occurs across the
spectrum of abilities, although it is larger toward the lower end of the
in men and women is a gray and white matter Today@UCI
- While there are essentially no disparities in general intelligence between
the sexes, a UC Irvine study has found significant differences in brain areas
where males and females manifest their intelligence.
Origins and Ends of Giftedness by Ellen Winner
- Five issues about giftedness are discussed with reference to gifted
children (including child prodigies) and autistic/retarded savants. First,
the origins and causes of giftedness are explored. The view that giftedness
is entirely a product of training is critiqued, and it is argued that there
is indirect evidence for atypical brain organization and innate talent in
gifted children: many gifted children and savants have enhanced
right-hemisphere development, concomitant language-related difficulties, and
auto-immune disorders. Intense intrinsic motivation, particular social and
emotional difficulties, evidence for the often uneven cognitive profiles of
such children, and the tenuous relationship between childhood giftedness and
"big-C," or "domain" creativity in adulthood is discussed... (requires
suggest IQ scores reflect brain structure in Nature.com (no longer
available free, but for a small charge)
- When the researchers split the children into three groups according to
their initial IQ scores, they noticed a characteristic pattern of changes in
the brains of the group with the highest scores. The thickness of the cortex
— the outer layer of the brain that controls high-level functions such as
memory — started off thinner than that of the other groups, but rapidly
gained depth until it was thicker than normal during the early teens...
Brain: A work in progress by National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH)
- A brief overview of research into brain development during adolescence.
...NIMH's Dr. Judith Rapoport and colleagues were surprised to discover a
second wave of overproduction of gray matter, the thinking part of the
brain—neurons and their branch-like extensions—just prior to puberty...
Imaging Study Shows Brain Maturing and view the time-lapse 3-D movie that
compresses 15 years of human brain maturation, ages 5 to 20, and
Work in Progress: The Teen Brain in Harvard Magazine
Top Brain Book Collection for Educators and Learners by Robert Sylwester
- The powerful National Association for the Accreditation of Teacher
Education (NCATE) has now issued a report that encourages pre-service and
graduate teacher education pro grams to incorporate cognitive neuroscience
discoveries about child and adolescent development into their curricula.
That incorporation of Educational Neuroscience discoveries into educational
policy and practice will shape 21st century teacher education...
Does a Smart Brain Look Like?: Inner Views Show How We Think by Richard
J. Haier, November 2008
|Brain structure and metabolic efficiency may underlie individual
differences in intelligence, and imaging research is pinpointing which
regions are key players.|
|Smart brains work in many different ways. Women and men who have the
same IQ show different underlying brain architectures.|
|The latest research suggests that an individual’s pattern of gray
and white matter might underlie his or her specific cognitive strengths
April 08, 2014