This is Adrienne. I looked at the brain rule about short-term memory. I find it very interesting that many things need to be repeated in the first 30 seconds in order for them to move from our short-term memory to our working memory. Then, the information has to be repeated within the next hour in order to move into our long-term memory, otherwise the information is lost. I thought this was interesting because it just shows how easy it is to forget and how important repition is when it comes to trying to build a long-term memory.
this is michelle. i looked at the brain rule about sleeping. i learned that in the afternoon, it is a good idea to take a nap. the circadian arousal drive keeps us awake while the homoestetic sleep drive puts us asleep. an equal tension between the two drives exists during the afternoon, aka "the nap zone." in a NASA study, pilots' performances improved greatly after they took naps. when we are asleep, our brain is doing critical work. sleep is key to cognition and good memory, so we should all try to get a lot of sleep.
This is Thera. I learned about the stress brain rule. Mild to moderate stress levels can actually increase cognitive performance, but severe and prolonged stress can wreak havoc on the brain and cause it to shrink over time. Stress can actually enhance emotional memory. Chronic stress can lead to all kinds of horrible things, like depression, a weakened immune system, and distorted sleep patterns.
This is Julie G, from period 3. I watched the stress brain rule video, and I learned that prolonged stress levels are actually harmful rather then beneficial to productivity. High stress levels, caused by bad work conditions or bad social conditions, can give way to a "deregulation" of a person, including depression and a higher susceptibility to illness. Milder stress levels, however, promote productivity up until a point.
After observing the "attention" section of the Brain Rules website I was interested by several things. Of course, it makes sense that humans do not pay much attention to boring things, but what is much stranger is the fact that we really don't pay attention to anything that isn't emotionally stimulating for more than 10 minutes. This brings up some interesting questions. For example, teachers often discourage us from going off on tangents. Perhaps, however, a funny, or emotionally stimulating anecdote every 10 minutes or so, would actually help students learn. It is also very interesting how the brain works in a very sequential fashion, making true multi-tasking impossible. Outlawing non-hands-free cell phones in cars is only half the battle, it seems. Unfortunately, many lives could probably saved by simply outlawing cell phone use in cars.
I watched the section discussing the effects of stress on the brain, and was surprised to find that the brain has receptors for a chemical, cordasal, that stress creates. Apparently while the myth that tension hightens brain function is partially true, it only does so for small, intermittent bursts, for sustained stress apparently damages memory and learning ability just as much as many addictive drugs do. Given that our society enforces and even celebrates a culture of high-speed, work, and stress, I find this alarming.
This is Erica. I looked at the brain rule about the evolution of the brain. I found the theory of mind to be very interesting. Just adding two additional words to a sentence can wither change the meaning or give us some information about the person being described in the sentence. This is also interesting because it is the two halves of the brain working together, one side reads what it says and the other side interprets what it means.
I watched Brain Rule #5: Short Term Memory- repeat to remember. I thought this brain rule was really relevant to us as students. Apparently, we forget 90% of what we learn in class within 30 days. Most of this forgetting occurs within a few hours of the class. This video outlines the path that information takes from when we acquire it, to when (if?) we forget it. Once we receive the information, we need to "encode" it into a language of electrical signals that our brain can understand. There are many types of encoding: semantic (such as the definitions of words), phenemic(sp?) (comparing the sounds of words), and structural (visual inspection of shapes). Next, we must process the information. There are two types of processing: automatic (the effortless kind, such as a first kiss) and effortful (like trying to remember your locker combination). Effortful processing requires repetition. I learned that there are three stages of memory: immediate memory, working memory, and long-term memory. In order to advance to the next stage of memory, we need repetition. Without repetition, our brains can only handle a seven digit phone number for thirty seconds. If it is repeated within that time, the information moves onto an intermediate stage called "working memory" for about 60 to 90 minutes. In the absence of further repetition, working memory will also fade and be lost. Also, the space in between repetitions is an important factor. For example, when a phone number or address is remembered over time. This video suggests to us how to process and retain what we learn more efficiently through repetition.
-Ryan Period 3, I chose rule number 11 because I found most of Medina's brain rules to be flawed, but more so the entire philosophy all his conclusions were based on . First I will address the brain rule I watched the lesson on, followed by my issues with the so called "brain rules." It seems that the only conclusive information about the difference in brains of men and women have to do with structure. The structural differences do not however have anything to do with a complex shape change but rather simply the size of certain areas. The lesson begins by explaining proven genetics in terms of the "y" and "x" chromosome. This leads to the assertion that female and males brains have a large difference because of males solely having x chromosome activated brain genes from mom while a female has the ability to choose from both. This is not the issue, my problem is that one can not conclude or assert that this leads to an actual difference in the functioning or brain processing between males and females. For all we know this supposedly large number of "x" chromosome brain genes can be wired into every human being and are nearly essential copies of one another regulating and controlling instinctive manners of human beings. I am willing to speculate such because the video does not provide conclusive information to say otherwise. Using this as an explanation on gender brain rules i find to be weak. The next section has only one good thing to say that i can agree with being that " careful not to jump to conclusions though because we really don't know that size really means anything substantial." I will bridge this to go into my final words on these supposed "brain rules." That quote and all Medina's , for lack of a better way to say it, bad mouthing, of other scientists conclusions leads one to wonder about the conclusiveness of his speculations. How can any of these brain rules actually be proven. How do we know that none of the rules are directly helping or aiding one to perform any task any better but the person is rather just happier because his or her prior situation was worse or less pleasurable even. That would lead to skewed results because you would receive different date but for an entirely different reason. I do not want to make it seem as though i think Medina is making all completely stark assumptions, for there exists some logic behind using the nature of human beings' evolution and observation of such to conclude manners by which the brain functions. There still remains however in Medina's proposals a lacking of complete understanding as do all other prior conclusion about the brain. BTW other scientist have "proven" as well as Medina does any of his information that the brain is capable of multi-tasking. Simple tasks such as walking and talking are combined into the same message to the body. This was done by measuring the electric activity of the same person just walking and walking while speaking. The measures were found to be equal. Other more complex tasks had a much different result and concluded that complex tasks are not sent in one message but rather several very quickly. Scientist are at stand still because the speed at which the messages are relayed is so quick that scientist disagree as to whether or not the brain is or is not essentially multi-tasking-Ryan
(per 3, alex k)I focused on rule #4: we don't pay attention to boring things. I was first surprised the the "10 Minute Rule," which indicates that an activity must grab our attention every ten minutes and engage us enough to sustain that interest for another 10 minutes. The implications of this rule are far-reaching, especially in the context of education and schooling. Given that we generally have classes at least forty minutes long, it seems impossible that I could be truly paying attention in the vast majority of my classes. Another notable segment of this rule was on multitasking (or the myth of multitasking). Medina posits that multitasking is actually impossible for the human brain, and that we actually just switch our attention from task to task rather than focus on more than one at a time. Further, he references studies that show "multitasking" leads to about 4X more errors in a given task, and can take 50% longer to complete that task. These discoveries are very relevant to the lives of most teenagers (and many adults) today, who spent a large portion of the day "multitasking." The largely underestimated effects of multitasking are best illustrated by their effects on drivers. Studies show that driving while using a cell phone leads to more accidents and unsafe driving than drunk driving, indicating the inability of humans to actually accomplish two tasks at once.
This is Grace. I examined the importance of exercise for brain power. It makes sense that the more exercise one haves, the more active a person's brain becomes. Evolutionarily speaking, humans evolved to survive rapidly changing environments and walked places in order to survive. However, now, humans just soot at their computer or cubicle without much exercise. Exercise is important for the brain because it increases oxygen flow into the brain, which allows more neurons to be produced. Also, by exercising, a person is pumping more oxygen into his/her tissues which allows his/her brain to have better access to oxygen. The website shows multiple studies of people who exercise outperforming those who don't. More specifically, aerobic excursuses helps makes the brain more active than does toning exercises. Another interesting thing I learned is that exercise helps prevent diseases forming later on on life. The website has a very interesting chart showing that exercise has helped decrease cases of cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's, Vascular type dementia, and Generalized dementia. This shows just how important exercise can be for the brain, that it not only helps one's reaction time and focus through the increase production in neurons, but it also helps people in the long run too.
(Alexandra W, Period 5): I read/watched the section on the evolution of the brain. I was interested in the sequential connection between learning to walk upright and using the energy this motion conserved to boost the brain. I understand that a larger brain is more powerful and therefore able to solve more complex problems. However, the chart was based on sheer volume of the brain and I've been led to believe that the infoldings (or whatever their accurate name is) are just as crucial to mental functions. Further information about that aspect would have been very interesting. Also, is the connection between brain size and complexity of thought reciprocal? If the brain is made up of neurological pathways and memories/experiences etc. form new pathways, does this alter the size of your brain at all? I'm sure on a day to day basis there's no difference but I wonder if one can push one's brain towards more complex thinking in evolutionary terms, or if the brain mass is a prerequisite.Also, the piece about how human evolution has not been a straight line did not connect to brain evolution, an omission of detail whose inclusion would have been preferable. Are homo sapiens the only creatures capable of language? I'm assuming our ancestors' heightened ability to think complexly enabled them to strategize better ways to adapt to their changing environments rather than acting purely on instinct. The overview also fails to explain how a weather change could cause the development of the cerebellum; was this "human brain" originally an outgrowth from the mammalian brain?What I found most interesting about the piece was its discussion of our evolved ability to infer information that isn't immediately obvious, a skill that I'm assuming is one of the significant differences between "man and beast." Additionally, before this video I'd never really taken the time to consider how momentous our use of symbols is, that multiple people can interpret the same deeper meaning from a basic drawing, a system that forms the basis of our modern culture. This was absolutely fascinating.
The brain rules that I learned about were sleep (#7) and short-term memory (#5).I thought that the information on sleep was very interesting. Although I have often heard that it is important to get a good night's rest in order to perform well during the day, I never realized why I am often sleepy in the afternoon, around 3 or 4 p.m. The video informed me that there are two systems in your body that have to do with alertness; one system works to keep to asleep, and the other onne tries to keep you awake, and the two systems are constantly battling each other. Around 3 p.m., however, both systems meet at about the same energy level, causing you to feel sleepy and drained. Thus, this video suggested that it is beneficial to take a nap in the afternoon to increase brain function and alertness.The short-term memory video taught me that how well we remember something all depends on what happens during the first few seconds of learning it. Your brain encodes the information that you are learning in the form of signals relating to such aspects of the information as the shape of the words and the logic of the words. The space between repetitions of information is extremely important, and often it is the spacing of the repetitions, rather than the quantity of repetitions, that matters, a fact which I found to be very interesting. Overall, I thought that the brain rules made a lot of sense when I applied them to my personal experiences, and I found the neurological explanations for many of the experiences of my everyday life to be fascinating.
This is Yesenia. I focused on rule #12: we are powerful and natural explorers. Humans have this desire to explore, regardless of how urban and perhaps superficial our surroundings may be. The biggest example of humans being natural explorers is seen in babies, who are constantly testing and observing objects to discover what the objects' functions are. Their exploring process is actually a lot more analytical than we might think, seeing as all of their testing come with hypotheses, experiments, and conclusions. An example of how exploring is a subtle, yet big, part of urban adolescent/adult culture is Google. We use Google to look up really random things, and many people actually spend a substantial amount of time just looking up completely random stuff. Even when we think we lost our keys, we hypothesize about their whereabouts, we experiment by checking in said place, and we come to a conclusion. We are definitely natural explorers, but our exploring is very powerful and very profound.
This is Betty. I focused on the brain rule about long-term memory (#6). I learned that learning is a process where the rain pieces together different facts that you learn, and it is therefore a cumulative process. I also watched a short video clip that explained the way people remember things better if they learn more details about it. They gave an example of learning remembering what pie is. If you associate that word with your aunt's Thanksgiving dinner, you'll remember more about it than if you just thought of the word without putting it in context. It is a lot easier for people to memorize words that they associate with meanings and feelings. In general, people remember more words when they know what the they mean, and not just how to spell them. There were several examples of memorizing words, but it is a major example of things people typically memorize.
I read the Brain Rule about exercise. It was amazing to learn how the brain can really benefit from the body exercising each week. I thought it was really cool how exercise can increase and deepen the body's blood vessels. It was also amazing to learn that exercise can reduce the risk of Alzheimers and other forms of dementia by 50%. I've always known exercise was good for the body, but now I know how great it is for the brain too.
I watched the "Wiring of the Brain" segment. It was interesting to note that every image that we see is essentially compartmentalized into very specific aspects in the visual cortex. Even vowels and consonants are separated. This is interesting because he also mentions that vision trumps all other senses, perhaps because it is so complex and vital in understanding the world around us. It makes sense that no two brains are the same, but it is surprising that people and memories correlate to specific neurons--I imagine they must have multiple uses, or many people who learn a lot but don't apply this knowledge might have a lot of unused brain cells. I would like to learn more about how forgetting and losing information works--if it is a rewiring of these neurons or a different process altogether.This segment is particularly relevant because it reflects a lot on the teaching styles in schools as well as student learning styles. Because I am an extremely visual and sensory learner, understanding a bit more about how my brain and memory work is relevant in helping my acquire information. He notes that regions of the brain develop at different times--I guess this must apply to individual parts of the visual cortex--people with synesthesia (like me!) must use the V4 Area more than others.
This is Maya. I learned about the stress brain rule. Mild levels of stress have actually been found to be beneficial to the brain's efficiency and productivity, and improves the function of the memory. However, high stress levels and chronic exposure to stress (from school, work, etc.) have adverse effects on the mind and body. This can can cause depression and general deregulation of the body (increasing inability to sleep, eat properly, and other basic functions).I think that it is interesting that mild stress levels are beneficial - however, not very surprising considering that most people have at least a couple sources of stress in their lives. However, I think that people have to be careful not to overwork themselves in order to keep themselves healthy - this is especially relevant in schools and in work.
This is Connor Townsend.I looked at the gender brain rule. One thing I thought was interesting was how men had only their mother's genes working in their brains. I guess that's why me and my mom both like reading so much. It was also interesting to see the differences in size of the certain areas of male and female brains, even if we aren't really sure if that means anything.
The Brain Rule that I focused on was the one pertaining to stress. Stress is a major factor of all of our lives, especially as juniors at CPS. It was a little alarming to discover the detrimental effects that stress has on the brain. Severe stress can even cause brain damage. It also makes a lot of sense that the body remembers stressful events, since those definitely stand out to me. It also concerned me that chronic stress deregulates sleep, weakens the immune system and leads to depression. I know that during stressful times in the school year there is a surplus of sick people, with stress being the reason. Because stress is such a big part of our lives right now, reading about the effects on the brain was scary but also helpful. By regulating stress brain health can increase. This activity also focused on stress in the home. A stressful home environment can harm children's brains. And maternal depression increases 28% to 65% in the first year of parenthood. This is very important to know as we continue on to build our lives. Keeping our home environments stress-free keeps the brain healthy. I think that each student should read about the major effect stress has on our his or her brain. I know that with this new knowledge I am going to stive to make my daily schedule less stressful so my brain does not damage
This is Alex S. from period three. I looked at the brain rule about stress and found some pretty interesting things. The brain is designed to handle only about 30 seconds of stress so while mild, short term stress can actually increase the performance of the brain, chronic and severe stress is extremely harmful. I think this is something that we should be more aware of given that most of us tend to get pretty stressed out at CPS. Of course school work is important, but by being stressed for long periods of time it appears that we are actually doing more harm than good to our brains. A couple more things that I found interesting are that the brain is extremely responsive to stress and that emotional stress at home has a pretty big impact on one's stress level at school and vice versa.
I investigated Brain Rule 10 on how "vision trumps all other senses". Humans respond to pictures much better than to text. (Actually letters are little pictures that humans must recognize to read.) Pictures can always communicate a series of different ideas that no other medium can. For instance a picture of three ants communicates team work whereas cropping two of the ants out would communicate a completely different message of solitary. We can remember 65% of picture given information compared to 10% of text given information three days later. I thought it was very interesting how expert wine tasters described the flavor of white wine with red food coloring as tasting like red wine. Vision really makes a difference on our perceptions of things around us.-Christina
I found the fact that a brain needs something very emotional or exciting after ten minutes in order to keep you attention is greatly relevant for me personally. In fact, coincidentally, just about 2 hours ago I was very close to falling asleep while watching a soccer game until a goal was scored, then I did not feel sleepy at all right after the goal. It also never really occurred to me that it is literally impossible for a brain to multitask; I found that interesting.- Ian R.
I looked at the brain rule on the impact of stress. The brain evolved to respond best to mild (that is, brief) stress, originally for surviving immediate threats from predators. Cognitive performance peaks during brief periods of stress, such as during a test, but over long sustained periods of stress the brain's ability to process information severely degrades. Extended periods of stress can kill brain cells, disrupt sleep patterns (leading to other problems), damages the immune system. It doesn't even have to be relevant stress; excessive stress at home can cripple schoolwork, and vice versa.
I was most surprised to find out that there are sex-based differences between brains. From our genetics unit, we learned that because of chromosomal differences males are often at higher risk for particular genetic disorders, but I did not know that males and females experience varying /degrees/ of particular psychiatric disorders and mental illnesses.While a lot of the explanation of the chromosomal differences between males and females was old news, the explanation of our anatomical differences was surprising. Women have a larger frontal cortex while men have a larger parietal cortex and amygdala, which control somatosensory and emotional responses. Men also synthesize serotonin faster than females. Medina cautions, however, that anatomical differences have not demonstrated any conclusive behavioral differences.
I looked at the differences in brain functions between males and females. I thought the chromosomal differences were the most interesting, men have only 1/3 the genes in the y-chromosome and how all men genes in their brain are from their mothers. I thought that all the hypotheses about whether females are more emotional even though guys have a large amygdale, was interesting and though it may have been supported by fact, I think a lot translates from commonly accepted stereotypes. I wish this rule could have been proven, that in different genders as different parts of the brain are accentuated, this leads to different traits.
i took a look at how the brain functions based on quantities of sleep. i thought it was especially interesting to learn about the two "armies" battling within us to stay up vs. go to sleep. by viewing one of the diagrams i could see how over the course of the day our bodies begin to desire sleep more and more. i was also excited to learn that taking naps at mid day for approximately 30 min can significantly increase how awake you are and how well you can think for the rest of the day. maybe this is something teenagers should think about doing more often (especially cps juniors), given the sleep patterns many seem to have developed for varies reasons
I looked at the 11th rule--how brains differ between genders. I thought it was interesting how stress is handled differently between females and males--females tend to look at the details while males tend to look at the over-arching theme. While this was something that most people generally took for granted as male/female stereotypes, it was interesting to see that they actually held ground in what actually goes on in the brain. Also, I'm curious to see how size actually matters in the brain--for example, how men have a larger amygdala, but its generally understood that women are more emotional than men. Maybe the effect of testosterone works against the size of the amygdala, or maybe size doesn't even matter at all.
I looked at the 7th brain rule on sleep. I learned that we don't actually know how much we need to sleep each night because it varies so much though when you sleep you are most likely going over everything you have learned that day so it sticks; therefore it would seem logical that more sleep would make information more likely to stick in your brain. I also learned that naps are normal because your brain is constantly battling between a force trying to get you to go to sleep and one trying to keep you awake. Your body wants a nap the most at about 3pm when these forces are at the same level. It made me realize that sleeping a little longer each night could prove more beneficial than an extra hour of studying