Tip #621: Brain Facts

I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.” Dr. Seuss

This Tip is drawn from Ben Nesvig’s article: “5 Brain Facts That Influence How People Learn” in a May 28, 2014 Social Learning Blog. My comments are provided in the (parentheses).

His article builds nicely on recent Tips.

I’m just going to give you the highlights. It is definitely worth your time to read the entire (short) article at: http://www.dashe.com/blog/learning/five-brain-facts-learn/

According to Nesvig, there are 5 facts about the brain that we need to know if we want to create powerful learning experiences.

  1. The unconscious mind rules the conscious mind. This explains why it is often difficult to learn something new. “When designing learning,
Read the rest

Tip #619: Feelings, Cognition and Emotions

On May 2, 2016, Posted by , In brain research, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #619: Feelings, Cognition and Emotions

We are not thinking machines that feel; rather, we are feeling machines that think.” Antonio Damasio

Did you know that emotions and feelings are not the same- and that feelings are cognitive? I certainly didn’t.

We tend to use “emotion” and “feeling” interchangeably. This is reinforced by their definitions (“feeling” is defined as “an emotional state or reaction”) and their synonyms (“feeling is a synonym for “emotion” and vice versa!).

So I was intrigued when I read a quote from Dr. Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of California (underlining emphasis added to this and to other quotes in this Tip):

“Feelings are mental experiences of body states, which arise as the brain interprets emotionsRead the rest

Tip #527: Why Emotions Impact Learning

On July 21, 2014, Posted by , In brain research, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #527: Why Emotions Impact Learning

“Your emotions affect every cell in your body. Mind and body, mental and physical, are intertwined.” Thomas Tutko

For years, I have taught about the Triune Brain and its three layers: the reptilian system, the limbic system and the neocortex. I have explained that memory is lodged in the limbic system. I have used a visualization to demonstrate that memories are emotional. But in truth, I have never known exactly what the limbic system is or why memories are emotional.

After attending a four-day workshop with Eric Jensen, titled: “Teaching With the Brain in Mind,” I now have a much better understanding.

There are two major parts of the limbic system (considered the “emotional brain”) that are associated with memory:… Read the rest

Tip #526: The Best Learning States

“Man is the only creature whose emotions are entangled with his memory.” Marjorie Holmes

No, we’re not talking about geographical states. That would be an entirely different political and emotion-laden discussion.

Instead, we are talking about the emotional states of your learners.

We know that emotional states impact learning and behavior. Now brain research explains how this happens. Let’s look at the hormones that affect the brain in such a way as to create these emotional states.

The three most commonly studied hormones that transmit messages to the brain (neurotransmitters) are dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Dopamine is related to experiences of pleasure and the reward-learning process. In other words, when you do something good, you’re rewarded with dopamine and gain … Read the rest