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Cognition. Session One. Cognition The beginning. Cognition is a relatively Modern field of study The first books that looked at looked at the brain ( as opposed to a mind) did not surface until the 1970s Use both sides of your brain - ( Tony Buzan) 1974

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Session One

Cognition the beginning
CognitionThe beginning

Cognition is a relatively Modern field of study

  • The first books that looked at looked at the brain ( as opposed to a mind) did not surface until the 1970s

    • Use both sides of your brain- ( Tony Buzan) 1974

    • Drawing on the right side of your brain-(Betty Edwards) 1979

Cognition the beginning1
CognitionThe beginning

  • IN 1980 Brain Based Education emerged as a whole new field

    • The field was driven by new research in

      • Neurobiology

      • Cognitive Neuroscience

      • New technologies that allowed scientist to map and view the brain like it was never seen before. Especially by allowing us to see it while a person was still alive and without surgery ( MRI, Magnetic resonance imaging/ PET Positron-emission tomography) scans

Cognition the beginning2
CognitionThe beginning

  • Some of this research lead to the following works:

    • Human Learning- Leslie Hart

    • Frames of mind; the theory of multiple intelligences- Howard Gardner

    • Making conections:teaching and the human brain- Caine an Caine

Cognition the beginning3
CognitionThe beginning

  • First ¾


Cognition the beginning4
CognitionThe beginning

  • By the 1990 the field exploded

  • Almost every discipline had an angle on using brain based research, sociology, education, psychiatry, nutrition

Cognition what is brain based research
Cognitionwhat is brain based research?

  • Brain based education is concerned with primarily three concepts (ESP)

    • Student engagement

    • Instructional strategies

    • Learning principles

Cognition what is brain based research1
Cognitionwhat is brain based research?

  • It is learning with the Brain in mind

  • It encourages you to consider the brain in your decision making

Cognition as we go on
Cognitionas we go on

  • As we begin to explore the brain and how it operates, you may learn that strategies and practices that were/ are common in some schools, were/are counter productive to learning

  • Many of the researchers that support brain-based research feel that many of the policies that are used in today’s schools are against brain based research.

  • Brain based researchers feel that the use of such strict rules, the use of reward and punishment and anti-brain-based methods

Cognition as we go on1
Cognitionas we go on

  • The old theory places a responsibility on the student- if learning does not take place, it must be the student’s fault

  • What brain- based research is against

    • Behaviorism- feels that it looks as children as rats

    • Using one strategy for everybody

Three key understandings about the brain and learning
Three Key understandings about the brain and learning

  • Events in one part of the brain, effect learning in other parts

  • Often what students learn is not what is intended by the teacher

  • The brain is highly adaptable and designed to respond to the environment

How the brain learns
How the brain learns


How the brain learns1
How the brain learns

  • The brain processes different types of learning through different pathways

    • Words, pictures are processed through different senses

How the brain learns2
How the brain learns

  • Input is initially processed in the Thalamus

  • It is the “server” or central switching area of the brain

  • Simultaneously, the information is routed to other specific parts of the brain

  • Ex. Language to the temporal lobe

How the brain learns3
How the brain learns

  • The brain process information very quickly and decides on information quickly

  • It decides to :

    • Move it into storage in another portion of the rain,

    • React to it

    • Or decides if it is dangerous and activates the amygdala, our protection system

    • Or the information is discarded

  • All this is done within 5 to 20 seconds

  • New information is filtered and stored, or filtered and dismissed and never gets stored.

How the brain learns4
How the brain learns

  • Information that is stored, is organized and indexed by the hippocampus and then stored in the cortex.

  • The original sorting takes seconds, but storage can take hours or days and even some reports of weeks.

  • Each type of input takes a different path to be stored (emotional, spatial, vocabulary, skill learning)

How the brain learns5
How the brain learns

  • All of the sensory input, gets sorted, prioritized and stored and it takes place at a subconscious level

How the brain learns6
How the brain learns

  • Facts about the brain

    • A healthy brain is pink

    • Soft enough to cut with a butter knife

    • The outer surface is the cerebral cortex, The cerebral cortex makes up about 70 % of the nervous system and is connected by a million miles of nerves cells

How the brain learns7
How the brain learns

  • Facts about the brain

    • A brain contains between 50 billion and 100 billion neurons

    • A healthy brain weighs between 2 to 4 pounds the average is 3 pounds

    • Size may not matter, Albert Einstein’s brain was average size, the French Writer Honare de Blazac’s was 40% larger than average

    • The human brain has the largest amount of any species on earth of uncommitted cortex, this gives us great flexibility and capacity for learning.

How the brain learns8
How the brain learns

  • Cells of the central nervous system

    • We lose brain cells all of the time,

    • This process is called apoptosis ( cell Death)

    • Estimates are that we lose about 18 million a year

    • Between the ages of 20 to 70 years old.

    • Even losing this many, it would take centuries to loose our mind,

    • In certain parts of the brain, we grow cells back ( new research)



How the brain learns9
How the brain learns

  • Cells of the central nervous system Types:

    • Glial Cells- produce myelin, for axons, provide structural support for the brain, transport nutrients regulates immune system. ( Albert Ein had a lot of these)

    • Neurons-passes information to each other across synapses, one neuron may connect with between 1,00 to 10,000 other neurons

    • the more connections, the better.

    • Dendrites- Branches from cell bodies-the receivers of information

    • Axons- has the ability to expand connect to other cells, mostly dendrites, conducts information in the form of electrical stimulation and transports chemical substances

What is learning
What is learning?

  • The physiological definition is very bland

  • It is when an electrical impulse travels down the axon, where it triggers the release of neurotransmitters into the synaptic gap. This happens thousands of times every second.

  • When this reaction is impaired, learning is effected.

    • For examples high levels of the stress hormone cortisol reduce learning and memory

Divisions of the brain
Divisions of the brain

  • Brain stem- connects the brain and the spinal chord, houses the pons, medula, oblongata, these areas regulate the automatic and nonconscious behaviors such as heart rate and breathing

Divisions of the brain1
Divisions of the brain

  • Cerebellum- is our guide through life, controls – balance, posture and motor control

  • Located in the back of the brain just under the occipital lobe,

  • The size of a small fist/ one tenth of the brain

  • Thought to be the most complex structure of the brain


Divisions of the brain cerebellum continued
Divisions of the brainCerebellum continued


  • Think about it, how to you learn to move, throw, jump,

  • This is all controlled in the Cerebellum

  • When learning to do these things, what skills are necessary for learning?

Divisions of the brain cerebellum continued1
Divisions of the brainCerebellum continued

  • When learning to do these things, what skills are necessary for learning?

  • Think about leaning to throw, jump/ Each of these is a sense of doing, seeing where you were wrong and adjusting, Too much muscle, made the throw go to far.

  • This helps create a network of sensory areas.

  • it teaches prediction, sequencing, mental rehearsal.

Divisions of the brain2
Divisions of the brain

  • Diencephalon- is located at the midline of the brain, Includes the thalamus, hypothalamus, pituitary gland and some other smaller midbrain structures

  • Thalamus is the primary place for sorting for all sensory information

  • The hypothalamus performs many vital functions such as , sensing environmental information and adjusting the body, the body’s thermostat- adjust for noise, humidity

  • Also signal hunger thirst, sex drive-

  • The pituitary gland secretes hormones regulating homeostasis and sexual desire

Divisions of the brain3
Divisions of the brain

  • Cerebrum-made up of four primary areas called Lobes

  • Occipital- located midbrain, primary responsibility vision- connects visual to language

  • Frontal-located in the front, responsible for purposeful acts judgment, planning , creativity

  • Parietal-located top back, process higher sensory and language functions

  • Temporal-located around your ears, responsible for hearing, memory, meaning and language

Micro level of learning
Micro level of learning

  • Although I stated earlier that learning takes place in the axon to dendrite connection, a significant amount of learning takes place outs side of that.

  • trillions of bits of information are stored in protein molecules called peptides, they travel through the brain and deposit their learning in different receptors.

Thalamus and hypothalamus
Thalamus and Hypothalamus


Frontal lobe
Frontal Lobe


The four lobes of the cerebrum
The four Lobes of the Cerebrum