All input to your brain originally comes from your five senses…but then what?
Your brain’s first filter allows you to focus Without this, you would be constantly be bombarded with EVERY piece of information about the outside world! SENSORY OVERLOAD!
Brain Anatomy 1. Reticular activating system (your first filter) 2. Amygdala (emotion processor) 3. Prefrontal cortex (conscious thinking)
Reticular Activating System (RAS) -This filtering system is part of your lower brain and does not involve conscious thought. -You don’t choose what makes it through the filter.
Reticular Activating System (RAS) -Sensory input that is threatening or novelmakes it through your RAS filter
Reticular Activating System (RAS) -input that the RAS does not think is novel will enter the lower brain, but will not make it to complex, conscious thought
The Amygdala – the Emotion Processor • When the amygdala is in a state of fear, stress, or frustrated overload, any new sensory input from the RAS does not go to the Prefrontal Cortex for complex thought and processing • It acts as a second filter of information
What will happen when each input enters Homer’s brain? Will it reach the PFC (PreFrontalClub neuron party)?
PFC (PreFrontalClub Party – where every input wants to go!) Amy G. Dala (the good feeling guardian) RAS (Ralph ArnoldSchwarzenegger) the Bouncer of Boring
Write your prediction on your whiteboard! • H for “Hasta la Vista, Baby” • N for “No Problemo”
“Hasta la Vista, Boring” The journal did not pass the Reticular Activating System!
Write your prediction on your whiteboard! • T for “Terminated” • N for “No Problemo”
“No Problemo, Tigers are Novel” (and maybe threatening to some) The tiger passed the Reticular Activating System!
Write your prediction on your whiteboard! • A for “AHHHH! So scary! I can’t process this!” • B for “BoopBoop Be Doo”
“AHHH! So scary! I can’t process this!” The tiger caused the Amygdala to register fear and wouldn’t allow the information to enter the Prefrontal Club
Write your prediction on your whiteboard! • G for “Get Out” • M for “Mmm…doughnut”
“Mmmm…Doughnut” The novel pink doughnut passed the Reticular Activating System!
Write your prediction on your whiteboard! • S for “Sprinkles cause me stress” • M for “Mmm…doughnut”
“Mmm…Doughnut” Amy G. Dala stayed in her positive mood and allowed the information to enter the Prefrontal Club!
PreFrontal Cortex Party – All kinds of conscious thought and memory encoding
To summarize… • If the sensory input is threatening or novel, it will make it through the Reticular Activating System • If the Amygdala is in a positive emotional state, the input will make it to the Prefrontal Cortex • In the Prefrontal Cortex, the brain performs conscious tasks and makes strong memories
Amy G Dala blocks entry to the thinking brain (PreFrontal Club) in response to Negative Emotions. These are processed in the lower brain.
When students are experiencing NEGATIVE EMOTIONSFearStress from frustrationStressfrom boredom, they can not engage in and remember the lesson.
Stress can be produced quite inadvertently. Learning is easily sidelined.
Even small facial cues determine students’ learning Images of a threatening face or friendly face viewed before memory task.
Results of solving academic problems under stressed and unstressed conditions Reading: Students who first viewed the smiling face, were able to recall a greater number of the originally seen vocabulary words on average 17% more effectively than those who viewed the frowner. Math: Similar results occurred for those solving math problems.
What the brain looks like solving academic problems under stressed and unstressed conditions B: Stressedsubjects show heightened activity in the amygdala and much less cortical activity A: During the unstressedstate, increased activity in prefrontal cortex and memory storage regions.
The effect of stress • A chemical – TMT (trimethyltin) – is released into the brain; • TMT disrupts brain cell development; • STM and work efficiency are impaired; • With extended periods of stress, LTM is impaired; (Kato & McEwen in Willis 2006) • In a hypermetabolic state, information can not pass from sensory awareness into the memory connection and storage regions of the brain, and learning does not occur
Stress on Students Looks like: • fatigue • anger • fear • boredom
General strategies to calm your emotions and counteract stress: • visualize a place where you’ve felt happy; this increases dopamine and brings pleasure to the amygdala; • writedown your distracting thoughts on a piece of paper to deal with them later; • take short syn-naps to give your synapses time to recharge-do something different & active - toss a nerf ball to a classmate while reciting lesson-related vocabulary with each toss.
More General Strategies to Quell Stress • Practice. To master a basketball shot, you shoot it 1,000 times. In the same way, practice multiplication facts or science vocabulary. When you do this, dendrites actually grow between the nerve cells in the network that holds that memory. Each time you review, the memory becomes stronger. • Relax. Practice deep breathing as you enter a situation you know to be stressful.
Even More Strategies Visualize content. If you are studying history, imagine how the people were dressed and the appearance of the buildings and land. For vocabulary, visualize the words and network what you know about it & similar words to it.
Counteract Stress to Increase Neurotransmitter production- Develop Positive Emotions • act kindly towards others; • laugh; • listen to someone read to you; • interact with friends; • recognize your progress; • take pride in what you do. • use your skills to do projects you enjoy; • and…
Of course… Get plenty of sleep - dendrites grow and become stronger while you are sleeping.
Signing off from the PFClub Amy G Dala, guardian of good feeling RAS, Ralph Arnold Schwarzenegger And your buds - Mike, Linda, and Beth