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Sara Newton. Knowing Your Brain. It Just Makes Sense.\_and\_Engineering/Life\_Sciences/Biology/Anatomy/Brain\_Anatomy/Brain\_Anatomy. Learning – What is It?. Define It; Measure It; What do you learn best?; How do you learn?.

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knowing your brain
Sara Newton

Knowing Your Brain





learning what is it
Learning – What is It?
  • Define It; Measure It; What do you learn best?; How do you learn?
thinking about thinking blakey and spence 1990
Thinking About Thinking (Blakey and Spence, 1990)
  • Metacognition is knowing what we know and knowing what we don’t know.
  • A thinker’s job is management of thinking.
  • Strategies include:
    • connecting new information to former knowledge
    • selecting thinking strategies deliberately
    • planning, monitoring, and evaluating thinking processes
it imparts ownership howard 1994 pp 236 239
It Imparts Ownership (Howard, 1994, pp. 236-239)
  • Metacognition improves learning
  • Knowing which of your Multiple Intelligences are the strongest will help you formulate strategies for improved learning.

it makes sense visser 1996
It Makes Sense (Visser, 1996)
  • Use your stronger intelligences first to build solid foundation.
  • Then approach from other perspectives to fortify.

it is content specific guild 1998
It is Content Specific (Guild, 1998)
  • To learn how your brain works will make learning the anatomy and physiology of the brain more meaningful.

what are my strengths
What Are My Strengths?
  • Perceived by Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligences are seven different ways to demonstrate intellectual ability. (An eighth intelligence - the naturalist - has been added.) The following descriptions are from
visual spatial intelligence
Visual/Spatial Intelligence
  • The ability to perceive the visual. These learners tend to think in pictures and need to create vivid mental images to retain information. They enjoy looking at maps, charts, pictures, videos, and movies.
  • Their skills include:
  • puzzle building, reading, writing, understanding charts and graphs, a good sense of direction, sketching, painting, creating visual metaphors and analogies (perhaps through the visual arts), manipulating images, constructing, fixing, designing practical objects, interpreting visual images.
  • Possible career interests:
  • navigators, sculptors, visual artists, inventors, architects, interior designers, mechanics, engineers
verbal linguistic intelligence
Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence
  • The ability to use words and language. These learners have highly developed auditory skills and are generally elegant speakers. They think in words rather than pictures.
  • Their skills include:
  • listening, speaking, writing, story telling, explaining, teaching, using humor, understanding the syntax and meaning of words, remembering information, convincing someone of their point of view, analyzing language usage.
  • Possible career interests:
  • Poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, translator
logical mathematical intelligence
Logical/Mathematical Intelligence
  • The ability to use reason, logic and numbers. These learners think conceptually in logical and numerical patterns making connections between pieces of information. Always curious about the world around them, these learner ask lots of questions and like to do experiments.
  • Their skills include:
  • problem solving, classifying and categorizing information, working with abstract concepts to figure out the relationship of each to the other, handling long chains of reason to make local progressions, doing controlled experiments, questioning and wondering about natural events, performing complex mathematical calculations, working with geometric shapes
  • Possible career paths:
  • Scientists, engineers, computer programmers, researchers, accountants, mathematicians
bodily kinesthetic intelligence
Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence
  • The ability to control body movements and handle objects skillfully. These learners express themselves through movement. They have a good sense of balance and eye-hand co-ordination. (e.g. ball play, balancing beams). Through interacting with the space around them, they are able to remember and process information.
  • Their skills include:
  • dancing, physical co-ordination, sports, hands on experimentation, using body language, crafts, acting, miming, using their hands to create or build, expressing emotions through the body
  • Possible career paths:
  • Athletes, physical education teachers, dancers, actors, firefighters, artisans
musical rhythmic intelligence
Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence
  • The ability to produce and appreciate music. These musically inclined learners think in sounds, rhythms and patterns. They immediately respond to music either appreciating or criticizing what they hear. Many of these learners are extremely sensitive to environmental sounds (e.g. crickets, bells, dripping taps).
  • Their skills include:
  • singing, whistling, playing musical instruments, recognizing tonal patterns, composing music, remembering melodies, understanding the structure and rhythm of music
  • Possible career paths:
  • musician, disc jockey, singer, composer
naturalist intelligence
Naturalist Intelligence
  • The ability to observe and understand patterns in the natural environment. A naturalist shows expertise in recognizing and classifying plants and animals.
  • Their skills include:
  • sorting, classifying, collecting and categorizing, shrewdly distinguishing between variations
  • Possible career paths:
  • molecular biologist, medicine and herbal remedies specialist, analyist, ecologist, urban planner
interpersonal intelligence
Interpersonal Intelligence
  • The ability to relate and understand others. These learners try to see things from other people's point of view in order to understand how they think and feel. They often have an uncanny ability to sense feelings, intentions and motivations. They are great organizers. Generally they try to maintain peace in group settings and encourage co-operation.They use both verbal (e.g. speaking) and non-verbal language (e.g. eye contact, body language) to open communication channels with others.
  • Their skills include:
  • seeing things from other perspectives, listening, using empathy, understanding other people's moods and feelings, counseling, co-operating with groups, noticing people's moods, motivations and intentions, communicating both verbally and non-verbally, building trust, peaceful conflict resolution, establishing positive relations with other people.
  • Possible Career Paths:
  • Counselor, salesperson, politician, business person
intrapersonal intelligence
Intrapersonal Intelligence
  • The ability to self-reflect and be aware of one's inner state of being. These learners try to understand their inner feelings, dreams, relationships with others, and strengths and weaknesses.
  • Their Skills include:
  • Recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses, reflecting and analyzing themselves, awareness of their inner feelings, desires and dreams, evaluating their thinking patterns, reasoning with themselves, understanding their role in relationship to others
  • Possible Career Paths:
  • Researchers, theorists, philosophers
brain structure and function
Brain Structure and Function




llustration from The three units of the human Brain - Júlio Rocha do Amaral, & Jorge Martins de Oliveira

MacLean’s Triune Brain Theory“three interconnected biological computers” MacLean (as cited on Web Page)
  • #1 - The Reptilian Brain is

geared for survival.

  • It is the oldest brain. It consists of the structures of the brain stem - medulla, pons, cerebellum, midbrain.
  • This brain controls muscles, balance and autonomic functions, such as breathing and heartbeat. This part of the brain is active, even in deep sleep.

Image from ://

maclean s triune brain theory
MacLean’s Triune Brain Theory
  • #2 - The Limbic System adds the capacity for emotion and coordination of movement.
  • concerned with emotions and instincts, feeding, fighting, fleeing, and sexual behavior.
  • Physiologically, it includes the the hypothalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala.
  • It has vast interconnections with the neocortex
maclean s triune brain theory1
MacLean’s Triune Brain Theory
  • # 3 - The Neocortex allows for the higher cognitive functions. MacLean refers to the cortex as "the mother of invention and father of abstract thought".
  • The cortex is divided into left and right hemispheres. The left half of the cortex controls the right side of the body and the right side of the brain the left side of the body.
  • The right brain is more spatial, abstract, musical and artistic, while the left brain more linear, rational, and verbal.
more detail martini 1998 pp 445 473
More Detail (Martini, 1998, pp. 445-473)






Pituitary gland


Medulla Oblongata



reptilian 1 sylwester 1995 pp 39 44
Reptilian (#1) (Sylwester,1995, pp. 39-44)


  • process visual and auditory
  • maintain consciousness
  • reflex generation
  • RAS


  • relay and processing center for sensory data(from outside the body)
  • hallucinations

Medulla Oblongata


  • bridge cerebellum to brain stem
  • facial motor control
  • brain to spine
  • relays sensory information
  • adjusts ongoing movement patterns on basis of sensory data and stored memories
  • maintain balance and equilibrium


limbic system 2 nunley 1999
Limbic System (#2) (Nunley, 1999)


  • Hunger, sex drive, thirst, hormones, temperature
  • (sensory data from inside)


  • Connects the other two
  • stores new memories


  • Sophisticated emotions (love, joy, kindness)
  • filters and interprets incoming sensory data
Frontal (solves, decides, moves)



  • Neocortex #3
  • (Cerebrum)
  • thin covering
  • of cortex but
  • 70% of brain
  • cells
  • higher level
  • functions

Broca’s Area Speech-breathing and vocalization

Wernicke’s Area Interprets what is seen or heard





& smells)

learning pathways neuron to neuron
Learning PathwaysNeuron to Neuron
  • The brain is a collection of specialized cells called neurons.
  • Information travels from one neuron to the next: axon synapse dendrite axon

learning pathways some links grow while others fade
Learning PathwaysSome links grow while others fade
  • Each time you learn something new, new dendrites are grown on your neurons to communicate with other neurons.
  • connections = pathways
  • Those not used are pruned out to make way for stronger pathways.
  • The more a pathway is used, the easier it is to access.

“A single neuron may be involved in many pathways. So strengthening a neuron used for one project may have additional benefits if it is also used for other tasks.”(Nunley, p.25)

learning pathways thoughts involve communication from many areas of the brain nunley
Learning PathwaysThoughts involve communication from manyareas of the brain (Nunley)
  • you see the apple
  • memories of

apple pie and milk

  • anticipate taste and salivate
  • coordinate arm to bring it to mouth
  • new memory - yuck! A worm


learning pathways storage of the information can vary fishback 1998
Learning PathwaysStorage of the information can vary (Fishback, 1998)
  • Sensations enter your brain and are temporarily stored in Short-Term Memory
  • Your brain decides whether to consolidate the memory into Long-Term Memory (Limbic system is an active player)
  • Memories are separated and then distributed in different regions of your brain.
learning pathways storage of the information can vary martini 1998 p 505
Learning PathwaysStorage of the information can vary (Martini, 1998, p.505)

Repetition Promotes Retention

Long-Term Memory

Short-Term Memory

Sensory Input




visualizing brain activity
Visualizing Brain Activity

CT (Computed Tomography) A beam of x-rays is shot straight through the brain.

PET- (photon/positron emission computed tomography) When radio-labeled compounds are injected in tracer amounts, their photon emissions can be detected much like x-rays in CT.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) When protons are placed in a magnetic field, they become capable of receiving and then transmitting electromagnetic energy.

a lot to remember
A Lot To Remember


what you