Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Brain Plasticity and Skill Development

Michael Merzenich discusses how the brain measurably changes with the development of new skills and how important the first year of life is.  Start from 11 minutes into the presentation if you need to save time.

Testing showed sensitivity grows for the area of the brain used to gather information to complete a task. As greater control was required to complete the task, the related portion of the brain was able to gather and process greater quantities of information.
Learning creates a measurable physical change in the brain.

Do you think this applies to the development of thinking skills, not just physical skills?

In early brain development, too many inputs, limit our ability for refined development, eg learning speech in a noisy environment, we miss subtleties of speech, therefore create a defective schema.
If problems are resolved in early plasticity, then brains function the same as anyone else, and this will not have any significant later effects.
If not reparied, can take 30 times longer to grasp new knowledge.  Without repairing initial schema, they are destined to continue to learn at this slower rate, because the brain compares all new knowledge to the original defective schema.

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