Focus Magazine - Summer 2014 - (Page 15)

NEUROSCIENCE Merrill Collier Neuroliteracy "There is a foolish corner in the brain of the wisest person." - Aristotle W here does one learn about cognitive neuroscience? With so much neuroscience-related information out there, my strategy is to balance self-learning with healthy skepticism. I try to identify and distinguish what may be considered a 'neuromyth" versus evidencebased conclusions. Neuromyths Vs. Neurofacts Pithy sounding neuroscience claims can grab our attention: * We only use 10% of our brains. * Listening to classical music makes us smarter. * The brain is static, unchanging. * Brain games keep our brains young. The concept of neuroplasticity means the brain is constantly changing in response to the variety of experiences through creation of new neural pathways or reorganization of existing ones. fMRI brain scans of London taxi drivers, who are required to spend two years learning how to navigate showed 16 taxi drivers with larger hippocampuses than a control group of 50 healthy adults. A possible conclusion is that area of the brain heavily involved in memory and navigation may have changed in response to the drivers' experiences. The validity of some neuromyth claims are hotly debated. For example, activity captured on PET or fMRI images dispel the claim that we only use 10 percent of our brains. Additional research may quickly uncover conflicting opinions. What about Gardner's Multiple Intelligences? My daughter received a chart from a sixth grade school teacher "Different Ways of Being Smart." The summary outlines eight of Gardner's 11 Multiple Intelligences (Linguistic, Musical, Logical-Mathematical, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Personal, Naturalistic, Spiritual, though it did not include the three newer ones: Existential, Mental Searchlight, Laser). Verbal-linguistic intelligence would indicate strength in reading and writing and someone who learns best through the same. On the other hand, spatial intelligence would indicate strength in maps, charts and drawing and someone who learns best through visualization. Multiple intelligences' theory holds learning can be improved if children are taught according to their preferred learning styles. Neural responses do vary per individual, but Gardner himself has admitted there is little supporting evidence for multiple intelligences theory. Changing Sides Neurofact or neuromyth: People are "rightbrained" or "left-brained"? Many would argue the different hemispheres of the brain have different functions (example, creative thinking happens in the right hemisphere). A two-year brain imaging study shows specific mental processes, i.e. language, attention, take place in each side of the brain. However, the study also reveals that people do not tend to have stronger left- or right-sided brain networks. Neuroadventure Trainers generally are fascinated with the "why" behind what makes learning effective. Many find neuroscience interesting and relevant to education. The literacy journey is an adventure. Identify neuromyths and steer toward evidence-based info that suggests more effective teaching and learning. I Merrill Collier is a principal global training and education specialist at Medtronic's CardioVascular division. This article expresses the personal views of the author and does not necessarily represent the opinions of his employer. Email Merrill at FOCUS | SUMMER 2014 | 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Focus Magazine - Summer 2014

Focus Magazine
From the President: Clarity, Community & Career
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Guest Editor: Your Network and the Connection Ecomony
Front of the Room: Getting Your Head Right
Neuroscience: Neuroliteracy
Introducing LTEN: The Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network
Communities of Practice: Learning in Action
Are We Living in a Post-LMS World?
Member Solutions: Measuring the Impact of Training
Selling as a Team Sport
From the Training Room to the Board Room
The Science of Changing Sales Behavior
Personalized Medicine: The Coming Revolution
Virtual How: Trends in Selling Models
Member News
Ad Index
Focus Contacts
5 Questions with Nigel Brooksby

Focus Magazine - Summer 2014