Focus Magazine - Summer 2014 - (Page 15)
"There is a foolish
corner in the brain
of the wisest person."
here does one learn about cognitive
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
* 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
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
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
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.
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 NeuroscienceOfLearning@gmail.com.
FOCUS | SUMMER 2014 | www.L-TEN.org
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Focus Magazine - Summer 2014
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
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
5 Questions with Nigel Brooksby
Focus Magazine - Summer 2014