- “Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a simple mathematical model of the brain which provides a remarkably complete statistical account of the complex web of connections between various brain regions.” [Read more…] about Connecting the (Brain) Dots: Understanding Brain Functional Networks
(Editor’s Note: this is one of the 20 interviews included in the book The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age)
Michael I. Posner is a prominent scientist in the field of cognitive neuroscience. He is currently an emeritus professor of neuroscience at the University of Oregon (Department of Psychology, Institute of Cognitive and Decision Sciences). In August 2008, the International Union of Psychological Science made him the first recipient of the Dogan Prize “in recognition of a contribution that represents a major advance in psychology by a scholar or team of scholars of high international reputation.”
Dr. Posner, many thanks for your time today. I really enjoyed the James Arthur Lecture monograph on Evolution and Development of Self-Regulation that you delivered last year. Could you provide a summary of the research you presented?
I would emphasize that we human beings can regulate our thoughts, emotions, and actions to a greater degree than other primates. For example, we can choose to pass up an immediate reward for a larger, delayed reward.
We can plan ahead, resist distractions, be goal-oriented. These human characteristics appear to depend upon what we often call “self-regulation.” What is exciting these days is that progress in neuroimaging and in genetics make it possible to think about self-regulation in terms of specific brain-based networks.
Can you explain what self-regulation is?
All parents have seen this in their kids. Parents can see the remarkable transformation as their children develop the ability to regulate emotions and to persist with goals in the face of distractions. That ability is usually labeled ‚ self-regulation.
The other main area of your research is attention. Can you explain the brain-basis for what we usually call “attention”?
I have been interested in how the attention system develops in infancy and early childhood.
One of our major findings, thanks to neuroimaging, is that there is not one single “attention”, but three separate functions of attention with three separate underlying brain networks: alerting, orienting, and executive attention. [Read more…] about Training Attention and Emotional Self-Regulation — Interview with Michael Posner
James Zull is a professor of Biology. He is also Director Emeritus of the University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. These roles most assuredly coalesced in his 2002 book, The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching the Practice of Teaching by Exploring the Biology of Learning.
This is a book for both teachers and parents (because parents are also teachers!) Written with the earnestness of first-person experience and reflection, and a lifetime of expertise in biology, Zull makes a well-rounded case for his ideas. He offers those ideas for your perusal, providing much supporting evidence, but he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t try to ram them into your psyche. Rather, he practices what he preaches by engaging you with stories, informing you with fact, and encouraging your thinking by the way he posits his ideas.
I have read a number of books that translate current brain research into practice while providing practical suggestions for teachers to implement. This is the first book I have read that provides a biological, and clearly rational, overview of learning and the brain. Zull provokes you into thinking [Read more…] about Teaching is the art of changing the brain