Discussion 2: Reflect on the current course readings, your recent experiment, and Ted Talk video. Discuss something that intrigues, challenges or bothers you. What are you learning about our cognitive processes and the way the brain works? Cite the texts and use outside sources if appropriately integrated. Please post any questions or requests for clarification you may have regarding any of the concepts covered in the assigned readings for this week. The first post is meant to be a bit more scholarly or formal. Always use references here. The responses can be more casual but should also cite references when appropriate. Remember, this is your chance to demonstrate to me that you are reading the material and to engage in academic discussions about the reading material. Use personal examples if you like but link them to the literature.
The brain and its functionality is remarkably complicated, and endlessly fascinating. New discoveries are being made every day by neuroscientists, discoveries that provide deeper insight into neural structuring, operationalization, and ultimately human behavior.
Previously assumed conclusions have been disproven, and with new discoveries were constantly adjusting our understanding of neural processes, however so slightly. There were early assumptions about the extent to which human functionality was determined by certain areas of the brain (localization)(Galotti, 2017, p. 41). While most human operations of thinking, acting, and being arent necessarily determined by only one area of the brain, we can certainly identify particular areas of the brain that are largely responsible for certain human behaviors, and when missing or damaged, all but remove the ability of the person to carry out certain functions (Taylor).
Plasticity is the process by which the brain continually changes (within the confines of its genetic capacity) as an adaptation to experience (Galotti, 2017, p. 46). Neural networks are seemingly just waiting for the need to reach out beyond their current capacity and to accommodate for the need to process more, to make greater connections (Hannaford, 2005, p 28). It almost appears to be driven by a divine intelligence.
The theatre metaphor (Baars, 1997) provides an interesting perspective to how the conscious mind might work. In this model it appears that the senses (both inner and outer) and ideas compete for the attention of the conscious mind. This model does well in capturing how so much is happening in and around a stage, but during the performance there is really only the ability to focus on a few things consciously while observing a performance. Even less when there is a spotlight on a performer and all else is dark. It is also interesting how Baars invites the reader to read the words inchoate; Papa Doc; and infundibulum without the inner voice echoing the words as theyre read. There appears to be an inner dialogue required for the reading and comprehension of words. In this, Baars attempts to detail the complexities to the executive functioning of merely one element of the vast array of experience we have everyday, and how consciousness seeks a way through it all.
One thing that stands out from the reading from Hannaford (2005) is the idea that new nerve cells are derived from stem cells, every day. I was sure that I had learned somewhere that new nerve cells in the brain did not form, and that once you reached adulthood, and when you lost your brain cells through certain activities, that they were never to return or to be replaced. However, Hannaford does detail that under certain circumstances new brain cells can be lost, particularly under moments of stress and struggle.
Baars, B. J. (1997). In the theater of consciousness: The workspace of the mind.New York: Oxford University Press.
Galotti, K. M. (2017). Cognitive psychology in and out of the laboratory (6th ed.).Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Hannaford, C. (2005). Smart moves: Why learning is not all in your head (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City, Utah: Great River Books.
TalkDocumentary – Jill Bolte Taylor. (2012, March 11). Retrieved from
Jill Bolte Taylor: STROKE of insight: TED TALKS: documentary,lecture,talk:
(Links to an external site.)
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