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Inside the Brain

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Reading the book, “Inside the Brain: Revolutionary Discoveries of How the Mind Works” by Ronald Kotulak and wanted to keep some notes as I read!  I figured that typing the notes would be easier than handwriting them.  Then I thought, perhaps I should type it as a blog post so that I can keep track on here as well since it does pertain to my dissertation work. 

Introduction:

Serious brain construction happens in infancy, talk to those babies!  “Each response is a visual manifestation of millions of brain cells firing commands to forge vital neural networks” (p.ix).  Waiting until elementary school is just too late to start.  Many students begin their school careers already with an intellectual deficit that could have been prevented with mental stimulation early on.  “Eighty percent of prisoners in U.S. jails are high school drop outs” (p.xi).  Kids have a natural drive to learn.  New research suggests that IQ levels can be increased by having children start a more formal educational experience at age 3 or 4 instead of waiting until age 5.  New advances in molecular biology and genetics are helping people get a better understanding of the brain.  At times, synapses cane form at the rate of 3 billion a second! (Wow!)  A baby’s brain has about 1,000 trillion at 8 months and half of those die off by around age 10 leaving 500 trillion to last through life.  The brain has tremendous flexibility that allows it to continue to change physically and chemically to its environment, this is called plasticity.  The “use it or lose it” motto rings true!  You can make your brain keep improving or allow it to disintegrate with lack of use. 

Part One: How the Brain Gets Built

Chapter 1: Revealing the Secrets of the Brain

“Scientists long have wondered how the brain can do all the things that make one person a poet, another a builder or musician, and still another a criminal or social dropout.” (p.3)  The brain uses the outside world to shape itself.  It also going though crucial periods where cells must have certain types of stimulation to develop.  Genetics provides the basics and then the environment adds the finishing touches.  The brain can adapt to many different kinds of experiences.  Learning the proper fundamentals at an early age is imperative.  You can’t suddenly learn to learn without first installing the basic brain wiring.  Even the ability to form abstract thoughts is a consequence of the brain’s learning to read (p.6). 

to be continued!…….


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