Greenleaf Presentation.2 – Brains Learn

There were a number of clever sounding one liners uttered by Bob Greenleaf during his presentation. The thing is, while they sound clever, they are also easy to remember, and make total practical sense.

Lungs breathe, hearts pump, brains learn.

I have heard that sentiment several times, but none put so succinctly. Our brains are learning machines; they improve with the learning process. The act of building synapses and connections is the act of learning. According to Eric Jensen:

For the most part, long-term potentiation (LTP) has been accepted as the physical process of learning. … LTP means a neuron’s response to another neuron has been increased. It has “learned” to respond. Each future event requires less work to activate the same memory networks. … In short, learning happens at a micro level through the alteration of synaptic efficacy. Excited cells will excite other nearby cells.

Greenleaf went on to explain that when one area of the brain is busy processing, this benefits the other areas of the brain because the brain is an interconnected organ. All areas of the brain participate all the time in processing, though depending upon what is being processed some areas will be more active at any given time.

And as for the right-brain, left-brain theory, in actuality this is more of a personality or learning style description rather than a description of how the brain truly functions.

Next post: Pithy statement number two.

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