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BRAIN RULES Principles for Surviving and Thriving Debbie Crouch Seattle Pacific University
Brain Rules: Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina, Pear Press, March 2008 Dr. John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant. He is an affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is also the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University. www. brainrules. net
The Full Menu of 12 Rules 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Exercise Survival Wiring Attention Short-term Memory Long-term Memory 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Sleep Stress Sensory Integration Vision Gender Exploration
Survival in a Hostile Environment
Our Complex Blender Brain… Y_ _ r d _ g ch _ s _ d th _ c _ t. Much of what we know about brain function has been learned from abnormal or injured brains.
Three Brains in One… Lizard brain Basic functions such as breathing, heartbeat, sleep Mammalian brain Animal survival –the four Fs: Feeding Fleeing Fighting Reproductive behavior Cortex or “Human Brain” Executive functions Specialized functions
ATTENTION We Don’t Pay Attention to Boring Things
What Captures Our Attention? • • Messages that grab your attention are connected to: -Memory -Awareness -Interest Advertisers know this!
Principles of Attention Meaning before detail = gist Familiarity and patterns IRSYMCAIBMKGBFBI
Advice for Educators, Supervisors, and Parents • • • Capture attention by triggering emotion Convey general ideas before details Make sure examples are relevant Teach complex information and processes in small segments Repeat information at discrete intervals—repeat to remember; remember to repeat!
Limitations of Attention • • Attention can’t be maintained indefinitely—the brain needs a break to digest information. We can only pay attention to one thing at a time.
Multi-tasking is a Myth Comparison of cell phone users to drunk drivers: 4 x higher: The increased rate of collisions among drivers who use cell phones. 19% slower: The amount of time slower cell phone users were to resume their normal speed after braking. 24% more variable: The following distance of a driver using a cell phone, as his or her attentional states shifted between driving and talking.
Effects of Multitasking
STRESS What is Stress? For stress to exist: 1. There must be an aroused physiological response to the stressor, and it must be measurable by an outside party. 2. The stressor must be perceived as aversive. 3. The person must not feel in control of the stressor.
Chronic Stress and Health Chronic stress: • • • Dangerously deregulates a system built only to deal with short-term responses. Creates too much adrenaline, leading to high blood pressure, and elevating the risk for heart attack and stroke Ravages parts of the immune system involved in producing antibodies.
Stress and Learning • • In almost every way it can be tested, chronic stress hurts our ability to learn. Specifically affected are the skills needed to excel in school and business.
Enter the Hero to Battle Stress • BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) • • Keeps neurons alive and growing in the presence of hostile action However, BDNF can be overwhelmed
The Secret Want to know how to. . . • Increase your • BDNF levels • Attention span • Reasoning • Long-term memory • Problem-solving abilities ? And also. . . • • Combat: • Anxiety • Stress • Depression Decrease your chance of: • Alzheimers by 60% • General dementia by 50% ?
EXERCISE Exercise Boosts Brain Power • • • Jack La. Lanne: The man who gave us the jumping jack. Strength of mind is directly related to strength of muscle. Strength of mind and body is also related to quality of nutrition.
EXERCISE Exercise Boosts Brain Power • • Building an intricate delivery system. How much exercise is enough? 30 minutes of cardio 2 -3 times a week.
To the Tune of: Take Me Out to the Ballgame Take me out to the sidewalk. Take me out to the track. Buy me a treadmill and trampoline. Staying active will be my routine. I will build an oxygen highway, Then stressors won’t be a drain. For just 30 minutes three times a week Makes a healthy brain!
SLEEP The Brain Doesn’t Sleep to Rest • • • The brain sleeps to learn Learning involving procedures and processes, particularly, is enhanced by sufficient sleep. Loss of sleep hurts attention, executive function, immediate memory, mood, quantitative skills, logical reasoning, general math knowledge and even motor dexterity.
Sleep Chronotypes Larks: Early Chronotype (10%) Most alert around noon and feel most productive in morning Owls: Late Chronotype (20%) Most alert around 6: 00 p. m. and feel most productive in late evening Hummingbirds: The Rest of Us (70%) Somewhere in between larks and owls BEWARE THE DREADED NAP ZONE!
How Much Sleep Do We Need? • • Most adults need 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night to function optimally Study of soldiers found • • • One night’s sleep deprivation resulted in a 30% loss in overall cognitive skill and drop in performance Two nights’ sleep loss resulted in a 60% drop in performance Five consecutive nights with 6 hours of sleep or less resulted in performance equal to that of someone deprived of sleep for 48 hours.
EXPLORATION We are Powerful and Natural Explorers Babies model how we learn: by actively testing through observation, hypothesis, experiment and conclusion • • What if. . . ? How could I. . . ? I wonder. . . ?
Exploration Time Google lets employees spend 20% of their time “going where their minds ask them to go. ” 50% of new products came from “ 20 percent time. ”
C H A L L E N G E: • • Focus on what you can control Notice when you are stressed Exercise—even a little bit—most days of the week Feed your body with the right amount of quality “fuel” Get sufficient sleep Use your natural curiosity and imagination to envision positive outcomes Direct your attention to things that bring you joy and peace