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Monday, January 2, 2012

Genius across Cultures and the"Google Brain” | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network


Snippet from the article:
(Perhaps more important than searching for the pathway to genius, we should also consider the converse consequences of this postnatal influence on brain development. If a child is raised in a socially impoverished, abusive environment, or bullied by peers, or denied intellectual experiences required for success in broader society, the brain that is produced will be one that will maximize success under those hostile conditions. Personality, social interaction, physical abilities, propensity toward violence, tendency toward addiction, attitudes toward family. and so on are profoundly influenced by the experience one has during childhood and adolescence when the brain is wiring itself up, and the results can be long lasting.

But this new information is also empowering. It tells us that through experience we can"wire” and"rewire” the brain. We are not necessarily captive by a fate determined by the chance of genetics. Brain imaging shows that people who become blind rewire the part of their brain that normally processes visual information to instead process sound. This enables blind people to comprehend speech sped up far faster than a sighted individual can comprehend.

Recognizing that every child’s brain develops on a somewhat different trajectory could be important for education. There are critical windows of opportunity for the environment to have its effect on different mental functions. This could mean that an educational approach that categorizes and sorts by ability to progress on a particular time-line could fail to develop each child’s potential fully.)


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