Thursday, February 17, 2011

Learning and the Brain Conference 2011 - Dr.Gary Small

Dr. Gary Small, MD
Director, UCLA Center on Aging
Cornell Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
Co-Author of iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind

Keynote- iBrain Technological Alteration of the Student Mind
Learning and the Brain Conference
San Francisco, CA
February 17, 2011



Relationship with Technology:
  • It's Personal
  • Let's do an experiment
  • Turn on your cell phone

When you turn it on, you feel connected and excited to find out what is going on. Now swap with a stranger. You are likely feeling anxious right now.

We need to find time to disconnect.

Network Organization - Specialized Brain
Perception of Image or sensation. Intense emotional reaction, connection or memory.

Our brains our very plastic. They are very much like a computer.Our brains have neural circuits/synapses that will strengthen as we use them.

Malleable Young Brains

When you are young, learning is fast (language and instruments)

Our brains adapt based on the environment we live in.

Is the environment really changing. Young people between age 8 and 18 total of how much tech time each day - 11.5 hours. A lot of this time is multi-tasking.

Digital Natives:
Born into technology.
24/7 use and access
Instant gratification - wants the newest technology as soon as it is developed.
More technology, less direct, face-to-face social interaction

Brains still developing
Empathy, complex reasoning skills

Technology and Addiction- When does it become a problem?
Email follows an exercise in operand conditioning. You keep checking and checking in order to get that one "happy face" email in amidst all the spam.

Does Technology Affect Face-to-Face Social Skills?
Study of 197 students, aged 17-23 years.
One study suggests that playing games, removes the ability to recognize face expression.

Everyone loves to be connected and kids who text feel the connection.

Learning to listen and maintain eye contact.
Usually the conversation is back and forth so it is hard for the listener not to respond.

Technology and Attention Deficit

Computer use is associated with ADHD in elementary school children. Some pediatricians have recommended that very young children not have access to technology.

Is Technology making us Less Productive? Search engines, social networking, etc.

Components of creativity:

Predictors of creativity
Tendency to be open to new ideas

Positive and a Negative
Pros:
improved reaction time
instantaneous access to information and communication

collaboration, online discussion

cons: disconnected and interact in person less

Learn technology later in life
older brains may be slower
resistance to innovation

Do you Remember?
Colour TV
first mobile phones
typewriters

Use of computer technology according to age:

Less than a third of 75 year olds use technology

Is Google Making us "Stoopid"?
Study comparing those over 60 who were Tech Savvy and those who had never searched online

When the Internet savvy people searched online, use all parts of their brain. Their brains are more active.

Healthy Lifestyle Strategies Associated with a Lower risk for Dementia

You can train the brain to remember things better using a healthy lifestyle program.

You see the big picture more quickly and have the ability to solve problems.

Look - SNAP - CONNECT
Activity observe what you want to learn, Take a mental picture of it and make a connection

Video - WHoDUNIT? Did you notice the 21 changes?


It is easy to miss details - you can train the brain to be more perceptive to remember things because you make visual connections to help us remember.

Technology can Train our Brains
-surgeons who play video games make fewer errors because you can develop better peripheral vision and better motor skills

The Future Brain
Computer Interface Technology
Thoughts will be wirelessly transmitted to other devices.

Is Search the end of Memory or is it the opportunity for Collective Wisdom?

Action items:
Reach consensus on nature and extent of problems
Be aware of multitasking and make time offline
Twitter: @DrGarySmall
www.DrGarySmall.com
www.aging.ucla.edu

iBrain: Surviving the technological alteration of the modern mind