Diagnoses have soared as makers of the drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have found success with a two-decade marketing campaign.
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|Rescooped by Lon Woodbury from Games, gaming and gamification in Higher Education|
“Action video games have a number of ingredients that are actually really powerful for brain plasticity, learning, attention, and vision,” says brain scientist Daphne Bavelier in her TED Talk on the subject.
Findings like Bavelier’s have been cropping up over the last few years, forcing us to reevaluate our firmly held beliefs. Many educators now use video games in formal learning settings, and others are teaming up with members of the gaming industry to design programs that target specific learning goals. The controversy is ebbing, and this year neuroscientists have discovered something that may end the discussion once and for all:
Video games actually make the brain bigger.
Teens are taking notice of how social networking is impacting their relationships for good and bad. Most agree it is a useful tool to keep in touch with friends and family and to communicate important and timely messages. But they also share a deep concern for how social media affects the quality of their relationships.
For the past decade the Federal Government has been encouraging doctors to push people they assess as having an alcohol or substance abuse problem towards counseling. It is turning out that this counseling is only effective with reducing alcohol abuse but abuse of marijuana, opioids, and cocaine is not effected.
Maybe the focus of the counseling has been toward the substance use, rather than the underlying emotional causes? -Lon
Unschooling, greater independence for the student and teacher, and getting in touch with our social and emotional selves are just some of the topics that have inspired educators and life-long learners...
I like the context of comparing "Interconnected individuals" vs. "consumers". -Lon
Actively learning to play an instrument can help a child's academic achievement
Summary from BrainHQ December 2014
A new study from Northwestern University has found that kids who actively learn to play musical instruments may be training their brains to process sounds better. But the research showed that a key feature is active participation in learning music—and that passive participation doesn’t seem to confer the same benefits.
"A recent Gallup poll of 170,000 Americans — 10,000 of whom were teachers — found that teaching is the second most satisfying profession (after medicine). Ironically, the same Gallup poll found that in contrast to their overall happiness with their jobs, teachers often rate last or close to the bottom for workplace engagement and happiness.
“Of all the professions we studied in the U.S., teachers are the least likely to say that their opinions count and the least likely to say that their supervisor creates an open and sharing environment,” said Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education, at the Next New World Conference.
This is a troubling trend at a time when schools need to continue to attract high quality educators. “If the perception in our country is that teaching is not a great profession to go into, we certainly aren’t going to be encouraging really talented young people to be thinking about the profession of teaching,” Busteed said in an interview with Stephen Smith on the American RadioWorks podcast."
Most of the ex-classroom teachers I know (including myself) say what they miss most from their teaching experience are the kids. Even and sometimes especially those that are challenging. -Lon
Biological explanations of mental illness reduce clinicians’ empathy for their patients, according to a new Yale study.
U.S. physicians were given a series of fictitious patients with various mental illnesses that were explained using either biological or psychosocial reasons. Doctors exhibited less empathy after reading the biological explanations. Furthermore, clinicians believed medication, not psychotherapy, to be a more effective treatment when symptoms were explained biologically.
The finding comes at a time when there has been a shift to conceptualizing psychiatric disorders as biomedical diseases, according to lead author and psychology graduate student Matthew Lebowitz GRD ’16.
There is no doubt that advances in genetics and neuroscience have revolutionized how we see mental health, he added, but it is important to understand their pitfalls, too.
BY ERIN WANG
How Handwriting Enhances Learning Infographic Nowadays it’s less about putting pen to paper and more about turning on your laptop. But are we losing out by letting the art of penmanship die? Lots of evidence shows handwriting for kids stimulates the brain and offers benefits typing doesn’t. The H... http://elearninginfographics.com/handwriting-enhances-learning-infographic/
We are living through the first era of mass attention deficit.
You’ll recognise it if, like me, you struggle to read a book from start to finish, or if you start a task only to end up following a maze of different weblinks instead. And you’ll understand it if you have friends who just can’t put their phones down: on average, we check them 150 days a day, according to Nokia research.
It would be tempting to say this is just a millennial phenomenon; that a generation of self-centered 20- and 30-somethings is getting sucked into the screen. But, if you thought this group is bad, just look to the next generation.
The brain is changing
Kids aged eight to 18 spend twice as much time with screens as they spend in school. Children have fundamentally different cognitive skills nowadays and they are too easily distracted, according to two pieces of research by the Pew Internet Project, in which US teachers said kids need more time away from digital technologies. In the UK, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt has suggested children receive lessons in concentration – an ironic proposition, to be sure.
But fighting modern modalities is not the best way to fit the reality of consumption and comprehension today. If brains are evolving to favour constant, short bursts of information, it is unlikely this can be reversed. Even in 1976 a study found that in-lesson concentration ebbed and flowed, topping out at just 10 to 18 minutes.
This is the reason I try to limit stories on my online newsletter to 500 words, and the reason I'm shifting from 50 minute segments on internet talk radio to less than 10 minute interviews. -Lon
"Helicopter the one on the left, not the right."
"If you want to make your children neurotic, clinginess and overprotectiveness on your part - helicopter parenting - is the way to go.
"Assuming you don't want to cause that, it is still okay to hover over your dogs and cats, according to an analysis of pet owners by psychologists at U.C. Berkeley and California State University, East Bay.
"They used an online survey of more than 1,000 pet owners nationwide to analyze the key personality traits and nurturing styles of people who identified as a "cat person," a "dog person," "both" or "neither." Those who expressed the greatest affection for their pets were also the most conscientious and neurotic, suggesting that the qualities that work for domesticated canine and feline companions, who tend to require lifelong parenting, make for overbearing parents."
Summary from BrainHQ Brain Fitness News: January 2015
Neurotic People Make the Best Pet Owners
Psychologists at UC Berkeley and Cal State East Bay recently conducted a study of pet owners, and found that those who had the most “neurotic” tendencies were also the most conscientious when it came to their pets’ happiness and well-being. They suggest that if your tendency is to be a “helicopter parent,” it will work out much better for your pets than for your (human) children.
Could the helicopter parents trend be coming from an increasing tendency in our society for some adults to have pets instead of children, and parents tending more to consider pets a part of the family? -Lon
The picture shown is of a Afghan National Police officer after a raid on a stash house full of Opium used to make Heroin. Today the war on drugs is not just about the eradication of the sales of illicit narcotics in America. Now this war has been complicated by the ones that profit from it the most, terrorist.
This is an entirely different slant on the War on Drugs - the one that I think is not working. -Lon
Free Range Parenting vs. Helicopter Parenting. What's best for the kids?
In my work with students enrolled in therapeutic boarding schools and wilderness therapy programs, I have seen far more damage needing residential treatment from over-controlling parents than I have from neglectful or abusive parents. -Lon
Anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses have become an increasing issue for young people in today’s society and many of these aspects are reflected in YA dystopian fiction.
I like to read, and lately I've got into YA dystopian fiction. I'm inclined to see the positive side the author talks about, a youth showing character, perseverance, morality and goal oriented and through those usually overcoming all obstacles in the end., Looking at past generations, there were the Tom Swift and Tom Swift Jr. series, and the Hardy boys series, and the Nancy Drew series. All lived in worlds with threats, bad people, and overwhelming odds. They were seen as aiding character development, much like I think the modern dystopian fiction can be, especially YA Dystopian fiction. I've heard parents talk to young people about "What would Harry Potter do?" etc. Modern YA Dystopian fiction I think is similar, just written for a different time. -Lon
"...The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.
The advert explains: "Only one drug is so addictive, nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it. And use it. And use it. Until dead. It's called cocaine. And it can do the same thing to you."
But in the 1970s, a Professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?
In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn't know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.
The rats with good lives didn't like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.
Professor Alexander argues this discovery is a profound challenge both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much hedonistic partying, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation. It's not you. It's your cage.
After the first phase of Rat Park, Professor Alexander then took this test further. He reran the early experiments, where the rats were left alone, and became compulsive users of the drug. He let them use for fifty-seven days - if anything can hook you, it's that. Then he took them out of isolation, and placed them in Rat Park. He wanted to know - if you fall into that state of addiction, is your brain hijacked, so you can't recover? Do the drugs take you over? What happened is - again - striking. The rats seemed to have a few twitches of withdrawal - but they soon stopped their heavy use, and went back to having a normal life. The good cage saved them."
[click on the title for the full article]
In the 1980s, the tradition and the drug war focus was referred to and criticized as "The Medical Model." -Lon
New research recognizes that diagnoses and drugs are not the only approach.
The network of therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness therapy programs started in the 1980s rejecting the rigid diagnosis and treat mentality, referring to it as "medical model." Much of what they did came under the category of "emotional growth schools and programs." The traditional defining of mental illness has been questioned by many successful schools and programs in the last 30 years, and seem to be along the line of what this article presents. -Lon
Humans—and mice—are much more likely to feel empathy toward friends than strangers. New research finds that stress hormones are to blame, writes Robert M. Sapolsky.
It’s rare to find individuals in whom stress brings out the best—fostering calm, rational thinking, deep humanity and the notion that strangers are just friends you’ve yet to meet.
More typically, stress literally and metaphorically narrows our field of vision; it tends to makes us less generous and cooperative in economic games, more xenophobic, more likely to interpret ambiguous expressions as hostile ones, and more likely to displace frustration and aggression onto those around us. As this new study on the biology of stress found, it also makes us less likely to feel someone else’s pain.
Science has amply demonstrated that, when we are stressed, there are adverse consequences for our blood pressure, digestive tract, immune system and so on. This research shows that, when we are stressed, there are also adverse consequences for those stuck being around us.