Check out the new emWave Stress Relief (previously called Freeze-Framer), an easy-to-use, Windows-based software and biofeedback hardware program for Stress Management that measures your Heart Rate Variability through a finger or ear-clip sensor that plugs into your computer. The program, developed by HeartMath, translates the information into user-friendly graphics displayed on your computer monitor in real-time. emWave PC allows you to track your progress and has interactive games and stunning images that emit varying degrees of color and movement as you adjust your emotional state and get into The Zone of optimal learning and performance. Check out the limited time offer!
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Alvaro and I had the good fortune to attend a great conference last week called Learning & The Brain: Enhancing Cognition and Emotions for Learning. It was a wonderful mix of neuroscientists and educators talking with and listening to each other. Some topics were meant to be applied today, but many were food for thought – insight on where science and education are headed and how they influence each other.
Using dramatic new imaging techniques, such as fMRIs, PET, and SPECT, neuroscientists are gaining valuable information about learning. This pioneering knowledge is leading not only to new pedagogies, but also to new medications, brain enhancement technologies, and therapies…. The Conference creates an interdisciplinary forum — a meeting place for neuroscientists, educators, psychologists, clinicians, and parents — to examine these new research findings with respect to their applicability in the classroom and clinical practice.
- Humans are a mixture of cognition and emotion, and both elements are essential to function and learn properly
- Educators and public policy makers need to learn more about the brain, how it grows, and how to cultivate it
- Students of all ages need to be both challenged and nurtured in order to succeed
- People learn differently – try to teach and learn through as many different modalities as possible (engage language, motor skills, artistic creation, social interaction, sensory input, etc.)
- While short-term stress can heighten your cognitive abilities, long term stress kills you — you need to find balance and release
- Test anxiety and subsequent poor test results can be improved with behavioral training with feedback based on heart rate variability
- Dr. Robert Sapolsky is a very very enlightening and fun speaker
- Allow time for rest and consolidation of learned material
- Emotional memories are easier to remember
- Conferences like these perform a real service in fostering dialogues between scientists and educators
The sessions were broken into several subtopics:
ENHANCING THE BRAIN, COGNITION & EDUCATION
Topics included: neuroethics, school readiness, “back to basics” versus “discovery learning”, functional neuroimaging, the Six Developmental Pathways of physical, cognitive, language, social, ethical, and psychological skills
Speakers included: Michael S. Gazzaniga, Ph.D., Kurt W. Fischer, Ph.D., John D.E. Gabrieli, Ph.D., Linda Darling-Hammond, Ed.D., Daniel L. Schwartz, Ph.D., Jeb Schenck, Ph.D., Ross A. Thompson, Ph.D., Fay E. Brown, Ph.D., and Mariale M. Hardiman, Ed.D.
MOOD, LEARNING & GENDER DIFFERENCES
Topics included: chronic stress, bipolar disorder, ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, sex differences in learning, and creativity
Speakers included: Robert M. Sapolsky, Ph.D., Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Stephen P. Hinshaw, Ph.D., Bryna Siegel, Ph.D., Kiki D. Chang, M.D., Michael Gurian, M.A., Sam Goldstein, Ph.D., Lawrence H. Diller, M.D., and Terence A. Ketter, M.D.
ENHANCING MEMORY AND EMOTIONS
Topics included: mirror neurons, stress, anxiety, emotions, pharmacologic manipulations of memory, emotional events, sex differences, and “brain-considerate” learning environments, social functioning, decision making, motivation, achievement, positive-emotion refocusing
Speakers included: Kenneth A.Wesson, Ph.D., Kenneth S. Kosik, M.D., Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., Larry Cahill, Ph.D., Mary Fowler, M.A., Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D., Ed.M., and Robert Sylwester, Ed.D.
NEUROSCIENCE, LANGUAGE & READING
Topics included: reading disorders, dyslexia, assessment, instructional strategies, the achievement gap, and integration of visual, auditory, and language information
THE ARTS, MUSIC & COGNITION
Topics included: artistic process versus art content, effects of music on cognitive performance, and the generalizability of of artistic abilities to cognitive abilities
- Stanford University School of Education
- Harvard Graduate School of Education, Mind, Brain & Education Program
- Yale School of Medicine, Comer School Development Program, Child Study Center
- University of California, Santa Barbara, Neuroscience Research Institute
- The Dana Foundation, Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives
- Boston University School of Education
- Public Information Resources, Inc. (PIRI)
- National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
- Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg on Brain Fitness Programs and Cognitive Training
- An ape can do this. Can we not? An Interview with Dr. James Zull
- Lifelong learning, literally: neuroplasticity for students, boomers, seniors…
- Cognitive Neuroscience and Education Today
Save the Date! April 28-30, 2007 is the next conference, Learning & The Brain – Molding Minds: How to Shape the Developing Brain for Learning & Achievement, in Cambridge, Mass. We will post more information about this conference shortly.
Continuing with the theme of a Week of Science sponsored by Just Science, we will highlight some of the key points in: Appelhans BM, Luecken LJ. Heart Rate Variability as an Index of Regulated Emotional Responding. Review of General Psychology. 2006;10:229–240.
Defining Heart Rate Variability
Effective emotional regulation depends on being able to flexibly adjust your physiological response to a changing environment.
“… heart rate variability (HRV) is a measure of the continuous interplay between sympathetic and parasympathetic influences on heart rate that yields information about autonomic flexibility and thereby represents the capacity for regulated emotional responding.”
“HRV reflects the degree to which cardiac activity can be modulated to meet changing situational demands.”
The sympathetic (SNS) and parasympathetic (PNS) branches of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) antagonistically influence the lengths of time between consecutive heartbeats. Faster heart rates, which can be due to increased SNS and/or lower PNS activity, correspond to a shorter interbeat interval while slower heart rates have a longer interbeat interval, which can be attributed to increased PNS and/or decreased SNS activity.
The frequency-based HRV analyses are based on the fact that the variations in heart rate produced by SNS and PNS activity occur at different speeds, or frequencies. SNS is slow acting and mediated by norepinephrine while PNS influence is fast acting and mediated by acetylcholine.