Brain Rules (Book Review)

On December 10, 2012
brainrulesAre you interested to know how do we learn? Or what do sleep and stress do to our brains? Is it true that men and women have different brains? Then here is the information source for you: in Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School (2009), Dr. John Medina (molecular biologist) shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rulewhat scientists know for sure about how our brains work – and then offers ideas for our daily lives.
Medina’s 12 brain rules are based on solid science, but they’re presented in such a way that you can actually apply your new-found knowledge:
Exercise – Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power.
Survival – Rule #2: The human brain evolved, too.
Wiring – Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently.
Attention – Rule #4: We don’t pay attention to boring things.
Short-Term Memory – Rule #5: Repeat to remember.
Long-Term Memory – Rule #6: Remember to repeat.
Sleep – Rule #7: Sleep well, think well.
Stress – Rule #8: Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.
Sensory Integration – Rule #9: Stimulate more of the senses.
Vision – Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses.
Gender – Rule #11: Male and female brains are different.
Exploration – Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers.
According to the author, we don’t have one brain; we have three – “lizard brain,” the “mammalian brain” and the “human brain” or cortex. Going from 4 legs to 2 freed up energy to develop a complex brain. What you do and learn in life physically changes what your brain looks like – it literally “re-wires” itself. No two people’s brains store the same information in the same way in the same place. We have a great number of ways of being intelligent – many of which do not show up on IQ tests. Aerobic exercise just twice a week halves your risk of general dementia and cuts your risk of Alzheimer’s by 60 %. Also, the brain’s attentional “spotlight” can focus on only one thing at a time: no multi-tasking. We are better at seeing patterns and abstracting the meaning of an event than we are at recording detail. Emotional arousal helps the brain learn
This is an essential read for anyone who is interested in neuropsychology and brain functioning. It is entertaining yet informative. It is easy read, as it uses stories to illustrate the functionality of the brain and it is full of hard science communicated in an interesting way.

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