Senses (Sight, Smell, Feel, Hearing, Taste, Etc)

. Information about an event is absorbed through our senses; translated into electrical signals that are disperse through-out the brain, then reconstructed and perceived as a whole event. It is thought that the different senses go through associations cortices, such as parietal, temporal and frontal lobes. They are bridges between the sensory regions and motor regions of the brain. Written information includes visual features that help speed up the transmitting of information to the brain. The senses support each other (multi-sensory). This speeds up the input of information and learning plus has physical benefits, such as muscles reacting more quickly, threshold for detecting stimulus improves, eyes react more quickly, etc. When touch is combined with the visual, recognition learning improves by around 30% compared with touch alone. The positive contributions of multi-sensory presentation are greater than the parts.

. If using sight and hearing, multi-media presentations impact on learning are

- multi-media principle (learn better from words and pictures than words alone)

- temporal contiguity principle (learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented simultaneously rather than successively)

- spatial contiguity principle (Learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented near each other rather than far from each on the page or screen)

- coherence principle (learn better when extraneous material is excluded rather than included)

- modality principle (learn better from animation and on-screen text)

. As the brain relies on past experiences to decide how to record these signals, people can have differing perceptions of the same event.

. Our senses (thus learning) work best when the senses are working together.

. Smells have an unusual power to bring back memories. It is thought that smell signals bypass the thalamus and go straight to areas like the amygdala. However, smell is being usurped by vision as the more important sense. Around 60% of our smell-related genes are "disappearing" to make room for more relevant activities in the crowded brain.

. Vision is our most dominant sense and takes up around half of the brain's resources, with the brain instructing the eyes on what to see. This can result in some inaccuracy. Also, we can only hold 4 objects at a time in our working memory. The brain sees words as lots of tiny pictures.

. Vision is regarded as important in the cave man era as most of our threats were visual; this also applied to food supply and reproductive opportunity.

. Visual analysis has many steps (the retina assembles the photons into movie-like streams of information. The visual cortex processes these streams; some areas register motion, others register colour, etc. Finally we combine the information together so that we can see.

. We learn best through pictures, not through written or spoken words.


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