Sensory Learning (Part 1)
AROUSAL: Successful sensory processing (gathering info thru the senses) is strongly linked to emotional well-being, & is governed by the ’Sensory Threshold’ – our point of initial contact with a stimulus. ‘For most of us, this threshold is high enough that we can tolerate the complexity & stimulation in our environment, and low enough that we can notice the new input & subtle changes around us.’ (INSIDE OUT slideshow — #21)
A suitable amount of sensation allows us to achieve & maintain optimal arousal levels* (see Inside Out slide #18).
* ‘Level of Arousal’ can be described as a function of alertness, situational awareness, vigilance, level of distraction, stress and direction of attention. In effect, how ready a person is to perform appropriate tasks in a timely and effective manner. 2 Types of arousal:
• Top-down (cortical inhibition) – uses strategies such as thinking & self-talk to stay on task
• Bottom Up (cerebellum inhibition) – heavy work with muscles & joints, which regulates arousal & so promotes focus & attention
LOW arousal can show up as depressed emotions, will limit general interactions & the formation of primary attachments (parents, mates, children, friends….)
— Extreme under-arousal can cause unconsciousness, possibly from tiredness, fatigue, hypoxia, poisoning or illnesses.
HIGH arousal can show up as hypersensitivity to too much input, such as noise, touch, crowds, uncomfortable in one’s own skin….. Also, lowered self-confidence, feeling inadequate, constantly frustrated…..
— Extreme over-arousal can be seen in a range of symptoms that will be peculiar to the individual, the environment, the task and other factors. This may include: panic, aggression, submission, resignation, withdrawal, irrational behavior, mood swings, as well as unconsciousness. (MORE….)
Learning STYLES vs MULTIPLE Intelligences (MI)
Both are considered ways we learn. However,
• Learning Styles identifies the broad-strokes-way we gather & store information, using our 5 senses, while —
— the 9 MIs (See posts) identify specific ways we express ourselves, having absorbed information via the various senses. (MORE…… excellent comparison)
Learning Styles identify how each of us are most comfortable learning & retaining new information. They indicate how we gather, sift through, interpret, organize, come to conclusions about, & “store” information for further use. Everyone has their own mixture of strengths & preferences, but usually one is dominant.
Info gathered thru our specific style (the sensory input) changes the way we internally represent our experiences & the way we recall info, even to the words we choose. Knowing which style we prefer allows for more efficient & effective ways to gather knowledge, whether formally like in school, or in our daily lives in relationships & at work.
Research shows that each learning style uses different parts of the brain. By involving more of the brain during learning, we remember more of what we learn. FAST learners incorporate all 3 main modalities (eyes, ears, body). Even so, it’s important to know which is our dominant style, use that info to excel, & compensate for those that are less developed.
Brain-imaging technologies have found the key areas of the brain responsible for each style:
Aural: Temporal lobes handle aural content. The right lobe is especially important for music
Logical: Parietal lobes, especially the left side, drive logical thinking
Physical: Cerebellum & the motor cortex (at the back of the frontal lobe) handle much of our physical movement.
Social: Frontal & Temporal lobes handle much of our social activities. The Limbic system (along with the Hippocampus) also influences both social & solitary styles, as it has a lot to do with emotions, moods & aggression
Solitary: Frontal and Parietal lobes, & the limbic system are involved
Verbal: Temporal & Frontal lobes, especially two specialized areas called Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas (left side of these two lobes).
Visual: Occipital lobes at the back of the brain manage the visual sense. Both Occipital & parietal lobes manage spatial orientation.
NEXT: Sensory Learning (Part 3)