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How Does Biology Influence Learning

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Biological Processes That Affect Associative Learning

Biological and Environmental Influences on Intelligence | Psychology

While many extrinsic factors can influence learning, biological processes can affect associative learning.

Learning and memory are two processes that work together in shaping behavior, and it is impossible to discuss how learning is processed in the brain without discussing memory. Certain synaptic connections develop in the brain when a memory is formed. Short-term memory lasts for seconds to hours, and can potentially be converted into long-term memory through a process called consolidation. Newly acquired information is temporarily stored in short-term memory and can be transferred into long-term memory under the right conditions.

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What Can Cause A Person To Change Their Personality

Epilepsy, a kind of seizure disorder where brain cells fire off at inappropriate times, can also lead to personality changes, such as depression and anxiety. As you can see, whether it be a disease, pain, or simple hunger, our biological makeup or our biological imbalances can definitely influence our personalities.

How does nature and nurture influence personality traits?

In the article Nature over nurture: Temperament, personality, and life span development the author argues that personality traits, like temperament, are endogenous dispositions that follow intrinsic paths and are and do not rely on environmental influences.

Conditioning Involves Learning Predictive Relations

Pavlov was studying the salivation reflex, reflexive drooling in response to food placed in the mouth. A reflex is an innate, adaptive, genetically built-in stimulus-response relationship in this case, the stimulus is food in the mouth, the unconditioned or unconditional stimulus , and the unconditional response is salivation to food in the mouth which lubricates the food and starts to break it down, facilitating mastication, swallowing, and digestion–the adaptive function of the salivation reflex .

Recall that Pavlov found that if he rang a bell just before feeding his dogs, the dogs came to associate the sound of the bell with the coming presentation of food. Thus, after this classical conditioning had occurred, the bell alone caused the dog to salivate, before the presentation of food. The conditional stimulus is a signal that has no importance to the organism until it is paired with something that does have adaptive significance, in this case, food. Reliable pairing of CS and US close together in time is important to the processes of classical conditioning. However, temporal contiguity alone is not sufficient for classical conditioning. The pairing of stimuli must be reliable so that a predictive relationship is maintained between CS and US. Predictiveness between CS and US determines whether or not an association is formed. If the CS does not predict occurrence of the US, no conditioning occurs .

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What Role Can Biological Research Play In Interpreting And Refining Intervention Research

This paper examined how a comprehensive understanding of geneenvironment interplay can help explain individual differences in outcomes of educational interventions. In what follows, we suggest how biological research can be used to reconceptualise the effects of educational interventions.

The expectation that education can narrow the distribution of educational outcomes ignores the fact that the biological mechanisms , that support learning across development, generate individual differences. Indeed, previous research that has used GWAS, GPS, geneenvironment correlations, and geneenvironment interaction methodologies to predict educational attainment has resulted in a large body of evidence that indicates that biological predispositions are directly linked to individual differences in educational outcomes. This means that equalizing the educational environment will not eliminate individual differences in educational achievement. Therefore, we must reconceptualise how we evaluate educational attainment. This is necessary in order to implement realistic and compassionate educational expectations and policies.

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Cognition In Instrumental Learning


Habituation, classical conditioning, and operant conditioning are just three types of learning. Each contributes to adaptation and increases biological fitness . There are many other types of learning as well, often quite specialized to perform a particular biological function. These specialized forms of learning, also known as adaptive specializations of learning, have been studied mostly by ethologists and behavioral biologists, but biological psychologists are becoming increasingly interested in such forms of learning and their importance. For instance, psychologists have studied one of these specialized forms of learning, taste aversion learning, extensively. In addition to this form, we will now also examine adaptive specializations of learning involved in bird navigation by the stars during migration, bee navigation by the sun, and acquisition of bird song, which some researchers have compared to human language acquisition.

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What Are The Biological Constraints Of Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning principles, we now know, are constrained by biological predispositions, so that learning some associations is easier than learning others. Learning is adaptive: Each species learns behaviors that aid its survival. Biological constraints also place limits on operant conditioning.

Albert Bandura And The Bobo

Bobo-doll experiment : The Bobo-doll experiment was conducted by Albert Bandura in 1961 and studied patterns of behavior associated with aggression. Bandura hoped that the experiment would prove that aggression can be explained, at least in part, by social learning theory. The theory of social learning states that behavior such as aggression is learned through observing and imitating others.

One of the first recorded instances of observational learning in research was the 1961 study performed by Albert Bandura. This experiment demonstrated that children can learn merely by observing the behavior of a social model, and that observing reinforcement of the models behavior could affect whether or not a behavior was emulated. Bandura believed that humans are cognitive beings who, unlike animals, are likely to think about the links between their behavior and its consequences, and more likely to be influenced by what they believe will happen than by actual experience.

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Mirror Neurons And Observational Learning

A mirror neuron is a nerve cell that fires both when performing an action or when observing another perform that same action. Mirror neurons are located throughout the in the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes. This circuitry enables imitation, language learning, and empathy.

Mirror were discovered in the frontal lobes of monkeys by Italian neuroscientist Giacomo Rizzolatti in the 1980s. Rizzolatti and his team were studying brain activity using implanted electrodes while monkeys performed activities such as reaching for a peanut. Researchers noticed that when monkeys watched them reach for objects, the same neurons became active as when the monkeys reached for objects themselves. Using similar techniques, they and other research teams discovered mirror neurons that activate both when monkeys experienced emotions and when they observed the same emotions in others.

Mirror Neuron Circuitry in Humans

What Are The 2 Main Influences On Personality

Study biology at Nord university

Heredity and environment are the two factors that form your personality.

How is personality developed?

Personality is formed by the ongoing interaction of temperament, character, and environment. Socialization The process by which new members of a social group are integrated in the group. Temperament A persons natural disposition or inborn combination of mental and emotional traits.

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Interplay Of Genes And Environment: Implications For Adults

For adults who work with children, it is important to recognize that nature and nurture are not parallel tracks. Instead, the tracks are woven together and influence each other’s pathways in ways that may vary greatly depending on the individual child. The adaptations that occur as a result of these mutual interactions mean that the early experiences and early learning environments that adults provide can affect all domains of human development.

In sum, a new and promising body of research is producing evidence, in both animal and human studies, that many variations in human developmental and educational trajectories have early origins in early childhood are the products of geneenvironment interplay and influence developing neural circuits and processes that are directly linked to long-term trajectories of health, disease, and life achievement . This research may signal a period of remarkable progress in understanding the extensive interplay among social environments, genes, and epigenetic processes and how genetic and environmental variations converge in typical and atypical development .

Relevance And Appropriate Assessment

Researchers in educational psychology are careful to note that because learning is a developmental process, presentation of interdisciplinary content or complex real-world problems needs careful consideration, and this extends to assessment of student learning outcomes. In this regard, educators should be mindful of the specific outcomes they hope to achieve through interdisciplinary learning. Hierarchical scaffolding, such as Bloom’s Taxonomy, allows instructors to match resources and assignments to specific types of learning, while performance assessments more directly measure a student’s ability to evaluate and choose among diverse perspectives or methodological approaches to solve a problem .

In large-sized classes, where exams are used to evaluate student learning, social context and history can be integrated with more traditional lines of questioning. For example, an exam on the principles of evolution can ask students to address the contributions or challenges from other disciplines to the theory of evolution. By asking students to recall the individuals and theories that challenge Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace’s proposed mechanisms of evolution, they are reminded that biological knowledge is constructed by people, and that theories and proposed mechanisms continue to shift over time.

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What Are The Influences Of Personality

There are three main influences on personality development that we are going to look at in this lesson. Those are heredity, environment, and situation. Heredity: This refers to the influences on your personality that you are born with. They are in your genes and there is not much you can do to change these traits.

Do genetics affect personality?

Overall, genetics has more influence than parents do on shaping our personality. Molecular genetics is the study of which genes are associated with which personality traits. The largely unknown environmental influences, known as the nonshared environmental effects, have the largest impact on personality.

The Corporal Self In Cognition

Child Growth and Development.

A Sea of Hormones. Recent research on consciousness, most notably by Antonio Damasio, suggests that our attention and arousal systems emerge from complex interactions between the central nervous system and chemical activators that surge continually throughout the body. Even the title of his book on this topic, The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness , hints at a revolutionary perspective on the role of the corporal self in cognition. Sure, we still need the cognitive and language areas of the brain to recall facts and manipulate variables as we solve problems. But the emotions are essential players in the attention system and, by direct consequence, in the learning system. Without emotions, we would not engage ourselves in, or for that matter even recognize, the problems at hand.

Here is an example: If you narrowly miss striking a child on a bicycle who has veered in front of your car, for 20 minutes after the event, your heart pounds, your muscles shake, and your anxiety levels remain high. You are so distracted, you might miss your turn into the offices parking lot. This disturbance to your equilibrium results from your adrenal glands releasing a tiny amount of epinephrine into your system. This hormone produces a state of mind and a level of physical readiness that enable you to take evasive action, but it leaves you with a bit of a hangover.

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Neuroscience And How Students Learn

This article is based on a talk by Daniela Kaufer, associate professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, for the GSI Teaching & Research Centers How Students Learn series in Spring 2011.

On this page:

  • From the point of view of neurobiology, learning involves changing the brain.
  • Moderate stress is beneficial for learning, while mild and extreme stress are detrimental to learning.
  • Adequate sleep, nutrition, and exercise encourage robust learning.
  • Active learning takes advantage of processes that stimulate multiple neural connections in the brain and promote memory.

Genetics And Educational Achievement

In the context of the present discussion, these data provide compelling evidence that the common assumption that nurture can eliminate individual differences in a population contradicts the biological mechanism associated with learning. Indeed, although the experience of educational interventions certainly affects educational outcome measures, individual differences in ability cannot be entirely attributed to the educational environment. This is due to the fact that biological factors play a key role in explaining individual differences in academic achievement. Therefore, the relation between genes and educational achievement further highlights the need to conceptualize the distinction between the two goals of educational interventions, namely, to shift the mean and narrow the distribution.

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Biological Preparedness And Classical Conditioning

Shereen Lehman, MS, is a healthcare journalist and fact checker. She has co-authored two books for the popular Dummies Series .

Biological preparedness is the idea that people and animals are inherently inclined to form associations between certain stimuli and responses. This concept plays an important role in learning, particularly in understanding the classical conditioning process.

Some associations form easily because we are predisposed to form such connections, while other associations are much more difficult to form because we are not naturally predisposed to form them.

For example, it has been suggested that biological preparedness explains why certain types of phobias tend to form more easily. We tend to develop a fear of things that may pose a threat to our survival, such as heights, spiders, and snakes. Those who learned to fear such dangers more readily were more likely to survive and reproduce.

Laws For Children With Disabilities

What is epigenetics? Overview

Two laws exist to help ensure that children with learning disabilities receive the same level of education as children without disabilities: IDEA and Section 504. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides federal funding to states to be put toward the educational needs of children with disabilities. IDEA, which covers 13 categories of disability, has two main components: Free and Appropriate Public Education and an Individual Education Program . In addition to the disabilities listed above, IDEA covers deaf-blindness, deafness, developmental delays, hearing impairments, emotional disturbance, orthopedic or other health impairment, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment .

The Free and Appropriate Public Education component of IDEA makes it mandatory for schools to provide free and appropriate education to all students, regardless of intellectual level and disability. FAPE is defined as an educational program that is individualized for a specific child, designed to meet that childs unique needs, and from which the child receives educational benefit. An Individual Education Program is developed for each child who receives special education each plan consists of individualized goals for the child to work toward, and these plans are re-evaluated annually. Section 504

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Sickle Cell Anemia: Multiple Points Of Connection

Though sickle cell anemia is used to illustrate a variety of complex biological concepts in a variety of courses , few biology courses place this topic in broad social context. Developmental gene regulation, genotypephenotype relationships, protein polymerization, cooperative binding, and balanced polymorphisms as they relate to evolution can all be illustrated using SCA as an example. But without the social context, students may leave the classroom with misconceptions about allele frequency and distribution, and believe that these concepts are of little importance in the real world. We can use the social history surrounding the development of the molecular diagnostic for SCA and its subsequent use in genetic screening programs in the United States as a vehicle to teach these biological concepts. By doing so, we strengthen the connection between these different biological concepts, and we also demonstrate how biology taken out of social context can lead to widescale social injustice.

There should be tattooed on the forehead of every young person, a symbol showing possession of the sickle cell gene two young people carrying the same seriously defective gene in single dose from falling in love with one another.

Linus Pauling

Resources for the people of biology

Interactions Among Biological And Environmental Factors

It is important to remember that biological factors do not act in isolation. Genes, for example, can interact both with other genes and the environment. Some genes may dominate and prevent others from being expressed. In other cases, certain biological influences might impact genetic expression.

An example of biological influence over gene expression is a child not getting proper nutrition. The child might not grow tall, even though they have inherited genes for height.

In order to understand child development, it is essential to consider all the many factors that may play a role. Healthy development is not the result of a single influence.

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The Alignment And Misalignment Between The Goals And The Effects Of Education

Educational outcome measures, such as standardized tests of reading and mathematics, capture variability in performance that falls along a normal distribution in the population. This normal distribution describes how children within a population vary along an outcome of interest . This means that an individual childs ability has a relative position compared to the other individuals in the population. The relative positions of an educational outcome measure for children in a population is referred to as the rank order., There are two main goals of early educational intervention programs: one goal is to help all children improve their scores . The other goal is to reduce the achievement gap between children on low and high ends of the distribution . Though a laudable goal, early educational interventions may not actually narrow the distribution of educational attainment because they do not eliminate individual differences within populations,,,, as pointed out by Scarr and McCartney:

Fig. 1

Aims of educational interventions are to shift the mean and narrow the gap of educational attainment outcomes. a Normal distribution of educational attainment. b Shift the mean. c Narrow the distribution to reduce the achievement gap between children on low and high ends of the distribution

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