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Learning The interaction of the Prefrontal Cortex, the Hippocampus, the Amygdala, and Cortisol.

PART ONE: Basic intake of information. The PREFRONTAL CORTEX decides what to pay attention to. Toss balls. PREFRONTAL CORTEX catches some in a bucket – these are the items paid attention to. Rest = sensory input that is ignored.

THEN: Selective attention. If you decide to pay attention to something, you are more likely to “catch” it. This is why you need to know the objectives and essential questions upfront – you know what to pay attention to. Instruct PREFRONTAL CORTEX to try and catch the PINK BALL. Toss many balls, randomly and at once.


PART TWO: Hanging onto information (remembering). This information is then sent to the HIPPOCAMPUS to be further filtered and prepared for storage. HIPPOCAMPUS (student) stands 20+ feet away with a bucket. The

PREFRONTAL CORTEX tosses balls (using their bucket as the launcher) to the HIPPOCAMPUS who tries to catch them. Those caught now may become memories.

PART THREE: Making learning easier through connections. In order to make learning/remembering easier, CONNECTIONS between the PREFRONTAL CORTEX and HIPPOCAMPUS can be developed and used. Several CONNECTIONS stand between the PREFRONTAL CORTEX and

HIPPOCAMPUS. They toss/hand pass the balls to the HIPPOCAMPUS, thus the information is more likely to make it to the HIPPOCAMPUS.


PART FOUR: The interplay of emotions and learning. When you are interested and happy to learn, learning is made easier by the AMYGDALA. The AMYGDALA moves the PREFRONTAL CORTEX and the

HIPPOCAMPUS closer, stands next to the HIPPOCAMPUS, and helps to catch balls tossed from the PREFRONTAL CORTEX.

When you are upset and/or emotionally negative, learning is made harder by the AMYGDALA. The AMYGDALA moves the PREFRONTAL CORTEX and the

HIPPOCAMPUS farther apart, and won’t help catch balls tossed from the PREFRONTAL CORTEX, all the while whining to the HIPPOCAMPUS trying to keep their attention from the balls without interfering.


PART FIVE: Add in stress. When you are stressed (especially long term), CORTISOL builds up and interferes with learning. The AMYGDALA again stands near the HIPPOCAMPUS, not helping but whining. CORTISOL jumps in between all of the others and actively prevents balls from reaching the HIPPOCAMPUS.

Demo - Learning  

How anxiety and focus impact learning