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The Neuroscience of Adult Learning (Look inside at Amazon). Now it is possible through brain imaging to trace brain pathways during various learning tasks. Therefore we can better judge the types of learning environments most likely to succeed. Topics explored in this book include:

  • basic brain architecture and "executive" functions of the brain
  • how learning can "repair" the effects of psychological trauma
  • effects of stress and emotions on learning
  • centrality of experience to learning and the construction of knowledge
  • mentor–learner relationships
  • intersections between best practices in adult learning and current neurobiological discoveries

Emotional Intelligence: Daniel Golman believes that intellectual skills are only part of the story of a successful person. "People with well developed emotional skills are also more likely to be content and effective in their lives, mastering the habits of mind that foster their own productivity; people who cannot marshal some control over their emotional life fight inner battles that sabotage their ability for focused work and clear thought." (Goleman, 1995: 36) Listen to him elaborate on video on his webpage. The centrality of emotions: Recent research from neurobiology and psychology has revealed that one cannot reason or make good decisions without being in touch with one's feelings.

The Art of Changing the Brain - James Zull, Professor of Biology and Biochemistry at Case Western University, Director of UCITE (The University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education). Zull has added a biological substrate to David Kolb’s Learning Cycle framework. (See Learning Styles page). Zull describes how products of the mind - thought, emotions, creativity - are the result of the interactions of the biological brain with our senses and the physical world.

Transformative learning theory: A neurobiological perspective of the role of emotions and unconscious ways of knowing. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 2006, 20(3), 218–236. Read a short review of Edward Taylor's paper.

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The Brain and Creativity Institute was founded by Antonio and Hanna Damasio in 2006. Recent technological advances in brain imaging and fresh insights into the functioning of the human brain, provide new opportunities for uncovering the neurological underpinnings for many mental functions – from emotion and decision-making to innovation and creativity. View video clip of Damasio discussing emotions.

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Learning & the Brain in the News

Learn about about the hot topics soon to be debated on the international scene - 'Memory and Mind', 'How the digital age is altering students' brains' and 'The Science of Success - 'Learning and the Brain' Society conferences in San Francisco, New York and Chicago in 2011.

View Discovery video clip (5 min) on emotions, neurons and neurotransmitters.. For more information, links and video clips on Neuroscience and Learning go to the the BrainPower website.

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Val Bissland, Strathclyde University