Neuroscience Hub
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Welcome to the Neuroscience of Elearning Hub — Brain sections and structures, neurons and synapses, substances, responses and resulting behavior.

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What do you make of the fact that educated beliefs of XIX and early XX Century linguists, more specifically semioticians the likes of Saussure, Barthes and Peirce, find allegedly sound basis on neuroscientific research available less than a couple years ago?

The facts of the case are simple. Stimuli reaches the brain through several inputs, from at least five different senses, each of them offering a different range and diversity of signals. Ultimately, however, those are processed at the same cognitive center, which also attempts to elicit “meaning” from them.

Time spent in the input and real-time perception of stimuli from one or more senses would be the driest, brain-based definition of experience. Experience determines preconceptions, tastes and other basis for the evaluation of ideas, concepts and newer experiences.

Cognitively speaking, an experience has an instant and a future value, which is always subjective. In an article for the Computers & Education Journal, researchers offer a layout to identify “distractions” during the learning experience. In this sense, a distraction can be defined by the effort or energy required by the brain to process a stimuli and their meaning.

So here’s the thought provoking idea: Distraction is a function of both diverse stimuli and their divergence in meaning.

Possible implications:

  • A higher level of focus or concentration could be a matter not only of limited sensory input, but of “meaningfully” harmonic or reinforcing stimuli.
  • If this is true, then the question that follows is what makes multi-sensory stimuli mutually helpful. Two different subjects may find the same two pieces of stimuli harmonic or distracting.
  • So far the assumption is that meaning —a subjective element— plays the role of determining how coordinated multi-sensory stimuli is. Further research is needed to understand the elements at work in the cognitive construction of meaning.

Pei-Luen Patrick Rau, Jian Zheng, Yi Wei. (2020) Distractive effect of multimodal information in multisensory learning, Computers & Education, Volume 144.

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