BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR INSTITUTE 2003

Forum 4 - Of Two Minds ...
(Thoughts After Day 2)


Name:  Paul Grobstein
Username:  pgrobste@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Of two minds ...
Date:  2003-07-09 07:08:12
Message Id:  5870
Comments:
What thoughts/ideas/questions did our morning session yesterday raise in your mind? You can write about anything, but if you need a reminder/trigger, how about the following:

The Christopher Reeves observations we talked about yesterday suggest that the nervous system is organized so that one can sense inputs and generate outputs without being "aware" of either. What do you think of this "summary/story"? Are there other situations where this occurs (without major damage to the nervous system like a broken neck)? Is it relevant for thinking about education/classrooms?


Name:  Miss Geneva E. Tolliferreo, M.
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Two minds?
Date:  2003-07-09 09:21:48
Message Id:  5871
Comments:
Good Morning!
I am still not sold on this idea as we have identified it. However, I believe that actions/reactions occur independent of the brain realizing it. Or, does it recognize ways we have yet to identify? Nevertheless, I must recognize that there is a logical explanantion. We need not overlook the realm of The Highest Universal Force as a reason to be reckoned with.
Name:  carol
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  on chris reeve
Date:  2003-07-09 09:25:01
Message Id:  5872
Comments:
no comment today
Name:  W. Keith Sgrillo
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Superman
Date:  2003-07-09 09:25:29
Message Id:  5873
Comments:
This concept brings to mind involuntary muscle movements. The heart is a muscle that reacts without any conscious decisions. This also brings to mind the occasional muscle spasm in which the muscle is moving or convulsing and one can not stop it with conscious thought.

I find this facinating yet I am quite unsure as to how this understanding can be applied to the classroom.


Name:  
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Day 2
Date:  2003-07-09 09:34:15
Message Id:  5874
Comments:
Thoughts,ideas.questions---I was really impressed about the changes in technology from last year to this year. It is amazing how science progresses. What does this mean for education? One thing for sure--teachers need to be up on the lastest and need to keep coming to this workshop, need to get professional training(that is appropriate), abd need to keep learning themselves.

Now getting to Chris, I am thinking of other activities that we are not aware of. Here are some--sleep walking, dreaming, and more.

What does this have to do with education --well, [getting this less wrong] children may be able to learn without conscious participation. I'm not sure how this plays out. I guess I should make it a question.


Name:  Antoinette
Username:  tonisisco@aol.com
Subject:  July, 8 2003
Date:  2003-07-09 09:35:40
Message Id:  5875
Comments:
The 2 Brain thoery reminds me of the 3 brin theory of Frued's Id, Ego, and SuperEgo. There are things that we do automatically, over which we have have no control: ie perspiring when we get over heated, or beginning to shiver when too cold.
The concept that Christopher Reeves is in the rostal part of his brian that explians why a person who is an amputee (sp?) is still the same person they were before the diseased limb or limbs were removed. No one would say, or even believe that a person missing a limb was some how mentally impared, only because the limb was missing. Many times that person's self concept has to be adjusted.
I think about physical learning...How to ride a bike, type, play a sport, or sometimes even dialing a phone number...these at least for me are often happening without consciencely being aware of them. Unfortunatley, some times when I go to dial one number (mentally) I physically end up dialing another number. For a person just learing how to do these things, they have to consentrate on the process. Right now for me designiing a web page is something that takes a very conscious effort, maybe a month from now it will feel as natural as surfing the web.
Name:  Sheila Michael
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  The Brain
Date:  2003-07-09 09:36:10
Message Id:  5876
Comments:
Christopher Reeve exhibits a tenacity that parellels only to divine will. His determination to walk again is inspiration to all rehabilitation patients everywhere. I have a cousin who through a drug overdose died and was resuscitated to live in a coma--regained consciousness--within a month--only to have the life of a 10-13 year old. She has brain damage, and had to learn to walk and speak, feed herself, etc. much like a person who had suffered a stoke. It has been over ten years now and she can talk, walk and take care of herself with guidance and supervision.

? What state is the patient in--during a coma? Many patients can remember situations when they were comatose. Is the brain activity dormant or regenerating? Or a miracle?
P.S. In the N-E-W-s. . . .
A man has come-out of a coma after 19 years.


Name:  Joyce
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Two Minds?
Date:  2003-07-09 09:37:21
Message Id:  5877
Comments:
Involuntary responses of the nervous system are necessary to keep systems alive. We don't "tell" the heart to beat, we don't "tell" the lungs to take in air. However when they are not able to perform their function, our brain strugles to command them to work.

Sometimes students perform functions in the classroom as if they are on "automatic", such as writing worksheets or taking notes from the board. Students are not mentally engaged in this type of activity. Actually students LIKE this type of activity because they can remain brain-dead and it's EASIER for them than thinking. When I require them to be in groups and to question, explore, discuss and write an explanation; the students initially complain "What do you want us to say?" "Are we getting a grade for this?" You never said what we're supposed to write!"

By the middle of the year my students are comfortable with the process. They have stopped copying from each other because the "originator" knows that s/he will receive a zero with the rest of the copies. The students also know that they will get points for writing what they THINK, especially if it is backed up with the evidence from their explorations. I don't grade for spelling or style. As a final result, I am able to get an excellent sense my students depth of understaning from their logs.


Name:  Julie
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Yesterday's Stuff
Date:  2003-07-09 09:37:50
Message Id:  5878
Comments:
Are there other situations where this occurs (without major damage to the nervous system like a broken neck)? Is it relevant for thinking about education/classrooms?

Absolutely! It seems that every day school imputs information to kids. Do we get corresponding output? I think not! Sometimes "stuff goes in but doesn't come out". Likewise, kids' responses to stimuli sometimes far outweighs the stimuli- one kid nudges another accidentally -of course- and the other kid decks him/her.


Name:  Pam
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  
Date:  2003-07-09 09:38:09
Message Id:  5879
Comments:
The incident which effected Christopher Reeves has sparked a national debate over fatal tissue used for research purposes. My verdict is still pending on this matter. The concept of two brains dealing with neuron input and output impluses was comprehensible after reflecting on people who have been subjected to an immobile state. At frist, the theory of two minds automatically lead my to think of the conflicts between the id,ego, and superego. Wrong!

However, I can think of situations when completing a task felt robotic without any intellectual stimuli.


Name:  Regina Toscani
Username:  reginatoscani@hotmail.com
Subject:  2 minds ?
Date:  2003-07-09 09:38:53
Message Id:  5880
Comments:
Another possible example of having "2 minds" is when a person performs an activity without thinking about it. If an activity is routine, a person does not have to be conscious of doing the activity. Disassociation occurs and the mind is not processing sensory inputs, nor directing outputs.
In a more sever form of disassociation a person may not remember doing and saying things. For that person, the "I" Function is not engaged when the person is in a disassociated state.
A second possible example of "2 minds" is Tourette syndrome ( or other neurological disorder). The person does not want to tic yet is unable to stop it.
Name:  Mo
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Nervous System
Date:  2003-07-09 09:39:21
Message Id:  5882
Comments:
One example that comes to mind when mentioning Chris Reeves would be stroke victims. My dad is a diabetic. He had two minor strokes with damage to his nervous system. Currently he complains of no feeling in the bottom of his feet and has poor management of bodily functions. He doesn't like to stand because his feet slide from under him. When it is time to use the potty he says it just came out. He is not a quadriplegic and has been seen by a nuerologist. It seems as if some days he is very coherent and other days he is out of it. The doctor confirms that he has some damage to his nervous system. Can it get better or do I clean poop forever!
Name:  John Dalton
Username:  JD5258875@aol.com
Subject:  awareness/unawareness
Date:  2003-07-09 09:39:34
Message Id:  5883
Comments:
Yesterday's discussion lead me to consider the question of where do you place your focus. We have spent a lot of time focusing upon diversity as a consequence of the extent to which each organism is individually different and unique. It's all in the wiring, the distictive organization of neurons. While this divergence is inescapably true, what I find even more remarkable is how much convergence operates. Humans are remarkably similar. It's all about one's point of view.
With regard to the issue of two minds, it's clear that we possess both a conscious and an unconscious mind. In fact, I would argue that our conscious processing represents just a small portion of our overall functioning. Most of what our organism does goes by without being noticed by what I think of as "me". It's not unlike the old distinction between body and soul. What Christopher Reeve's injury establishes is that our soul is located above the neck. There's a little "homunculus" that engages in reflection. The question that begs answering is whether this "soul", individuality persisting over time can be nailed down to a specific area, say the neocortex, our language center.
Name:  Antoinette
Username:  tonisisco@aol.com
Subject:  Cont...
Date:  2003-07-09 09:40:17
Message Id:  5884
Comments:
How this relates to teaching is that we need to help students develop multiple pathways to learn and demonstrate learning. Book reports for a student who has difficultly writing may not be the most appropriate way to demonstrate learning...maybe a student created puppet show is a "better" way, which allows physical learning to be demonstrated.
Name:  Linda M
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  linda m / wed AM
Date:  2003-07-09 09:40:36
Message Id:  5885
Comments:
When your hand accidentally touches something hot, it automatically withdraws itself without bothering to consult with the main brain. Perhaps it's akin to the second nerve mass that some dinosaurs had to manage their back ends which were so far from their front ends.

Re implications in educational settings--I often see students do things that appear not to have originated from their upper brain. Actually I don't see the independent actions of the lower body/spinal cord as being a second mind. Rather I see the upper brain as the seat of our multiple minds. I observe students doing and saying things that show forethought and insight and then I see them do something that seems like the mental equivalent of a knee jerk reaction.


Name:  Pam
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  spelling error
Date:  2003-07-09 09:42:18
Message Id:  5886
Comments:
Spelling correction: fetal
Name:  Lois
Username:  loismackey@yahoo.com
Subject:  Response to yesterday's discussion
Date:  2003-07-09 09:44:11
Message Id:  5887
Comments:
Yesterday,s day session was very interesting. I find that each session has only open the door to entertain that of more questions.
The Chistopher Reeves observations in relation to the nervous system was a very interesting story. And although I personally am unable to recall any incidence where something of this nature has occur to someone personally that I know, I am more then certain that I have heard this subject address at sometime or another.
I do believe this that some of this need to be address in our classrooms. Our children have the tendency to ruff play in their no harm type games.
Name:  Randal Holly
Username:  kr092389@aol.com
Subject:  Reeves
Date:  2003-07-09 10:04:41
Message Id:  5888
Comments:
There is far too much available stimuli in the world for a human to be consciously aware of it all. Perhaps an organism seeks to be pragmatic about selecting which available stimuli it chooses to acknowledge. Perhaps there exists a genetic predisposition that requires this selection process to be done to the specific benefit of the organism. It may be that learning represents a continual improvement upon this selection process.
Name:  
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Today, before lunch.
Date:  2003-07-09 12:11:00
Message Id:  5889
Comments:
Why do children, who are victims of alcohol and/or drugs during conception, and gestation, act out in negative ways as oppossed to positive? Does this have anything to do , in part, with the school of thought that alcohol and drugs are a bad influence? If not, then what is the explanation and how/why does the brain always process/manifest the negative and not the positive?
Name:  Antoinette
Username:  tonisisco@aol.com
Subject:  July 9, am
Date:  2003-07-09 12:29:59
Message Id:  5890
Comments:
The discussion of the morning was and remains stimulating. Why, as educators who are seemingly open to accept the Nuerobiological explaination so "afraid" of the exsistance and workings of GOD?

Sometimems as people present thier points of view from the scientific perspective, they treat people who beileve in GOD as if the witches in Salem, MA, back in the 1600's.

If it is better teaching practices that we want, why not accept that could be some things for which we may never be able to fully understand?
And others still that we may only have a limited understanding of...or the stories we currently tell.


Name:  Paul Grobstein
Username:  pgrobste@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  for Antoinette
Date:  2003-07-09 19:07:50
Message Id:  5892
Comments:
Nobody should EVER dismiss people as defective for ANY reason (as per Culture and Disability). At the same time, it is worth noting that in this particular case the disabling has historically gone in both directions, and still does (cf. On Being a Lonely Atheist).

That said, let's agree that what HAS been does not forever HAVE to be. Serendip has a section for people who feel they have been discouraged from telling stories that include concepts like God, so their stories can be clearly heard by others (Science and Spirit). And I personally am more than willing to agree that "there are some things we have only a limited understanding of" (indeed, I'm SURE of it; its fundamental to the "getting it less" wrong principle). And I'm also more than willing to believe I can learn from other people's stories, whether they include the word God or not (cf. How to Get Through the Veil).

Where there may be an interesting difference in our stories (perhaps useful to both of us to see in getting it less wrong?) is the idea that there may be some things "which we may never be able to fully understand". I'm fully prepared to admit that as a "possibility" but very much disinclined to accept it as a starting point ... and even more disinclined to have people specify for others (or themselves) particular things that should not even be examined to see if they can be "understood". Is that a meaningful difference between us, one that would incline us to make different choices in education (or in life)? If so, we have some more things to talk about. If not, we're pretty much in the same place, the words we use notwithstanding.


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