Brain Power: Comparing A Child’s Brain To The Internet (video) High Quality
Early experiences affect the development of brain architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health. Just as a weak foundation compromises the quality and strength of a house, adverse experiences early in life can impair brain architecture, with negative effects lasting into adulthood.
Brain Power: Comparing a child’s brain to the Internet (video)
Brains are built over time, from the bottom up. The basic architecture of the brain is constructed through an ongoing process that begins before birth and continues into adulthood. Simpler neural connections and skills form first, followed by more complex circuits and skills. In the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections form every second.* After this period of rapid proliferation, connections are reduced through a process called pruning, which allows brain circuits to become more efficient.
Brain architecture is comprised of billions of connections between individual neurons across different areas of the brain. These connections enable lightning-fast communication among neurons that specialize in different kinds of brain functions. The early years are the most active period for establishing neural connections, but new connections can form throughout life and unused connections continue to be pruned. Because this dynamic process never stops, it is impossible to determine what percentage of brain development occurs by a certain age. More importantly, the connections that form early provide either a strong or weak foundation for the connections that form later.
Cognitive, emotional, and social capacities are inextricably intertwined throughout the life course. The brain is a highly integrated organ and its multiple functions operate in coordination with one another. Emotional well-being and social competence provide a strong foundation for emerging cognitive abilities, and together they are the bricks and mortar of brain architecture. The emotional and physical health, social skills, and cognitive-linguistic capacities that emerge in the early years are all important for success in school, the workplace, and in the larger community.
Toxic stress weakens the architecture of the developing brain, which can lead to lifelong problems in learning, behavior, and physical and mental health. Experiencing stress is an important part of healthy development. Activation of the stress response produces a wide range of physiological reactions that prepare the body to deal with threat. However, when these responses remain activated at high levels for significant periods of time, without supportive relationships to help calm them, toxic stress results. This can impair the development of neural connections, especially in the areas of the brain dedicated to higher-order skills.
The researchers found that the children who reported playing video games for three or more hours per day were faster and more accurate on both cognitive tasks than those who never played. They also observed that the differences in cognitive function observed between the two groups was accompanied by differences in brain activity. Functional MRI brain imaging analyses found that children who played video games for three or more hours per day showed higher brain activity in regions of the brain associated with attention and memory than did those who never played. At the same time, those children who played at least three hours of videogames per day showed more brain activity in frontal brain regions that are associated with more cognitively demanding tasks and less brain activity in brain regions related to vision.
The researchers think these patterns may stem from practicing tasks related to impulse control and memory while playing videogames, which can be cognitively demanding, and that these changes may lead to improved performance on related tasks. Furthermore, the comparatively low activity in visual areas among children who reported playing video games may reflect that this area of the brain may become more efficient at visual processing as a result of repeated practice through video games.
This brain remodelling happens intensively during adolescence, continuing until your child is in their mid-20s. Brain change depends on age, experience and hormonal changes in puberty.
Because the prefrontal cortex is still developing, teenagers might rely on a part of the brain called the amygdala to make decisions and solve problems more than adults do. The amygdala is associated with emotions, impulses, aggression and instinctive behaviour.
During adolescence, sleep patterns change because of hormonal changes in the brain. But children still need plenty of sleep for their overall health and development, including their brain development.
Fuhrmann, D., Knoll, L.J., & Blakemore, S-J. (2015). Adolescence as a sensitive period of brain development. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19(10), 558-566. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2015.07.008. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2015.07.008.
The driving forces that sustain the set structural patterns of social networks, even when faced with the immense connective potential of the online world, may be broadly explained by two overlapping mechanisms. First, constraints on social cognition within the human brain seem to carry over across social contexts66. For instance, humans struggle to engagingly interact with more than three individuals simultaneously in the real world, and this limitation on attention also appears to apply online90, 91. This evidence is in agreement with the hypothesis that circumventing the cognitive constraints on social relationships may be difficult even when technology affords unnatural opportunities to do so88.
With more children surviving a brain tumor, insight into the late effects of the disease and treatment is of high importance. This study focused on profiling the neurocognitive functions that might be affected after treatment for a pediatric brain tumor, using a broad battery of computerized tests. Predictors that may influence neurocognitive functioning were also investigated. A total of 82 pediatric brain tumor survivors (PBTSs) aged 8-18 years (M = 13.85, SD = 3.15, 49% males) with parent-reported neurocognitive complaints were compared to a control group of 43 siblings (age M = 14.27, SD = 2.44, 40% males) using linear mixed models. Neurocognitive performance was assessed using measures of attention, processing speed, memory, executive functioning, visuomotor integration (VMI), and intelligence. Tumor type, treatment, tumor location, hydrocephalus, gender, age at diagnosis, and time since diagnosis were entered into regression analyzes as predictors for neurocognitive functioning. The PBTSs showed slower processing speeds and lower intelligence (range effect sizes .71-.82, p
They found that when teenagers viewed their Instagram feed, the reward system of their brain activated. Bagot and others believe that electronic devices can stimulate the release of dopamine, a brain chemical involved in cravings and desire.
5. Emphasize the big three: sleep, healthy nutrition, and exercise. All three are essential to optimal brain growth and development and health and wellness for children and adults alike. And excessive screen time can impact all three. Children who spend more time in front of screens have been shown to eat more fast food and less fruits and vegetables and get less sleep and exercise. Therefore, it is very important to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices as part of the daily routine, as well as limiting screen time.
Screen time can be engaging for people of all ages. This is because their brains process and react to the sensory input as if it were happening to them. For example, many people have cried, laughed or been startled while watching a movie. This same type of engagement is possible when a person plays a video game.
While playing a video game, the person's brain processes the scenario as if it were real. If the game depicts a dangerous or violent situation, the gamer's body reacts accordingly. This "fight-or-flight response" to that perceived danger is triggered by exposure to intense stimulation and violence in the game. Excessive video game use can lead to the brain being revved up in a constant state of hyperarousal.
So why does this happen? The reward center in the brain releases dopamine in response to a pleasurable experience or hyperarousal. If a person experiences hyperarousal while playing video games, the brain associates the activity with dopamine. The person develops a strong drive to seek out that same pleasure again and again.
Dopamine is a powerful neurotransmitter in the brain. It helps sustain people's interest and attention, which is why it can hard for people to tear themselves away from a situation or behavior. It's also self-reinforcing. The more times people experience the behavior, the more dopamine is released, and the more driven they are to return to the behavior.
The average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but according to a new study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the affects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain.
Researchers in Canada surveyed 2,000 participants and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (EEGs). Microsoft found that since the year 2000 (or about when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds.