360° Coverage : Researchers figure out why some are slow learners

Researchers figure out why some are slow learners

Berlin, Feb 14 (IANS) Researchers have figured out why some people are slow learners -- their brain may not be able to process information sufficiently.

Feb 14 2013, 2:10am CST | by

Researchers figure out why some are slow learners
Photo Credit: ROSLAN RAHMAN, Getty Images

Berlin, Feb 14 — Researchers have figured out why some people are slow learners -- their brain may not be able to process information sufficiently.

Scientists trained the subjects' sense of touch to be more sensitive.

In subjects who responded well to the training, the EEG (Electroencephalography) revealed characteristic changes in brain activity, more specifically in the alpha waves.

These alpha waves show, among other things, how effectively the brain exploits the sensory information needed for learning.

"An exciting question now is to what extent the alpha activity can be deliberately influenced with biofeedback," said Hubert Dinse from the Neural Plasticity Lab of the Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, who led the study.

"This could have enormous implications for therapy after brain injury or, quite generally, for the understanding of learning processes," Dinse was quoted as saying in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The research team from the Ruhr-Universitat, the Humboldt Universitat zu Berlin, Charite-Universitatsmedizin Berlin, and the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences were involved in the findings, according to a statement of Ruhr-Universitat Bochum.

How well we learn depends on genetic aspects, the individual brain anatomy, and, not least, on attention.

"In recent years we have established a procedure with which we trigger learning processes in people that do not require attention," said Dinse.

The researchers were, therefore, able to exclude attention as a factor. They repeatedly stimulated the participants' sense of touch for 30 minutes by electrically stimulating the skin of the hand.

Before and after this passive training, they tested the so-called "two-point discrimination threshold," a measure of the sensitivity of touch.

For this, they applied gentle pressure to the hand with two needles and determined the smallest distance between the needles at which the patient still perceived them as separate stimuli.

On average, the passive training improved the discrimination threshold by 12 percent - but not in all of the 26 participants.

Using EEG, the team studied why some people learned better than others.

The results, therefore, suggest that perception-based learning is highly dependent on how accessible the sensory information is.

The alpha activity, as a marker of constantly changing brain states, modulates this accessibility.

IANS

Source: IANS

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/8" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Luigi is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at ml@i4u.com. Luigi posts regularly on LuigiMe.com about his experience running I4U.

 

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