Behavior and Learning
A genius is built into every human brain. We are all benefactors
of a long lineage of survivors who have made the journey of life on
planet earth. The abilities built into us are wonders. Vision,
hearing, skilled movements, social interactions are innate wonders.
The more you consider and study these innate abilities, the more
wonderful they become. The genius modules are gifts and require no
effort and no formal education to use.
The catch is that to become a happy, useful modern human, you
have to learn the right things and make a sustained effort to do
well. Some of the systems in our brain that steer the genius modules
towards human desires and goals are newer, more variable, less
reliable and prone to error. These newer systems require declarative
and procedural learning and are dependent on memory.
Learning is dependent on the availability of innate programs that
organize and support the acquisition of skills and knowledge.
Intelligence can be equated with the ability to learn. The ability
to learn can be equated to the construction of the brain and to the
ongoing chemistry of life.
Learning modifies brain structure and function. A biological view
regards mental states and behavior as products of brain function.
Teaching is an intentional effort to constructively alter the brain
function of students in a lasting fashion. While information is the
pedagogical input to the student's brain, food and air may be
regarded as the main input of chemical information into the
student's body-brain system.
I instructed my young patients with above average IQs who were
not learning well that they were somewhat like a shiny new car with
a turbo-charged engine, but someone put the wrong gas in their tank
and now we are disappointed with their performance. You could get a
badly constructed car and be disappointed or you could be dealing
with the wrong gas -- in technical terms, the food supply and
environment that determines how well the child's brain is going to