Synaptic Plasticity and learning techniques | Coursera Community
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Synaptic Plasticity and learning techniques

  • 22 July 2020
  • 8 replies

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Hi everyone!

I’ve doing research on cognitive science and neuroscience. One of my life goals is to have a positive impact in the school system by employing learning techniques which have been backed up by research and by linking new neuroscience research to create better learning methodologies.

During my medical studies, I’ve seen that an important part of the medical attention resides in teaching our patients medical concepts so that they may take informed decisions. To me, learning is not only important in school, but in every aspect of our lives.

The learning process is very important in neurological, psychiatric and psychological disorders, since many maladaptive behaviours can reside in a defficent learning process. Many of these phenomena can be explained by synaptic plasticity which create cortico-cortical circuits which are regulated by long term potentiation and long term depression processes.

Is there someone in the community interested in these topics?

I am also interested in learning with greater depth about computational models regulating synaptic plasticity, would someone be willing to help me in my research?

Thanks a lot for reading this, if anybody wants to discuss these topics, please leave a reply!

8 replies

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Hi Relandor,

Interesting topic!  I remember I read an article years ago about the Connectionism where the neurons are creating and connecting the right and left brain actively for a child before age of 5 whenever he/she encounters anything new. That’s might be the learning process you are talking about that creates the cortico-cortical circuits. A lot to explore, keep it up! 


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Hi, this is a very delicate topic. 

I think first of all Students need Unconditionate Love. 

During the first years, kids need a feedback; in the next years, they develop a personal attitude and focus on certain subjects, this will become their job, and this is the meaning of Emancipation.

Unfortunately we still have an important superstitious Prize/Punishment mind pattern, so that not everyone of us is free to deepen their interests but rather "do the right thing" and keep on relying on others' esteem all life long:

  • Family, Society, God

And Power will always be their obsession.

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Hi Tony Lau, that is part of the learning mechanism! Barbara Oakley from the Coursera course, “Learning how to Learn” talks about this subject. She describes this process as switching from diffuse mode of thinking to a focused mode of thinking, back and forward.



I agree with many of the concepts that you try to explain, I believe that the education system and society has created a faulty way of learning, but the learning process is not separated from normal life, we learn how to move through space, we learn how to react emotionally to a problem, etc. This is a dynamic process between “previously coded behavior” and newly learned behavior (nature vs nurture), therefore children would benefit greatly from acquiring the right tools and frameworks which will become the basis of learning during their whole lives. How certain are each of us of the knowledge in our heads? Just because we learned “X” concept in school, does it mean it is the truth? In medicine and science many concepts change with time, and we change our behavior based on the best available evidence. Shouldn’t we strive to “bettering” our own mental knowledge database?

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Hi @Relandor . Thank you very much for appreciating. 

I don't really think to a "faulty system", rather to the fact that we still rely onto superstition even if we don't seem so. The "QAnon" affair speaks for all, I think.

Nature is no good, no evil, but kills. In this survivalist fear, only the Good Rules of the Sacred Book are allowed: Artists, Researchers and Omosexuals are a threat for the community. 

The same way, Culture is not something meant to change, rather to be piled up in our minds. Like money and sexual preys.

But mind is plastic. Through the interpretation of dreams we can check our mind structures, ancient beliefs and fears, and give them a new organization and efficience in harmony with Nature. 

To be honest, I enjoy scientific analysis, but I also think adults should interfere the less they can in education, since children already are able to learn through playing and asking asking asking asking....

A good educational system then is to make children "develop the need" for science to be acquired in their own path. Since the most valuable thing in mankind is diversity, not obedience.

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Dear ATP,

Children do learn by asking and asking, this is called in cognitive psychology as elaborative interrogation, and another related concept is called Self-Explanation, both of these techniques aim to make people answer the why’s. Both of these techniques have been shown to be helpful in children and in adults.

In the end, we might have different opposing views as how we’re “supposed” to teach and learn, but this does not mean we cannot benefit from the discussion.

Finally, I agree with the diversity you defend, although learning “scientifically proven” ways on how to think are benefical for everyone. In my own experience, I can say that the system does have problems and it can be improved, the fact that this possibility exists should motivate us to look for a better way to learn and teach.

Thanks for your response 

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Hi. Of course Teaching also is a science that can be improved as well as Rehabilitation: There's a very nice video I want you to see (let me find it and post below; you can set 1.5 ff if it’s too long)

I simply say that the real "education" is giving children self-confidence and make them motivated so that they themselves want to learn the tools to understand the world … each one their own way. 

The so called "Frontal teaching" is the expression of a society that is not ready to manage diversity but rather classify into: Excellence, Mediocrity and Slavery because this is the society of Power, based on the fear of Nature (the superstitious Prize/Punishment model).

All the discriminations in Society come from this, so I find very right the concept behind #DefundPolice but, as long as we keep this Dualist model (no surprise that Feminism and Anti-racist movements refer to Communism) that would just be the same old system: obey or rebel. But not “emancipation”. I confess I'm rather skeptical.

Have you ever read about the Montessori school system?
Have you ever see the movie “The Wall”?
Best wishes

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I really liked the video you showed me. I am interested in the subjects which were talked about in the TEDtalk. I think we’re getting towards common ground and finding we agree on similar ideas.

I am a long time fan of Pink Floyd and of the movie! What’s your favorite album?

The Montessori school system can be beneficial for some children, but it is not necessarily the best system for everyone. For example, I am diagnosed with ADHD, and one of the best things to have happened in my life was to live in a big city. Living in Mexico City has forced me to be efficient with my time and to plan my days in order to study medicine in a very rigorous method. Before studying medicine, the  studying methods I used were random and based on intuition, but now, I regulate my own studying through many different strategies which have costed me years of experience. This is not necessary and we should help students learn in better ways.

Finally, the point the researcher made on psychiatry is very valid. I want to be a psychiatrist too, unfortunately, I haven’t had many good personal experiences with my doctors (psychiatrists), which has made me research better ways to be an excellent clinician. People are unique, and so is each brain, learning needs to be personalized for every child but based on a more “general framework” or methodology which would help them to develop their thinking skills, skills that can guide the way you learn for the rest of your life.

Thanks for replying, it has been exciting to share new ideas.

Here’s a link for a research team that focuses on similar things:

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Hi. I see your ideas come from a personal experience. I personally have orbited around the Asperger syndrome issue, and books like "An Anthropologist on Mars" by O. Sacks, from which we should learn that what we call "normal" is not necessarily the only right way to be. 

Since all my philosphy also starts from an educational issue and a certain vision on society, so that I can have my critical point of view on today's protests in USA and I think it is not acceptable that those street clashes don't make the line each day.  

These protests are too important to let the whole movement fade as fire under the ashes each time, and fall in the old stereotype of "Gaining Power", which repeats the same old mistakes, some of which are pure superstition:

  • -- the idea of a God that gives Prizes and Punishment is an obstacle for a education model that teaches Emancipation and for a culture of diversity. This must be clear.

I don't believe in one kind of school or the other, I believe in a idea of valorizing personal talents and make everyone develop their own job, for "excellence" not to be a privilege (or a pain) of few lucky ones.

I have no more contributions to give.