Thursday, May 14, 2009

Endangered Minds: Part 1

I am working my way through the book Endangered Minds by Jane M. Healy. This book deals with how our children's experiences literally shape the neural pathways in their minds, and how our modern culture of fast-paced, shifting visual media may be affecting children's brains. I have decided to share some thoughts as I work my way through her book.

One thing that really made me think was Dr. Healy's report on some research done on rats. The rats were kept in different kinds of environments--some were in small, plain cages (impoverished environment) and others in large cages, with other rats as well as toys and manipulatives to interract with (enriched environment). All rats were fed the same food. At the end of the study, the rats brains were dissected and examined on a microscopic level. Rats in the enriched environment had heavier, denser brains with more neural development. Most interesting of all, however, is that neither set of rodents had developed their brains as much as those of rats living wild in the same area.

Not surprisingly, the most enriched cage does not provide as much stimulation and learning opportunity as do the natural interactions and demands of real life!


MaryAnne said...

sounds like an interesting book.

Chambers said...

so do I have permission to turn my kids out of the house for the sake of mental stimulation? :))

Paula said...

Of course Amber, it's all for their own good--and mom's too!

Phyllis said...

I'm enjoying your blog! So, exactly how close are our children? Mine were born in Sept. 2003, June 2005, and Sept. 2007. Like yours, they'll be 2, 4, and 6 this year.

Kelley said...

And THAT is exactly why I am loving this house. The kids finally have room to roam and explore and discover. The other Ben came in and told me that he had seen a snail have a baby. I'm thrilled that he's getting down on that level and observing so much, even if it's not completely accurate all the time. :)