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Emily Alspector's picture

I wasn't able to make it to

I wasn't able to make it to class last week because of the weather, but I would like to post some of my thoughts about the readings we had done for class and hopefully spark some conversation that way.

I find it interesting that all of our discussions seem to have the same general underlying issues, this idea of cultural and social codes, what is socially acceptable and how has our (and others') culture influenced how we make decisions (about race, education, psychopharmacology, etc etc). In the Immordino-Yang article, the authors stress the importance of emotions in learning, a relationship that is rarely spoken about from an academic standpoint. While we are biological creatures, it is our social world that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom and unifies us to one another. This culture, whatever it may be, influences our emotional responses and ethical decisions, "what is good or right within our cultural fram of reference" (7). Thus, emotions (by way of culture) are actually seen to have effects on how we learn, and later, how we live. This was pretty fascinating to me. I also liked the authors' idea of Emotional Thought because we often don't think of our emotions in terms of thought processes, especially rationality. As far as the education aspect of this article, the authors made it clear that there needs to be a change in how we teach kids because right now they are not using their full potential, however I wish they would have clarified how exactly the education system should change and what specific changes can be implemented to improve our schools. A general problem with our schooling system is an abundance of critics and a lack of actual ideas.

I personally found the Gaab article to be incredibly interesting, being a linguistics minor. It really amazed me that a program has been developed that can actually reverse the effects of dyslexia. I would have liked to learn more of the specifics of developmental effects on the effectiveness of the program; is there a certain stage of development after which the program doesn’t work? Is it possible that dyslexia can be permanently reversed? What other speech problems can be fixed with similar computer programming? This same program was used in the research talked about in the Haas article in terms of retraining the brain in adults. Since this is clearly NBS-related material, perhaps a discussion could be had of the implications of rewiring the brain (with regards to ethics, possible risks involved, etc). We had a long, intense discussion about genetic "enhancement" and alterations, how is this much different?

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