Navigation Links
2-dimensional learning
Date:9/26/2011

Viewing two-dimensional images of the environment, as they occur in computer games, leads to sustained changes in the strength of nerve cell connections in the brain. In Cerebral Cortex, Prof. Dr. Denise Manahan-Vaughan and Anne Kemp of the RUB Department for Neurophysiology report about these findings. When the researchers presented rats with new spatial environments on a computer screen, they observed long-lasting changes in the communication between nerve cells in a brain structure which is important for long-term memory (hippocampus). Thus, the researchers showed for the first time that active exploration of the environment is not necessary to obtain this effect. "These results help to understand to what extent digital learning in the brain competes with learning in the physical environment", says Manahan-Vaughan. "This is interesting for developing strategies for use of digital media in school. Such strategies can prove a useful antidote to the apathy in children towards the traditional teaching methods."

Two mechanisms for learning in the brain

In the hippocampus, two different mechanisms for the long-term storage of new information are at work . Long-term potentiation leads to an increase in the communication between nerve cells. Long-term depression, on the other hand, weakens the connections between the cells. According to our results, cell populations react with potentiation at the beginning, for instance when we enter a new room ", explains Manahan-Vaughan. Long-term depression then allows us to refine this new cellular information and encode the details and characteristics of the room."

Learning without movement

The Bochum team showed that long-term depression takes place in a special part of the hippocampus, when rats actively explore their environment. "We were, however, not sure if these changes in nerve cell communication were influenced by the movement of the animals or were purely due to learning about the novel objects", explains Manahan-Vaughan. In order to separate both effects, the researchers presented the spatial context via a computer screen so that active exploration of the environment was unnecessary. Long-term depression occurred also without movement, meaning that it mediates passive learning in the hippocampus.

Computer and TV compete with learning in school

"School teachers, particularly at the junior school level have become increasingly concerned at their observations that each generation of school children exhibits shorter attention spans and poorer retention abilities than the previous generation", states Manahan-Vaughan. "One explanation for this is the ever increasing use of the digital media by school children. Our results indeed show that mammals can learn equally well when they passively view information on a computer screen compared to actively exploring the environment for this information. Television or computer games after school may compete with the information learned in school."


'/>"/>

Contact: Prof. Dr. Denise Manahan-Vaughan
Denise.Manahan-Vaughan@rub.de
49-234-322-2042
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. A micro-RNA as a key regulator of learning and Alzheimers disease
2. Learning secrets of worlds most common organic compound driving research for biofuels
3. Finding their way: Study shows connection between academic direction and student learning
4. Air pollution linked to learning and memory problems, depression
5. Service projects increase learning, social impact for undergrads
6. Hands-on learning turns childrens minds on to science
7. Tweeting teenage songbirds reveal impact of social cues on learning
8. WUSTLs Living Learning Center shares the worlds first full Living Building certification
9. Studying illnesses caused by worms: Scientists are learning how immune cells communicate
10. Gene limits learning and memory in mice
11. Learning to live on land: How some early plants overcame an evolutionary hurdle
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/4/2017)... April 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC , a ... the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has ... the linking of an iris image with a face ... represents the company,s 45 th issued patent. ... very timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that have ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 2017 Trends, opportunities and forecast in this ... technology (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, hand geometry, ... end use industry (government and law enforcement, commercial and ... and others), and by region ( North America ... Asia Pacific , and the Rest of the ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... The Controller General of Immigration from Maldives Mr. ... have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the most innovative ... ... Maldives Immigration ... Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR award for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/21/2017)... , ... September 21, 2017 , ... Lajollacooks4u welcomed the ... The organization, a worldwide society of professional women with high achievement in the ... its annual dinner. , Twelve members began with an olive oil tasting ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... The award-winning producers behind the ... feature new innovations aimed at helping farmers solve the problem of nitrogen loss. ... Tuesdays at 8:30aET on RFD-TV. Check your local listings for more info. ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... Diversity focused business accelerator, The Refinery , ... competition to uncover the top technology-driven, women-led startups in Boston, MA, New Haven/Hamden, CT, ... city’s entrepreneurial events going on that week – in Boston, it will be part ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc. ... , a provider of whole slide imaging solutions, are hosting a pre-conference workshop ... entitled “Successfully Deploying a Best-in-Class Strategy for Digital Pathology,” will feature Proscia CEO, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: