Great presentations

A day of great presentations as well as visits to the labs. Morning lectures by Wolk focused more on role and contribution of technology and raised the possibilities of Deep Brain Stimulation in the future (including possibly with Alzheimers) but more work need to be done.

What was new to me was the role of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) which uses very low doses of current (9 volt) across cranial portions of the brain. These mechanisms are much smaller and can be used longer and may actually have some impact on plasticity. Overall this methodology proves cheaper and smaller design may leads to greater portability. With this much easier technology we may see claims in the use of the instrument that cannot be verified in the near future, apparently they are for sale on market which might lead to commercialization and unfounded claims…but still a hopeful future.

Martha Farah presented an intro to cognitive neuroscience that incorporated aspects of perception, memory (particularly the role of episodic memory and semantic memory) and closed the day with executive functions. A lot of survey material but well done (learned a lot).

She spent a lot of time on long term memory, the biological bases of different memory problems (where she has provided strong research as well) and the possibilities of how executive function oversees parallel processes in the brain.

Tons of info so just one note: Farah noted that semantic memory (knowing data) is always derived from episodic memory (narrative or lived memory) via the hippocampus. This simple observation raises a real question how much “data” we can teach that does not include some level of contextualization and opportunity to process the same information over time in real world settings. Worth a discussion in class in the future.

About Dean G. Blevins

Dr. Dean G. Blevins currently serves as Professor of Practical Theology and Christian Discipleship at Nazarene Theological Seminary. An ordained elder, Dean has ministered in diverse settings and currently also serves at the USA Regional Education Coordinator for the Church of the Nazarene. A prolific author, Dr. Blevins recently co-wrote the textbook Discovering Discipleship and edits Didache: Faithful Teaching, a journal for Wesleyan Education.
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