The aim of this article is to explore the neuroscientific foundations of the learning process and the functioning of the brain today, with the advent of the technological revolution. Thus, it delves into some of the central debates surrounding this process -such as intelligence, emotions, memory, forgetfulness and reflection- regarding the social frameworks.
With the introduction of hypertext in new devices, and in line with the distribution of knowledge through the Internet, the didactic techniques of learning systems are involved in a radical change. The role of the contacts and the relationships mutate into a new reality: vertical communication leaves behind to give way to a construction of the mutual knowledge, more horizontal and open to debate than ever.
Human sciences haven´t yet adopted Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Which role can they play? How can Entertainment Industries benefit from it?
– How do we learn?
Learning is a process that involves a real change in the behaviour and/or knowledge of an individual due to their interaction with the environment, through an activity or observation (1). This modification must be permanent, as a result of experience and not attributable to maturative processes (2). The sequence is summarised in five pillars (3) that various studies, such as Pavlov and Skinner, revealed:
- It is an active process, in which the interaction with objects, experiences and conversations is combined.
- It is built on previous knowledge, like a wall that adds bricks.
- It is not limited to the individual but is framed within a complex social environment.
- It is placed in an authentic context, offering students the link with ideas and concepts that need – and want to – acquire voluntarily.
- It needs the motivation and attention of the students to understand complex ideas, being necessary a mental effort and persistence.
– The importance of culture and the environment
Jews and Muslims practice religion in the kitchen, by evading pork. Diet, therefore, constitutes a key element, a social act of each culture. In the long run, from this and many other daily interactions that occur in individuals, we can find the differences of beliefs between them. Always depending on what they consumed … though not only with the knife and fork (4).
The experiences go through the brain processor and configure the neuronal networks of the same. And while all this information is being processed all the time, human beings do not learn suddenly, nor do they understand or recall knowledge instantly.
“Frames are mental structures that shape our way of seeing the world; All words are defined in relation to conceptual frameworks. Since language activates the frames, the new ones require a new language”. ( 5)
“The development of the human being is not produced in a vacuum, but through a complex process of cultural immersion that articulates, modifies and gives meaning to the transformation over time (…) Today we know that development is not independent of The learning processes in which the human creature is permanently enveloped”. (6)
This constant interaction between the mental processes of interpretations can not be isolated: the parts of learning -intelligence, memory, forgetfulness and reflection- function interactively to shape the whole brain and the learning experience.
– The memories
The human brain receives 400 million bits per second, registers two thousand, and finally stores 200 in memory. So, each person saves 0.05% of the total. How are these recovered? A camera records the images faithfully on the disk; in contrast, the different types of memories that the brain uses are not unitary, but its recording goes hand in hand with the emotions and the interpretation that the brain wants to give them.
“Emotional experience is the first step in thought processes … The individual contains in his mind representations of his personal experiences, that is, feelings of trust, fear, jealousy, and so on. Which, from their birth or even before, make up, according to the percentage, a certain vision of the world”. (7)
Beliefs and mental frames necessarily influence this process: in an experiment conducted by Banaji and Bhaskar for Harvard University on remembering the names of criminals in the news, Americans recalled those of African Americans 1.7 times more than Caucasians because of stereotypes that promote the prism of the media companies, contributing to criminalise certain groups with greater ease (9).
For this reason, Barlett framed these as social and cultural phenomena (10). Noguerol emphasises them by the informative impacts with which the students load, but also as a tool in favour to instrumentalize the learning (11).
Memory is what remains after reflection. And this is probably the most important part of the learning processes because what the person thinks is what will set the memory for it. Focusing on emotional reactions, passions and talents they can develop assures a higher success level. Although, you should not always be emotionally excited to withhold information (12).
– A new didactic
Any variation of scientific knowledge demands changes in its transmission, which is not a task that is easily exercised. This is mainly because neuroscientists like Daniel Willingham found that the brain has no natural tendency to ponder.
The culture and frames surrounding a person are fundamental factors for the development of his neural networks. With the invasion of information technologies in every aspect of life, the learning didactics and the roles played in this process need to conform to the new reality. However, from various companies and institutions, there have been no changes to take this moment as an opportunity.
As Steve Jobs pointed out in that DNA of creations have to find technology with the humanities. In this age, one needs the other. Societies and companies that understand it first will have several corners of advantage in the race for innovation over those that do not.
“Today we know that computers have nothing to do with our brains. For this reason we are making a computer that works like our brains: not by orders and predetermined instructions, but with the ability to adapt gradually to what is happening. How we operate”. (8)
– Machine Learning on Social Sciences and Entertainment Industries?
Machine learning and the larger world of artificial intelligence (AI) are no longer the stuff of science fiction. They’re here and many businesses are already taking advantage of their arrival. As a new breed of software that is able to learn without being explicitly programmed, machine learning -and deep learning- can access, analyse and find patterns in Big Data in a way that is beyond human capabilities.
And now we’ve made it easier to unlock its potential with embedded machine learning capabilities and services easily accessible through the cloud. This knowledge applied to humanistic paradigms might be the answer to many questions of the Entertainment Industries.
- How to engage better with the public?
- How to react to their emotions?
- How to construct a frame of Artificial Intelligence to deploy the content in a hypertextual positive way for them?
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(2) Campàs Muntaner, 2017, p.22
(4) Campàs Muntaner, 2017, p. 3-5
(6) Ortega Ruiz, 1999, p.15-17
(7) Galigó, 2003, p.15.
(8) Punset, 2006, p.67.
(11) Noguerol, 2007, p.127-129.
(12) Willingham, 2011, p.86.
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CAMPAS MUNTANER, J. (2017). “Neuroscience and Humanities”. Universitat d’Estiu Can Maltas, Torre Ametller.
CAMPAS MUNTANER, J. (2017). “Teaching and learning in Humanities”, Barcelona: UOC.
GALIGÓ, M. (Coordinación) (2003). “Learning and his problems”, Barcelona: CEAC.
NOGUEROL, A. (2007). “Techniques for learning and study”, Barcelona: Graó. 1º Edición 1994.
ORTEGA RUIZ, R. (1999). “Grew and learn”, Madrid: Visor.
PUNSET, E. (2006). “The soul it´s in the brain”, Madrid: Santillana Ediciones Generales S.L.
WILLINGHAM, D. (2011). “Why kids don’t like go to school?”. Barcelona. Graó. (Col. Micro-macro references, 16).