Monday, December 05, 2005

Brain "tunning" / synchronization -- hmmmmmm

A number of unrelated research data points that have come across my inbox (cortex) during the past few weeks have suggested, at least to my quirky cortex, the there may be something important happening regarding our understanding of the ability to improve mental performance as a function of neural plasticity. In particular, within the past few weeks I've made posts (with links to research) re:
While at ISIR I was sent a pre-publication copy of an interesting article by Stankov and his colleagues (Stankov was the first psychometric/intelligence researcher to posit a temporal tracking ability) that seems related. The article (click here to view) reported the relationship between brain phase syncrhonization and CHC abilities. I couldn't help but see a possible common thread across all these data points.....namely, the relationship between cognitive abilities and brain synchronization/tuning.

I need to cogitate on this stuff more. These data points are indeed interesting. What are the implications for assessment? What are the implications for possible cognitive/achievement interventions. My somewhat synchronized brain wants to know.

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1 comment:

Chris Tregenza said...

The role of rhythm / timing is interesting because on the surface it seems to have nothing to do with intelligence or learning ability. Yet lack of rhythmic ability is very common amongst children with dyslexia and related problem. [As an aside, do gifted children have better rhythmic abilities?].
A possible explanation for its link to reading problems occurred to me whilst discussing my latest football (soccer) injury with my girlfriend who is a personal trainer and fitness expert. We were discussing the mechanics of muscles and the fact that to move any part of the body one set of muscles must contract and another must relax. These are two different signals that must be sent out by the brain with very specific timing. Thus a lack of rhythmic or timing ability may lead to poorly coordinated movements.
This might explain a correlation between dyspraxia and poor rhythmic skills but it doesn't establish a link with dyslexia until you remember that the eyes are controlled by muscles. In fact six muscles known as the Extraocular muscles. Plus we have two eyes that have to work together. So to move and focus the eyes we need to correctly time the signals to twelve muscles. It would be interesting to test for a link between weak visual skills [ http://www.myomancy.com/2005/07/visual_problems.html ] and rhythmic ability. Are visual problems more acute in children with worse timing abilities?

I suppose I should declare a commercial interest in this subject as I'm currently working on a project in this area. I hope to be able announce it properly in the next few weeks but if you consider my work on Myomancy and the fact that I software developer, you might be able to see where I'm going.

Chris