The Creative Brain

The increased outsourcing and automation of production and technical support jobs is of necessity shifting America’s vocational focus. An earlier column (The Community Roots of the Arts) discussed urban theorist Richard Florida’s belief (2004) that enhanced support for the creative vocations now provides a major hope for maintaining a vibrant culture and economy during the…

The Effects Of Electronic Media On Cognition And Behavior – Part 2

Last month’s column described the cognitive systems that process our interactions with natural and electronic environments. Some recent provocative research rejects the conventional wisdom that extensive interactions with electronic media provoke culturally inappropriate behavior and reduce problem-solving abilities — dumb down society, as it were. This month’s column will thus focus on Steven Johnson’s analysis…

Single-Sex Classrooms

We educate students in groups. In addition to the obvious financial savings over individualized instruction, it makes sense for a social species to provide many opportunities for young people to interact with each other. Our K-12 school system thus provides 12,000 hours of non-kin social awareness and interaction that’s embedded within the curriculum and classroom…

Sleeping and Dreaming

We sleep through one third of our life, and dreams dominate two of the eight hours that we typically sleep during a day—but why we do both is a continuing mystery. Sleep is basically a brain phenomenon, since other body organs and (brainless) plants don’t sleep. Its biological importance is underscored by the fact that…