Three Brain Topics: Biology, Cause and Effect, and Love

I occasionally skew a little off topic on this blog and write about the brain. It fascinates me. Plus I try to validate those entries by somehow connecting them to education

The Whole Brain Catalog is a great movie of the inner workings of the brain. The music is great too, especially as it shows an electrical pulse crossing a synapse. The point of the movie is to show the great value in connecting the different researchers together and share what they have about the mouse brain. Together they can accelerate the knowledge base.

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Tonight I did an experiment. I asked my two year old to say “EEEE” to see what would happen. She smiled. Olivia Judson of the Wild Side writes about the affects different sounds has on us. The sound “eeee” causes the corners of the mouth to curl up slightly, which is very much like a smile. Well, there is something in the brain that enjoys smiling, so sounds like “eeee” inevitable lead to smiling… at least in the English language. Judson is curious about other languages as well. Here’s an excerpt:

But here’s what interests me. As anyone who has tried to learn a foreign language will know, different languages make you move your face in different ways. For instance, some languages contain many sounds that are forward in the mouth; others take place more in the throat.What’s more, the effects that different languages have on the movements of the face are substantial. Babies can tell the difference among languages based on the speaker’s mouth movements alone. So can computers.

Which made me wonder: do some languages contain an intrinsic bias towards pulling happy faces? In other words, do some languages predispose — in a subtle way — their speakers to be merrier than the speakers of other languages?

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My third entry is more philosophical in nature. The video below is about a 6 year old girl.

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As we learn about the brain and see the synapses, we will never understand things as precious as these notes. Her enduring love for her parents motivated her to do something that is only explainable by an emotion – love.

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