Subject: Psychology and Education
Topic: The Neuroscience of Learning and Memory
Language: English (U.S.)
Pages: 3
Chapter Two Assignment 1. Read chapter 2 The Neuroscience of Learning and Memory 2. Complete one of the following essays (60 Points) Exercise A. Optional Topic: Create Your Own For every section of the course after the first one, you have the option of designing your own exercise rather than completing one that I have specified. This serves two important purposes. First, it allows people to work on topics about which they have a special interest. Second, it allows people to use free time to work ahead and prepare for unusually busy times or emergencies that might arise. The steps involved in completing this optional exercise are: ·Read the assigned section of the text and identify topics you find interesting. ·Search the Web and locate at least two sites that provide useful information on that topic (or something reasonably closely related). ·Write an essay of at least 800 words on the material that you have found. Your essay must be relevant to the current section of the course and must extend the material presented in the text. You may provide additional information on a topic covered in the text or you may provide information on a topic or issue that the text doesn’t cover at all. Remember that the purpose of your essay is to further educate your classmates on something important and relevant to the current topic. You will not receive credit for simply restating or explaining the material in the text. ·Include the URLs to all sites that you use at the end of your essay, exactly as you would put references at the end of any paper. Your URLs must work! I will test every URL you cite and there will be severe penalties for any that don’t work. I strongly suggest that you use copy and paste rather than trying to type even short and simple URLs. ·Post your essay with a descriptive title. Exercise B: The Brain-Computer Interface Chapter Two includes information about how our brains control sensory pathways into the brain and outgoing responses (motor control). Researchers all over the world are developing techniques to stimulate movement in those affected by paralysis or disease using microelectrodes and computer chips implanted in the brain. Watch this video featuring the brain-computer interface (BCI) to see an example: For this essay, present the concept of BCI to an uninformed college student. Start by describing the process of how the brain controls motor movements. Explain recent technological developments in BCI, using several different techniques currently being explored by various research institutions and private companies. Finally, present your predictions for the future of this field. How far can these advances go? How available will they be to the general public given the current costs? How do you think this field should proceed? As always, list all of the URLs you use to write your essay. Here are some links to get you started: Exercise C: Sleep and the Brain Page 40 of your text states that, “Sleepy brains work worse.” What is sleep? What happens if we don’t get sleep? Specifically, how does sleep deprivation affect our learning and memory? What is the brain doing or not doing during sleep? What are the theories about why we need to sleep? And finally, present some strategies to sleep better. As always, list all of the URLs you use to write your essay. Watch a TED Talk by Russell G. Foster, professor of circadian neuroscience, University of Oxford called: Why do we sleep? Here are some other resources on the brain and sleep to get you started:

Sleep and the Brain Essay

Sleep has been surrounded by numerous theories and contradictory statements as people try to define sleep. Sleep can be defined as the body’s rest cycle that is offset by a sophisticated group of hormones that are present in the body and respond to the external cues of the environment. Normally, approximately eighty percent of sleep is dreamless, and it is referred to as the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. Sleep has been seen to affect the daily functioning and the physical and mental health aspects in numerous ways. Neurotransmitters are responsible for controlling whether an individual should sleep or awake through influencing multiple nerve cells or neurons located in the brain. Therefore, when people are asleep, numerous activities happen to the brain.

When sleeping, the chemical referred to as adenosine is broken down. When an individual is awake, there are certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine that are produced by the brainstem. Also, some researchers have concluded that adenosine builds up in the blood when we are awake and it’s the reason drowsiness is experienced (NIH, 2016). Sleep has five major phases where the brain progresses through a series of stages where the brain waves slow down. Sleep begins with the first stage, where there are slow waves of the brain. The stage is characterized by relaxation of the muscles and the eyes. Approximately thirty minutes after the first phase, the brain activity changes from deep slow wave sleep to rapid eye movements (REM). Therefore, the brain does not rest even when we are awake.

When we don’t get sleep or enough sleep we defeat the purpose of sleeping. Sleeping is important for any individual due to various factors. The various reasons that have been mentioned by scientists as to why people should sleep are because it enables people to rejuvenate, synthesize hormones, repair tissues and grow muscles. Therefore, when we do not sleep or get enough sleep all the processes mentioned do not happen. Some scientists have also linked obesity and other diseases such as cancer, hypertension, and diabetes to not getting enough sleep (Russel, 2013). The relationship between sleep and diseases such as diabetes and obesity is due to stress that builds up when people do not get enough sleep or don’t sleep at all. Russel maintains that mental illnesses and sleep are profoundly connected. The diseases include conditions such as Schizophrenia and insomnia.

There are three major theories on why human require sleeping according to (Russel, 2013). The first is the restoration theory where everything that was used during the day is restored, rebuilt and replaced. The second theory is the energy conservation theory where people sleep to save calories. The third theory is the memory consolidation theory where Russel maintains that sleeping enhances creativity. That is, the neural connections in the brain that are important are linked and strengthened while the less important ones tend to fade away and be less important. Learning an idea or a concept can be directly affected by our sleep.

There are other false theories people have that make them deprive themselves of sleep. For example, people believe that going to bed early and rising early makes people productive. However, no research has ever linked economic success to sleeping early and rising early. Other false myths that can be a stumbling block to getting enough sleep are that young people are lazy and as a result they sleep more and senior citizens require fewer hours of sleep. However, other sleep disorders such as apnea and narcolepsy can lead to difficulties in sleeping.

Sleep deprivation affects our learning and memory. Scientists have mentioned that sleep aids learning and memory in two distinct ways. The first is that an individual who has been deprived of sleep cannot focus his or her attention optimally and as a result he or she cannot learn efficiently. The second is that sleep has a critical role in the consolidation of memory which is crucial for learning new information (Robert, 2007). Ideally, memory consolidation takes place during sleep where the neural connections are strengthened.

There some strategies that can enable individuals to sleep better. For people to sleep better, the bedroom should be made as dark as possible. Ideally, the amount of light exposure before bed should be avoided since it leads to low-quality sleep. Light raises an individual’s level of alertness and will delay sleep (Russel, 2013). Also, using gadgets such as mobile phones, computers and tablets that can excite the brain should be avoided before one goes to sleep. Also, drinks such as caffeine should be avoided at all cost hours before going to bed or too late during the day. Generally, people should avoid any physical or psychological stressful activities since they lead the body to produce the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone known for increasing alertness in individuals. Also, people should avoid exercising hours before bed since exercise also results in the release of the chemical cortisol. 


NIH. (2016). Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. Retrieved from

Robert, S. (2007, December). Sleep, learning and memory. Retrieved from

Russel, F. (2013, June). why do we sleep? Retrieved from