Podcast: We Don’t Need No Educashun; The Brain As A Learning Machine by Prof Ray Miller

On Thursday June 6th Prof Ray Miller gave the talk ‘We Don’t Need No Educashun; The Brain As A Learning Machine’. This is the audio recording of the talk he gave…

In Psychological terms, Learning is: A process by which behaviors, skills and capabilities are acquired and/or modified though experience. Although it is related to concepts like Education, Schooling, Training and Life Experience, it actually begins even before birth and continues until the day we die.

Psychology of learning

We are the sum total of everything that happens to us as the constant addition of information to our cognitive and biological systems moulds and shapes our current and future thoughts, actions and responses.

The brain is undoubtedly the most amazing learning machine we know of; yet so little of how it works is really understood. Despite modern methods of brain scanning and EEG, most neuroscientists and psychologists would have to admit that we work largely on the basis of ‘black box’ theories in learning. That is, we know that if we introduce certain kinds of input into the box, we get certain kinds of predictable output – most of the time. What actually goes on inside the box is deduced mainly from the relationship between input and output. Yet there are some findings that seem fairly reliable and give us some insight into how learning works.

These findings are not only fascinating, but useful. The ability to learn is crucial to effective functioning and even our survival. Understanding the most basic principles can help us improve significantly our ability to thrive and develop.  And learning can be fun!