What Part of the Brain Affects Learning?

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Many parts of the brain are involved in learning processes, some involved in similar parts of learning and some controlling specific parts of learning. Each area of the brain develops over a course of time ranging from two to three years up to eight years. Research is constantly being done to learn more about how the brain learns.

Language

Much language learning is centered in the left frontal lobe, however another structure called the left Heschl's gyrus is found to be used in foreign language learning in adults.

Math

Different structures of the brain are used for math skills, depending on whether you are looking for exact math, or estimation. Exact math calculations are actually linked to language centers in the left frontal lobe, while estimation is linked to the parietal lobe where spacial tasks and analogies are processed.

Critical Periods

Different areas of the brain used in learning develop fully at different periods of time. The brain must go through a period of forming synapses and then pruning back un-used connections to complete its development. Most of this occurs in the first 12 years. The frontal lobe has one of the longer periods of development taking up to ten years.

Frontal Lobe

The frontal lobe (located behind the forehead) controls personality, but also problem solving, memory, language, judgment and impulse control. The left side of this lobe is more language based, while the right focuses on processes that do not require language. Damage to this area of the brain may affect critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe has many functions in learning, such as organizing information, memory and speech. It has controls in memory retrieval, visual memory and factual memories.

Amygdala

This area of the brain is located in the lower part of the temporal lobe, and is mainly responsible for the storage and organization of memories relating to emotion. These memories are later recalled and used for reaction in similar circumstances. It is also plays a role in what memories to store and organizing the storage of all memories, which is mportant to learning.

Hippocampus

The hippocampus is involved in the formation of new memories. It does this by creating concepts, and organizing experiences into them. This helps identify contexts of actions and events, and organization of these into a storage system that makes sense to the brain.

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