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Automaticity In The Brain Essay

1998 words - 8 pages

The human brain loves to make its job easier, especially when handling large amounts of information and numbers. There was a student that wanted to test his mental abilities, he selected the number nine hundred ninety nine and multiplied it by itself ten times and came up with the correct thirty digit number. How does someone keep track of so many numbers and multiplications without overwhelming his or her brain? The answer is that the brain has the ability to automatically perform calculations to make its job easier, in the case of the student he was able to do this because he had practiced for several years in order to perfect this ability.
The ability to recall correct results automatically is a process that the brain develops called automaticity. This ability can be learned by repeating processes that will achieve that correct result. This is important for students falling behind in academics because it will allow them to develop a stronger learning ability. In order to fully understand the significance of the brains ability of automaticity, this paper will bring to light three areas for clarification. First, the paper will discuss how automaticity relates to the brain. Next, the paper will highlight different methods of developing automaticity. And finally, this paper will show the importance of the brain learning automaticity.
The relation of automaticity and the brain can be seen by performing tasks and examining brain activity before and after automaticity training. Before the training of automaticity, the sections of the brain used when performing serial reaction time (SRT) tasks are an activation of a wide network of frontal and striatal regions, as well as parietal lobe (Poldrack et al. 2005). After the training of automaticity Poldrack et al. (2005) states, "After extensive behavioral training, dual-task performance showed comparatively less activity in bilateral ventral premotor regions, right middle frontal gyrus, and right caudate body; activity in other prefrontal and striatal regions decreased equally for single-task and dual-task conditions." This data suggests that when automaticity is used it is not restricted to a specific region of the brain, but rather it allows the brain to work more efficiently.
Alternatively, math also uses less brain activity when practiced. In 2005, researchers Rivera, Reiss, Eckert & Menon concluded, "our findings suggest that with age, children and adolescents develop increased functional specialization for mental arithmetic in focal regions of the left inferior parietal cortex" (p. 1779-1790). In addition Menon et al. (2000) discovers, "Perfect performers had significantly less activation only in the left angular gyrus, a finding that may be associated with skill mastery and long-term practice effects" (p. 343-345). The long-term practice effects, being automaticity, lower the activation of the brain in certain areas which is beneficial, because it will allow that region of the brain to be used...

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