Enriched Learning

In support of the bestseller, "Unleashing Your Brilliance." www.UnleashingBrilliance.com

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Your Survival Senses

What are your primary survival senses?

As a business prof of mine used to say, "it depends". Yes, it depends on your task, your priorities, your mood, and your environment. It might just depend on at what point you are in your BRAC (Basic Rest-Activity Cycle).

In my book, Unleashing Your Brilliance, I mention survival a number of times. This is because it has a lot to do with learning, and just plain day-to-day functioning.

When we were cave-dwellers, the two most prominent survival senses were sight and smell. These have been hardwired into our neurology over many millennia. How do they show up today? Read on.

To recognize an enemy (human or non), sight was essential. No other sense can pinpoint a target as well as sight. It reveals distance, direction, speed, size, and intent. If you're like most people, you will recognize a face more often than remember that person's name. That is part of this ancient hardwiring.

Hunters have always known that while stalking prey, they must stay downwind, otherwise the deer or mammoth would pick up their scent. Manufactures of perfumes and colognes know the power of scent in triggering emotions. Have you ever wondered why a smell can generate a crystal-clear memory? Want to sell your house? Have the smell of freshly-baken bread wafting from the kitchen when prospects visit. Smells are given a fast-track in neural processing. Their priority status allows them to split the input signal. Some of the information is processed slowly through the thinking part of the brain, and the other part is sped directly to the emotional part of the brain. For more on the sense of smell, check out page 34 of my book.

How Vision Impacts Learning

Did you know that over 75 percent of learning is processed visually?

Most people with learning difficulties also have vision challenges. Did you know that visual problems encompass much more than just visual acuity?

Beyond the inability to focus, visual deficits also include eye dominance, eye tracking, and eye teaming. These were all briefly discussed in my book.

In addition, there are a host of skills taken for granted by most people as just normal vision. They include the ability to decode, evaluate, and give meaning to what is seen. These are the perceptual skills. Even kinesthetic learners are impacted by vision challenges. These are the visual motor integration skills. They involve both the Fine Motor Eye-Hand Coordination, and the Gross Motor Eye-Body Coordination skills.

If you're a parent, watch for these symptoms.

Covering an eye
Turning head to one side
Itching, burning, or hurting eyes
Complaints of blurred or double vision

Rich vocabulary, but not in writing
Crowds letters
Cannot stay on line
Letter formation
Grips pencil incorrectly