Genes and the brain

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  • 10 day duration
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What behaviour is caused by genes and what is learned behaviour? This was a prominent question in many sciences. In science in short called:  G x E (Genes versus Environment) or E x G.  It is also named the ”Nature- Nurture debate”. In neuroscience this debate has come to an end: it is always both.

Systemtheory tells us that systems are either organic or planned.
-The organic systems are biologic and are always self organizing. It unfolds organically over time.
-The planned system is human made and is organized at will (-consious).

The human brain is both manmade and biological.
It is both selfunfolding and determined.

The human brain is the only system that is both! (or maybe also AI artificial Intelligence after singularity??)

  • How an egg and a seed merge together in the womb, chromosomes zip open, rearrange half helixes and make new gene formations: that is a biologically self organizing system.
  • How the brain builts its neurocircuits is not self organizing but depending on external stimuli.

Neurons fire together, then wire together, and then form neurocircuits, then often used circuits are enhanced into faster neuro ”highways” when unnecesary, unused and distracting circuits around it are pruned away and the well used circuits are myelinated: so electricity can flow faster. In short: neurocircuits simply cannot grow without the environment. There has to be an incentive at the other end for the neuron to fire in a certain direction and in all the following stages it is the environment that decides what circuits are trained or pruned.

The human brain is at the crossroads of two different systems: Our brain is unfinished at birth and our upbringing and schooling is wiring our brain. A baby cannot read or write or do maths. If left up to only self unfolding biology the baby would never by itself invent language or math. Even certain executive functions of the brain  are not innate. The first 5 years of our lives we build braincircuits that are at the foundations of following stages. These foundations determin how we learn things.

Adhd add autism dyslexia and dyscalculia all run in the family. Based on statistics it is likely that genes are involved. However, genes hold the potential for several different outcomes, and social interaction determins what outcome.

The following modules each discuss a key article in neuroscience.  They changed the way we look at braindevelopment and the role of genes versus upbringing by parents and culture.

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€20,00 €1,00