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ENVIRONMENTAL AND

CHEMICAL FACTORS
WHITNEY RASOR
ENVIRONMENTAL AND CHEMICAL FACTORS
EDU 417: COGNITIVE STUDIES CAPSTONE
INSTRUCTOR: DR. SAVARESE
FEBRUARY 1, 2016

NEUROTRANSMITTERS
When it comes to learning there are many
different things which come into play. There
are many different parts of the brain which
work together and separate to create
learning. In learning there are
environmental and chemical factors which
impact learning and memory. There are
neurotransmitters in the brain such as
acetylcholine, dopamine, and serotonin
which impact the learning.

DOPAMINE

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which plays two major roles in how the brain
functions. Dopamine s role is to control conscious motor activity and to enhance
pleasurable feelings in the brains reward system (Wolfe, 2010).
When a child is learning something new it is exciting. In the brain dopamine levels
are increased to help the child retain the new information.
When dopamine is present in the brain when children are learning something new
then the brain is going to remember the new information.

SEROTONIN
Serotonin is a mood enhancer. Serotonin affects mood by calming rather than
stimulating the brain (Wolfe, 2010). Serotonin is also involved in memory, sleep,
appetite control, and regulation of body temperature (Wolfe, 2010).
Serotonin is involved in many different processes in the brain and the body.
Serotonin can effect a childs mood in the classroom throughout the day.
Serotonin also plays a role in appetite. When a child eats something which is
irritating more serotonin is created in the intestines to help expel the irritant.
Serotonin has pathways that lead to the cortex, hypothalamus, and hippocampus.
Serotonin is involved in and being used to treat disorders such as anxiety,
obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, stroke, obesity, migraine, and
nausea (Wolfe, 2010).

ACETYLCHOLINE
Acetylcholine enhances rapid eye movement sleep and is involved in memory
circuits (Wolfe, 2010).
The motor cortex and neurons of the sympathetic nervous system use
acetylcholine to operate all voluntary and many involuntary muscles (Wolfe, 2010).
In the hippocampus acetylcholine plays a role in rescue memory (Parent & Baxter,
2004). Acetylcholine is involved in the memory process but it is not necessary.
Acetylcholine plays a role in encoding new memories and increases the
modification of synapses (Hasselmo, 2006).

MOVEMENT
Movement can improve memory and retrieval,
strengthen learning, and enhance motivation.
The cerebellum is the part of the brain which is
the center for motor control but it also processes
learning.
When a person moves or exercises it send more
oxygen to the brain and it increases connections
within the brain.
When children have recess during the day this
also enhances social skills between peers and
helps with conflict resolution.
When a child exercises it increases the amount
of dopamine which helps elevate their moods.

SLEEP
The amount of sleep a person gets can effect their
mood, motivation, memory, and perception.
When a person is sleeping the brain is working on the
days memories. The brain is storing those memories to
make room for new memories.
When a person does not get enough sleep it makes it
difficult to receive new information because the neurons
have a hard time coordinating information the correct
way.
When a person gets the correct amount of sleep their
mood is better, their brain connections are going to be
working properly, and they are going to be able to
function without being sluggish.

NUTRITION
Food fuels the brain. It helps the brain function the
correct way.
Children need to have a balanced diet of fruits,
vegetable, protein, dairy, and grains.
When a child eats a healthy meal their body should
feel energized.
Many foods have high sugar levels and this causes
the body to loose focus and have less energy.
Malnutrition can play a role in the learning process
also and over time can create learning problems.

TECHNOLOGY
Technology should be used to support learning and
development.
Technology should not be used to teach the children.
Too much technology can hinder a childs ability to grow
and learn.
A childs brain needs to function and when they are using
technology the brain is not making as many connections.
The brain is not using connections to think about
problems and how to solve them.
When a child is using technology they are not having any
social interactions and it can have an effect on the
amount of attention a child has.

REFERENCES
Hasselmo, M. E. (2006). The Role of Acetylcholine in Learning and Memory. Current
Opinion in Neurobiology, 16(6), 710715. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.conb.2006.09.002
Marise B. Parent & Mark G. Baxter. (2004). Septohippocampal Acetylcholine: Involved
in but not Necessary for Learning and Memory? Retrieved from
http://learnmem.cshlp.org/content/11/1/9.full#cited-by
Wolfe, P. (2010). Brain matters: Translating research into classroom practice. (2nd
ed.). Alexandria,VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.