Tracy Lannon / The Creative Brain

January 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

Talking about work placements, doing research to find what is available out there, I want to do something that genuinely interests me. The dynamicity of graphic design is big, there’s a whole world of design out there, with many career paths to take other than free lance work. I don’t wish to pursue a freelance career, so it will be refreshing to hear about other options. I can concentrate my work somewhere by possibly taking an MA after my degree, if I want to do that.
Tracy’s PHD – in design can introduce us to learning and educational programs, interface design, design for interaction gaming and play.
The physical structure of the brain
Neuro-Plasticity; Sensory Brain Maps Localisation / plastic / changeable / evolving / re-wiring
Our understanding of cognition (thinking, perception, understanding etc.) is that it physically changes in response to learning; continuously practicing a new skill strengthens the connections within the brain. Over time, without practice anything new, our mental skill will deteriorate, this is why it’s so important to be constantly learning. If we don’t practice our mental skill, becoming creatures of habit, the mapped areas in our brain changes it’s function; for example, if we were to lose our sight in one eye, the neurons would then move to the sensitivity in the shoulder, putting them to use elsewhere. By mentally training, it increases our brain’s capacity, replicates, and extends neurons, helping them increase in size, branching out. Constantly stimulating our brain with new education allows for the development of new branches and neural pathways, allowing for more knowledge to be stored; the older one becomes, the slower the process becomes, however.
Michael Merzenich
  • Learning to learn
  • Brain training : restructuring brain anatomy
  • Practicing new skills
  • Lasting plastic change
  • Increased brain capacity

“We’re natural born cyborgs” – Andy Clark We adapt, especially when we’re young.

With these points stated, one needs to be open minded, experience and learn as much as possible to allow our brains to be freed up.
Paul Bach-y-Rita
  • Sensory devices for brain rehabilitation
  • Brain rewiring
  • Late recovery
  • Alternative
  • Neural pathways
  • New functions

Bach-y-Rita’s father had a stroke; he was taught, by his son, how to properly live again, with constant training from his sons.

We see with our brains, not our eyes. The brain reorganises itself using a brain-machine interface.
Bach-y-Rita developed a chair, where the back was made of moving pins, which would press the shape of an object into the back, the person then recognising the object in question. This has also been created as a miniature version for the tongue, which is far more sensitive to touch; this allows for a revival of vision in the brain for people, but through an alternative sense. This is called a ‘Brain Port’
Hubel & Weisel

  • Micromapping
  • Visual cortex (by environment)
  • Shaped by experience
  • Rewiring visual information


  • Constraint induced therapy
  • Learned non-use
  • Long term neglect
  • New learning
  • Intensive training

These guys performed experiments that would be heavily frowned upon in today’s society; they would sew the eyes of kittens together, finding out how they’d react; these experiments were all about the rewiring of visual information.

Another patient we looked at had lost all the nerves within one arm; going to an intensive therapy programme where she would be forced to use her unable arm, whilst having her fully able one strapped behind her back, the result of this allowed for her to retrain the brain to use this arm:

The brain doesn’t see, the eyes send the information which is why we can retrain people to see again, through other means.



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