Project : BrainLearning — Blog 4 — Objective of Project BrainLearning
What I want to do with this BrainLearning project?
I want to understand how my brain learns (and not learns) collect new information, data and patterns, solutions but in a scientific way. I do not want to be a writer (a philosophical fiction writer about brain magics) or just for self improvement but a researcher who took it as science project. Self improvement ( it may be a one of outcome but may be not) is not the goal for me.
What I have to do in order to achieve that?
I have to spend my time and energy to read, learn, research and do experiments on my learning process and analyze it and observe it. I will share my data publicly. (If there is any scientific value to it)
What I need ?
I can not do it without professional guidance and small funds.
Guidance is most important and mandatory part. There is very good chances that my learning and research approach without feedback process ( from scientist and researcher working in the field) will lead me to a never ending loop or to more confusion and more scary part, to a non scientific theory. I do not want to create a fiction theories or theories without any base. I do not want to be fiction writer whose work (writing) looks interesting on surface but it has no scientific value. But I am scared I may go to unscientific way without guidance. I want to contribute to scientific community.
To find Guidance, I started the OpenPhD project. If I can get guidance from the OpenPhD project then I will encourage independent young folks to start research. OpenPhd is something that I want to built if I am able to go forward with my own research in brain learning.
Small financial support is very important part ( it speed up things). I need to arrange some financial aid so that I will spend my full time ( majority) in this research project. But I know it is hard and unpractical to hope for financial aid So I will carry on irrespective of financial aid. At first stage I have so much to read and learn about neuroscience field. Have to read and understand the work that has been done so far on brain, memory and adult learning.
What is Guidance?
Guidance for me is to interact, learn, communicate from someone who is working in the neuroscience field and done experiments or research before. I need support of scientists who are actively doing work in the field of neuroscience and related fields.
I need three fundamental things in order to reach to some valid direction
1- Framework (training to think and act as scientist not as writer)
2- Someone who can lead me to some direction based on my questions
3- Constant Feedback. If I am trying to assuming somethings or going in certain direction, there should be a feedback which honestly can give critical feedback. I have to be work with facts. It is few wrong assumption ( due to lack of information ) and I may fall in the trap of being fiction writer.
Looks like an PhD structure?
Yes or No, But my objective is not doing a PhD ( or not have any plan in future) but to understand how my brain learns and create research project. In order to do that, I am ready to do anything.
Structure of my initial research will be
1- Learn fundamental of neuroscience, neuropsychology ( related fields)
2- Read as much as work of pioneer scientists and researchers in the field
3- Do experiments on my own learning and document it.
Third part is where it gets different from regular research or PhD.
I think, brain is field where it is important to experiment on your own. It means to learn about your own brain. I think if someone study other humans brain, it is generally based on data collection and facts given by the subject ( mostly in form of numbers as collected via survey), you can get information as data or set of information to find a pattern. It is great way and it leads us so far. But it do not give a understanding about the relationship (emotionally and understanding wise) between human and his/her brain. When you study your own brain you get data and emotional understanding both. It is something new !
Experimenting on your own Brain learning is safest experiment that a researcher can do. You do not need to take chemicals or medicine or supplements. You just need to involve with activity where brain will have to learn new things, observe it, find pattern , document it, repeat and apply new assumption to reach conclusion.
What I mean by self experiments?
I know I should be careful. But there are many things I can do safely. To prove my data or to reach solid conclusion, I need to have access to costly lab equipments ( Brain mapping, fMRI etc). It is a problem. But I can start experiments by learning new things different things and see how my brain take all of this and how it react. I already start doing it and already have some interesting assumption.
Here is It will work ?
For example I start learning to play guitar.
I will closely observe my own brain behavior and see progress. If I able to learn guitar. If not then I will change learning technique to see if it works or not. If it is not working I have to observe the reasons. It is a process. Goal is not learning to play guitar but how I will learn it or how I will not and see the reasons.
Now If I also do one more experiment on learning for example learning boxing or martial arts. It is completely different than learning guitar but it will give some result.
Another type of learning experiment will be programming and advance mathematics. It is also a cognitive learning.
I can pull this up. I am 27 year old and relatively healthy guy and I can do those experiments. All I need is time and guidance. I have to dedicate my full time but for that I have need financial support.
It will be great if I get access to lab equipment to map my brain but if not I still can come up with some assumptions and questions.
How I will go for learning new things, If I hate learning?
It is the whole point and make the whole equation interesting. I have to push myself. If I am not learning which will happen ( all the time) then I have to dig down to find ‘why’ and try new techniques to see if I am able to learn or not. It is the fun part which makes frustration of my learning process into a experiment.
What if there is problem in my brain (some medical condition ) ?
I am not sure about this. Yes there are some problem related to memory and learning in general ( I observer it). But I have healthy brain because I am not on any medication ( never ) or feel that I have to go neuropsychologist or neurosurgeon. I did many online tests and I passed all with average marks. I can solve basic math problem, basic puzzle etc. But I am open to have all request medical test to understand about health of my brain( I can not go for medical test because I do not have medical insurance and it is out of my budget ). Even if tests were indicate some medial condition, as a patient I want to take control and with the help of neurologist and try to fix the problem with minimum medication. It never happens but it will happen in my case. Until the things not go badly wrong (which I am confident) with my brain, I am medically fit to do continue my research. I have list of references who can testify that I am normal individual and there is nothing wrong with my brain or in me in general:)
In any case I have to go to understand about my brain and share with the world to contribute to neuroscience research.