Mind/Brain more like muscles than a computer

People sometimes write about the brain being like a muscle that gets stronger with exercise.  Here’s a more specific thought:

Both the mind and a computer acquire new capabilities after receiving certain inputs: Teaching in the case of the mind and software (i.e., programs) in the case of the computer.  (This is not to say that teaching is the only or even the most effective way.) However, there is a difference which is critical to teachers and students.  The computer can use its new capabilities immediately after new software is installed, and, for the most part, the quality of the new capabilities, being determined by the software contents, remains fixed at its original level. (An upgrade really is adding new software or replacing portions of old by new.)  On the other hand, the usability of new mental capabilities grows with practice, usually only develops incrementally, and decays when unused.  The brain is more like a system of muscles that together grow in strength in the course of repeating and perfecting new physical tasks than a computer’s hard drive that perfectly stores the entire capability ready for the computer to perform when the program is launched.

Hence the lesson for teachers and students is that mere presentation and memorization of content is utterly insufficient for effective learning.

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