age 6 drew such lifelike and powerful pictures, she got her own show at a gallery on Madison Avenue. Yet none of these children
The brain is an amazing thing. Your brain may not be nearly so odd, but it is no less extraordinary. Easily the most sophisticated information-transfer system on Earth, your brain is fully capable of taking the little black squiggles on this piece of bleached wood and deriving
Any learning environment that deals with only the database instincts or only the improvisatory instincts ignores one half of our ability. It is doomed to fail. It makes me think of jazz guitarists: They're not going to make it if they know a lot about music theory but don't know how to jam in a live concert. Some schools and workplaces emphasize a stable, rote-learned database. They ignore the improvisatory instincts drilled into us for millions of years. Creativity suffers. Others emphasize creative usage of a database, without installing a fund of knowledge in the first place. They ignore our...
cortex. Miraculously, Gage survived, but he became tactless, impulsive, and profane. He left his family and wandered aimlessly from job to job. His friends said he was no longer Gage. This was the first real evidence that the prefrontal cortex governs several uniquely human cognitive talents, called "executive functions": solving problems, maintaining attention, and inhibiting emotional impulses. In short, this region controls many of the behaviors that separate us from other animals. And from teenagers.