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Patricia Rollins
EDU 417 Cognitive Studies Capstone
Instructor: Maureen Lienau

Exercise *

Learning & Memory* Sleep

Dopamine, Serotonin & Acetylcholine



Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays

several major roles in brain functioning, but of

its major roles are to control conscious motor
activity and to enhance pleasurable feelings in
the brains reward system (Wolfe, 2010).



Serotonin is, for most people, probably one of

the best- known neurotransmitters. It has
been called the feel-good transmitter.
Indeed, like dopamine and norepinephrine, it
is a mood enhancer (Wolfe, 2010).

According to Wolfe(2010), Acetylcholine is the
only major neurotransmitter that is not
derived directly from an amino acid. Its action
is generally excitatory, but it can act as an
inhibitory, as was shown by Loewis
experiment in which it slowed the heart.
Acetylcholine enhances rapid eye movement
(REM) sleep (the phase of sleep when deepest
dreaming occurs) and has been shown to be
involved in our memory circuits (Hobson,


Acetylcholine, is used to operate all

voluntary and many involuntary muscles
(Wolfe, 2010).

Give the Kid a Break!

Studies have shown that students that are
given more breaks in school are better
behaved and it makes learning a lot easier for
these students.
According to
Camahalan & Ipock (2015), in an article by
(Wadsworth, Robinson, Bechkham & Webster,
2011), Wadsworth explained the importance
of not just having free play but having
planned physical activities for the students. It
is believed that the behaviors that are
established early in childhood relate to
physical activity behavior in later years of life.

Give the Kid a Break!

According to Camahalan & Ipock (2015), The
activity breaks brought the need for exercise
to help improve their focus and thinking.
Some students were even able to recognize
how their learning behaviors were influenced
by the breaks that were taken to exercise.

Recent studies have found that Sleep can
favor the consolidation of both procedural and
declarative memories, promote gist
extraction, help the integration of new with
old memories, and desaturate the ability to
learn (Nere, 2013).
Procedural memories are those memories
that are responsible for knowing how to do
things, motor skills. Declarative memories are
those that allows us to recall facts and

Putting it All Together

Movement or exercise increases oxygen to
the blood stream. More blood more oxygen
means increased capillary health and the
growth of plasticity of the frontal lobes
(Aamodt & Wang, 2008).
Sleep, which is a major player in learning and
memory causes the development of
consolidation which simply means that
memory goes from short-term to long-term.
The nutrition aspect reveals for example
that according to Wolfe (2010), between the

Putting it All Together

food that a pregnant woman eats is
extremely important for the developing fetus.
Wolfe also noted that babies born to mother
who did not maintain a health diet were more
at risk of mental retardation and behavioral
problems. Nutrition is not only important for
brain development, but also for brain
functioning as well (Wolfe, 2010).

Putting it All Together

A study that was done in 1989 revealed that
students that had a nutritious breakfast
performed significantly greater on
standardized test. It was noted that these
students showed improvement in their math,
reading and vocabulary when compared to
those students that did not have a nutritional
breakfast (Wolfe, 2010).

Wolfe, P. (2010). Brain matters: Translating research into classroom practice. (2nd ed.).
Alexandria,VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
Camahalan, F. G., & Ipock, A. R. (2015). PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BREAKS AND STUDENT
LEARNING: A TEACHER-RESEARCH PROJECT. Education, 135(3), 291-298.
Nere, A., Hashmi, A., Cirelli, C., & Tononi, G. (2013). Sleep-dependent synaptic downselection (I): modeling the benefits of sleep on memory consolidation and integration.
Frontiers In Neurology, 41-17. doi:10.3389/fneur.2013.00143