However you hit upon one of my pet-peeves, the computer – brain analogy. In your section on Change you state:
“Our prefrontal cortex is similar to the RAM memory in a PC — it is fast and agile computational device that is able to hold multiple threads of logic at once so that we can perform fast calculations.”
I have been in software development for 20+ years and have recently started studying for a master’s in Org. Leadership. I’ve heard plenty of comparisons of the brain to a computer. It is a real shame that humans can not find a better analogy. I particularly dislike yours because it is so inaccurate.
The Random Access Memory (RAM) in a PC is just a very dumb storage device – much like a hot water tank, about all it knows or processes is that the data (or water) should be kept fresh (or hot). It never does anything of consequence with the data, no multi-threaded logic as you imply. That is done in the Central Prossing Unit (CPU). So your analogy would be much better made to the CPU not the RAM. The CPU is the fast & agile piece of the computer that is capable of holding multiple threads of logic and performs fast calculations. Now with many computers running dual core processors you can extend the analogy to brain lobes, with threading management one could extend the analogy to a split brain (Corpus callosotomy). But that’s just too much for me to hear.
Bad analogies are just poor writing or perhaps ignorance. However when analogies are just plan wrong then can at least be corrected.
If one truly believe their brain is anything like a computer, then they have the processing power of an ant, fore that is the equivalence.
Also “RAM memory” is redundant. You surely appear to know more about the brain than a computer. I enjoyed the rest of the article, stick to what you know.
Thanks for catching the errors. I will remove the redundant word. As to using RAM for the analogy, after rereading it, I think I tried editing it too many times and as you pointed out, it now refers to the entire prefrontal cortex rather than referring to one aspect of memory:
“Our prefrontal cortex is a fast and agile computational device that is able to hold multiple threads of logic at once so that we can perform fast calculations. However, it has its limits with working memory in that it can only hold a handful of concepts at once, similar to the RAM in a PC.”
One of the things that we know about using analogies, metaphors, similes, etc. is that they make great learning strategies; however; just like almost all learning strategies, there is normally a small percentage of learners who who have trouble with some aspect of the way it is used. With the case of analogies, it is normally an expert who tries to analyze it to much — we all tend to do it. So yes you should point it out when it is completely wrong; however, try not to turn it into a pet-peeve because unfortunately there are no perfect learning strategies that fit everyone all the time.
Very good blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of
any forums that cover the same topics talked about in this
article? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Bless you!
Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly
enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips for beginner blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.