Predicted Human Brain Systems Involved in Children Learning Self-Regulation via PAX GBG
Top-Down Control for effortful self-regulation originates in Neo-Cortex. Such self-regulation by children requires daily practice that yields reinforcement for successes. The “conscious choice” projects top-down from the frontal cortex to sub-cortical area including the basal ganglia (BG; purple and green) and thalamus. The hippocampus (light blue) in the temporal lobe supports the frontal cortex for high-order cognitive skills (e.g. focused predicting, monitoring, self-reflection & correction).
Top-Down Control internal by the children in the classroom originates from a well-crafted and “living” PAX Vision by the students of what THEY want to see, hear, do, and feel MORE of and LESS of in their classroom/school. Their vision becomes their purpose to voluntarily predict, monitor, alter, and reflect on their individual and collective actions. Children reinforce each other for group success. That, in turn, produces reinforcing brain chemicals and minimizes stressful brain chemistry in their brains.
With the vision, the children seek PAX, which is peace, productivity, health, and happiness. The tools in PAX enable children to “count” changes through all their five senses of what they want MORE and what they want LESS. Thus, students—facilitated by the adults—create a nurturing environment in their classroom that increases their psychological safety and flexibility, that limits problematic behavior, reduces toxic influences, and richly reinforces pro-social behavior.
This social event causes chemical changes strengthens brain connections for further self-regulation for a “purpose” instead or fear of adult consequences.
Authentic self-regulation cannot be sustained or learned by coercion, threats, aversive consequences, or punishments. In environments perceived as aversive or coercive by children, problematic behavior dramatically increases the moment the controlling adults are absent or whens peers reinforce a peer for such problematic behaviors, which is often a strategy to weaken and subvert the presumptive adult “authority.”
Neuro-Chemical Modulation occurs especially for dopamine (the brain chemical of reward/reinforcement that wires repeated behavior) in the VTA (ventral tegmental area) and the mid-brain areas to the basal ganglia, nucleus accumbens, amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex modulate the emotional components of self-regulation (e.g. approach, sense of pleasure, vigilance, avoidance, anger and fear). Both everyday experiences and psychotropic medications can impact these neurochemical linkages.
Neurochemical Modulation occurs for dopamine release when children “win” an intrinsically reinforcing Granny’s Wacky Prize for their individual and collective efforts. This inspires the desire to learn more self-regulation for the purposes of PAX. That dopamine is intrinsic to their bodies and actions, not extrinsic to their bodies and brains in the form of psychotropic medication or “stuff”. Thus, the ability to self-regulate is strengthened as growing and lasting change in the brain, which most likely why students in PAX GBG classrooms are significantly less likely to become addicted to any drug (tobacco, alcohol, stimulates, opiates, etc.) and less likely to manifest ADHD symptoms over their lives. The nature of Granny’s Wacky Prizes of being invented rather than purchased fun (rewards/reinforcement) also strengthens children’s imagination and provides immunity from the modern plague of perceived boredom or ennui, which pressures children to engage in risky behaviors in life.
The PAX Cues and Kernels facilitate this by reducing perceived threats, trauma reminders or actual aggression from both peers and adults. This reduces various stress chemistries. This in turn opens children up for delayed gratification because of trust and reliability of their peer and school environment, which has larger effects on mental-health (e.g., depression, suicide, anxiety, conduct disorders, and violence) than families after school entry because of peer networks in controlled and longitudinal studies.