MAY 03, 2017 4:29 PM PDT

How the things you do change your brain structure


Neuroplasticity refers to the idea that your brain changes its structure based on what you do in your life. Although this phenomenon was introduced by a scientist named William James in 1890, it only became accepted in the 1960s. Neuroplasticity plays out when certain parts of a person's brain becomes more developed, stronger in a sense, than other parts because of certain activities that they are repeating, thus activating those neurons over and over until they get very efficient.

Take London cab drivers, for instance. It has been shown that London cabbies have particularly developed hippocampuses - the part of the brain that is associated with space and memory. The connection is easy to make: years of needing to remember specific addresses and spacial directions can make you really good at it! Ballet dancers have also been shown to exhibit neuroplasticity, but for them it comes in the form of diminishing a part of the brain instead of enhancing it. Ballet dancers' brains are able to "learn" to suppress signals from their inner ears, in order to stop them from getting dizzy with all their spins and twirls! How cool is the brain!

Yet neuroplasticity can have its downside: it might be involved in why habits are so hard to break. This includes addiction, and one study showed that the brains of mice given cocaine changed in as little as two hours, making the mice actively seek out the drug.

However, don't fear! The cool part about nueroplasticity is that you can train your brain in the ways you want, focusing on certain characteristics or skills you would like to improve and doing activities in order to encourage a change!
About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
NOV 07, 2020
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
Researchers have identified an exoplanet that appears to have an atmosphere composed of vaporized rock and oceans runnin ...
FEB 06, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Why Does Saturn Tilt?
FEB 06, 2021
Why Does Saturn Tilt?
Two scientists from France have figured out why Saturn sits at a tilt. And they say that over the next few billion years ...
JUN 28, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Yeast Engineered to Produce Biofuel from Previously Unusable Biomass
JUN 28, 2021
Yeast Engineered to Produce Biofuel from Previously Unusable Biomass
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found a way to expand biofuel production with geneticall ...
JUL 16, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Melting Mountain Glaciers in Asia Release Greenhouse Gas
JUL 16, 2021
Melting Mountain Glaciers in Asia Release Greenhouse Gas
High mountain glaciers that are melting in the Tibetan plateau in Asia contain greenhouse gases and should be counted in ...
JUL 23, 2021
Neuroscience
Does the Rise of Neurotech Spell the End of Humanity as We Know it?
JUL 23, 2021
Does the Rise of Neurotech Spell the End of Humanity as We Know it?
Researchers from Imperial College London have written an overview of currently available commercial brain-computer inter ...
OCT 15, 2021
Health & Medicine
The Art of the Smize: Study Shows Eyes are More Active in Smiling Behind a Mask
OCT 15, 2021
The Art of the Smize: Study Shows Eyes are More Active in Smiling Behind a Mask
Mask wearing has become a part of our everyday lives. Something that we have all adapted to because of this is expressin ...
Loading Comments...