Our changing brain

It is incredible how well we work. When we talk about computers, cars, or basically anything, we commonly consider how well we do maintenance at the time of questioning if something is going to last. But when we think about our bodies, we tend to forget that the same rule applies.

This is even more significant when we talk about the brain and the health of the brain. In this post, we are going to talk about our changing brain and one of his most amazing capabilities, neuroplasticity.

Let's start with a working definition. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.[1] That is the best news but is also the worst news possible. Why may you ask? The reason is simple. Our brain changes with everything we do and everything we don’t do. That would be good if we were aware of everything we do, but in reality, we spend most of our time in the equivalent of automatic pilot.

All that social media, facebook, porn, Netflix, etc. is literally rewiring our brain, making us, think, live, and be different. The question that Nicholas Carr asks in his book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, is exactly that. What is all the stuff that we do online doing with our brains? As you would imagine, the answer is not good. Here is the book if you are interested;

Also here is a 49 minutes video of the author commenting his book;

But we are not so much invested on the risk of learning and rewiring badly our brains all day long, but the potential of a good rewiring.

Let's talk about the positives, like learning a new language, which in a 2014 study on the Brain and Language journal has proven to literally increase the actual size of the brain, not only in the areas associated with language learning but in areas associated with what we perceive to be intelligence.[2] One of the interesting facts about it and evidence of the need to be a lifelong learner is that if you learn multiple languages at birth the increase of brain matter is not different from babies which only learned one language. The difference occurs when you learn as an adult. Things like memory, attention span, and decision making are among the skills that improve with learning a new language.[3]

But it is not the only language, learning to play an instrument has proven to help with, both in children’s and adult’s, memory capacity, time management and organizational skills, perseverance, mathematical ability, reading and comprehension skills, concentration, listening skills and promote happiness. [4]

In this video, Lara Boyd speaks about how brain neuroplasticity impacts our daily life.

If you are interested. Please consider this books.

I hope that this has inspired you to keep learning. Thank you for reading.

Bonus video;

Note to the reader.

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2 - [Age of language learning shapes brain structure: A cortical thickness study of bilingual and monolingual individuals, Brain and Language,Volume 131,April 2014, Pages 20-24]