Through many decades, the scientific community considered the brain function as fixed and specialized. It was an irreversible fact that creating brain cell connections were only present between the ages two and three years old, and everything beyond that is null for the development of the brain. In addition, scientists also believed that as time passes by, neuronal connections within the brain starts to dissipate, and it is inevitable.

These scientific constructs slowly created a culture that encourages a mentality of stagnation in the early 1970s. During those times, people believed that their brain function is fixed and neuronal damages are irreparable. Therefore, only a few tried to continually develop their brain capabilities and majority of the population halted self development.

However, a neuroscientist from California named Michael Merzenich performed a research study about neuroplasticity—a phenomenon that explains brain modification with use, that bring forth contemporary neuroscience and revolutionized the twentieth century. In this study, scientists discovered that the average mature brain continues to generate brain cell connections through a process called neurogenesis, a complete opposite of the scientific knowledge accepted by scientists.

Despite a series of questioning from skeptics and experiencing hostile treatment, after discovering an enormous breakthrough in neuroplasticity, Michael Merzenich provided sufficient sound evidences that led the scientific community to acknowledge the accuracy and reliability of his discovery.

The principle behind Michael Merzenich’s discovery is simple: How we utilize our brain and whether we use it for communal mental activities, greatly influence the formation of brain cell connections in it. Therefore, the more often we deliberately use our brain, the more it generates new connections that literally translates to knowledge and skills. This scientific discovery was proven both in young brains and other mature models, regardless of how fast the brain processes information, its accuracy as well as its vulnerability to diseases.

Now, the question is: How does this scientific discovery impacts our generation and those that are to come? The answer lies only on how we take advantage and leverage it. The emergence of neuroplasticity has truly set the scene for 21st century self development. This principle validates the possibility that any individual, as long as they have the will and discipline, can transform and become better in almost every aspect of his life.

With this revolutionary information, the challenge in human development shifted from establishing general knowledge and skills through a sprint into a marathon of continuous learning process that focuses on reconstructing and rewiring the human brain. Indeed, done were the days that human intelligence is considered as unchangeable and rigid. And welcome to the era where the brain is seen as fluid, ever-changing and in a continual state of flux.

On that account, the call to action is to begin remodelling your brain now. Start to resharpen your mental ability and deliberately exercise your intellectual power. Read a great amount of books, listen to podcasts, learn a new language, acquire new skills and engage in active learning. Self development is investing time, effort and energy to yourself, and as how Stephen Covey phrased it:

There is no greater investment.

Stephen Covey

60 thoughts on “You Won’t Believe That Your Brain Can Do This!

  1. Bonjour ce matin, Que le soleil soit rayonnant ou qu’il pleuve

    Le jour nous invite à sourire à s’émerveiller
    Prenons le temps respirer

    Prenons aussi du temps pour nous
    Arrêtons -nous quelques instants pour mieux repartir

    Je vous offre ces quelques mots de douceur avec gratitude
    De bonne humeur en éclats d’énergie , telles des pépites de vie

    Que leurs bienfaits rejaillissent sur vous
    Belle journée à tous et à votre famille

    Prenez soin de vous Bisous
    Bernard

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Neuroplasticity is where it’s at for me personally. After a mild traumatic brain injury, I was seen by one neurologist, who told me if I was like this in 6 months, I’d be like “this for good”. It was a bad state to be in. It took me twenty for hours to understand what he meant. My brain was not well at all. Two months on a vist to my eye doctor changed my life for the better. She sent me to the local medical center that specializes in Brain Injury and the helped me with their neuroplasticity program. The team Explained to me that the other neurology clinic did not believe the brain can heal. They gave me the help and therapy I needed. I worked hard over the years to recover as much as possible. A book that has good information is “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Dr Norman Doidge. This book gives information that is easy to understand. It talks about neuroplasticity research and examples of the therapy that will help the brain recover from stroke, brain injury, and other types of brain injury. Minnesota has three brain injury centers that people come to from other states for treatment. Thanks for doing this post on neuroplasticity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry to hear that. I am thankful, however, that you appreciate this blog post. I will try to read that book that you are telling me to know more about the topic. May the conxept of neuroplasticity bring light to you and I hope everything will turn out fine soon. After all, these are things that are proven and I know it can happen to you too! Take care and keep safe always.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. All the best for you too.. Many aged people would think that they are unable. There are many young people that think the same. The key is for anyone to decide to apply them self to a given task that will enhance their thinking ability

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Elijah,
    I enjoyed reading about the history of neuroplasticity. I had the opportunity to perform some research into alcohol and neuroplasticity, and our lab found that binge level alcohol consumption in adolescence led to higher risk factor for weak neuroplasticity in adulthood.

    This led me to thinking about how we’ve socialized substance abuse in our society- despite research on its detrimental effects on the brain in late adulthood.

    What’s your take on how we can better apply research to reflect in our social institutions what we understand through science?

    An example of my question would be: we understand that gender differences in psychology cannot exist outside of a cultural vacuum. Why do we fight so hard to maintain gender roles rooted in our historical, not contemporary, understanding of gender differences in psychology, even though we have this newfound understanding?

    Excited to hear your thoughts about how we can better implement our comprehension of these topics in our social institutions.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Abed, may I call you using that name? I just did, I’m sorry.

      By the way, thank you for sharing your research findings about neuroplasticity. In a way, I am privileged because I don’t drink alcohol nor abuse any other substances and with that, I hope I still get strong brain connections as I grow old.

      Now, answering your thought provoking question, honestly, it had me thinking. Well, it’s sad to see people somehow bypass these knowledge accepted by science. And I think this is where the concept of conditioning takes place. I personally believe that culture is more powerful than knowledge. Somehow, these sociocultural norms and beliefs were deeply ingrained to us by society, that it always led us to act in accordance to it.

      But, if you were to ask me how we can apply it in our social institutions: I suggest that educating people about it can really be a great help, but of course in a way that we reinforce it and highlight the positive things that they can get from it. Usually, people try to control actions by reinforcing fear but I think it won’t be as effective than the prior. Also, we can utilize social constructs as well. An example of this is by giving social incentives that somehow can help motivate an individual to continue pursuing an action adhering to the knowledge that we want to introduce to them. This is effective especially when the society is involved and the social pressure increases as well.

      These are my humble opinions and thank you for stopping by! It means a lot to me.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Thanks for the prompt response. I’m particularly interested in socialized and institutionalized norms that oppress individuals based on race or gender, which are perpetuated by concepts like androcentrism in psychology research. The purpose of my question was because I’m as uninformed about these issues as I am political implementation of programs and laws that can combat such oppressions. Looking forward to more of your blog and how I can learn from your informed perspective.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I am happy to help you, as I am learning as well. I am amazed by your queries regarding the field and I can see your enthusiasm with your contents. Thank you and I also look forward to what I can learn more in the area of your interest through your blogs.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Hi, It is true that neuroplasticity can be enhanced regardless of age, provided we take care of our bodies. This would include avoidance of substance abuse of any kind. I have a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology and have worked in both Mental Health and Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Settings. I observed first-hand the damage that can be done to the brain due to substance abuse. Many substances that alter brain cognition and function destroy brain cells. When this is done repeatedly over a long period of time, the damage is cumulative. The more brain cells destroyed, the lower the likelihood of being able to restore that function.
        Also, with regard to gender differences observed in brain plasticity, it is a known fact that self-fulfilling prophecy creates results that are expected. If we have low expectations of ourselves, we will perform much lower than our abilities. Those expectations are ingrained differently into gender divisions, thus they show different results as we age. The only way to overcome this is to teach both genders of equal abilities to aspire to higher knowledge. I read a quote once. I am not sure I can remember it exactly, but it was in Reader’s Digest in — i believe November 1987. It said, “I am consistently expected to perform higher than I believe I can perform. Therefore, I consistently perform higher than I believe I can.” This is pretty close to the wording. It expresses how gender differences projected during instruction are among the greatest reasons the differences increase as we age.
        Personally, I have learned that how much I can expand my brain function is limited only by my unwillingness to attempt that expansion. I am of the older generation, and I know first hand that neuroplasticity or neurogenesis — whatever term one chooses to use — can continue to expand as long as we live, if we eat a healthy diet and make a consistent effort to learn and to create with that learning.
        I have enjoyed reading. Thank You!

        Liked by 4 people

      4. Hi tkbrownwriter, this is an absolutely cool insight! Thank you for sharing your first hand experience with us. Perhaps, it is amazing to witness it through the field that you really are passionate about. And yes, I am happy for you because you can take advantage of this information even if you are in your old age. I once read a book entitled Boundless Potential, dedicated to people at their prime years and it reminded me that you are not limited by your age. Go get those neuronal connections on!

        Thank you for reading and I hope only the best for you. Keep safe.

        Liked by 3 people

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