Brain plasticity or neuroplasticity refers to the ability of the brain to change according to the various happenings in everyday life. Until 1960, it was thought that the human brain stopped developing after infancy and all the changes up to childhood were permanent after which no further change can occur.

This idea was rejected when researchers showed the evidence of neuroplasticity. It is actually cortical re-mapping which occurs due to alterations in the thought process and behavior as a result of different experiences that one has.

The brain possesses the remarkable ability to remodel and recreate the neuronal pathways and circuits and as result bring about a change in the behavior. Researches have shown that there are four key facts about the neuroplasticity and how it brings about a change in the behavior.

  • Neuroplasticity tends to vary with age. Although it is a continuous process, certain changes are more marked and predominant during specific life stages.
  • It involves a variety of processes. It is a continuous occurring throughout life and involves cells other than neurons, like the glial cells and the vascular cells.
  • It can happen for two different reasons, either as a result of learning, experience and memory formation or as a result of damage to the brain.
  • Environment plays an essential role in bringing about this change, but genetics also have a predominant influence.

On an average, the adult brain has a fewer number of synapses as compared to that of an infant. This happens due to constant remodeling and rewiring of the brain. As we gain new experiences, some connections are strengthened while the weaker ones are eliminated. This is called synaptic pruning. Neurons that are used frequently develop stronger connections while the weaker ones are pruned out. This is how the brain is able to adapt to the changing environment. Similarly the daily activities bring about a change in the behavior and person is able to cope up with this constant change due to this remarkable ability of the brain.

Changes in cognitive functioning and daily activities:

As people age, they change in a myriad of ways, both biologically and psychologically. Alterations in the brain structure and function are intimately tied to changes in cognitive functioning.

This, however, is not a simple process and occurs over a period of time due to repeated exposure to similar situations. In this way the brain alters the way it behaves and changes the way it thinks in those scenarios providing the best possible solution.

Although the relationship between brain and cognition is a dynamic one, and may change across the lifespan, the changes in both of them are closely inter-related and cannot take effect without the support of the other. Decision making seems to be a domain that makes clear demands on processing resources, but in daily life routine those demands may be reduced by life-relevant knowledge and expertise in the problem solving domain.  This is brought about by executive control on all the domains of life.

Executive control is a multi-component construct that consists of a range of different processes that are involved in planning, organization, co-ordination, implementation and evaluation of all of our routine activities. Therefore, all the activities of daily life whether simple tasks like eating, sleeping and taking a shower to complex ones like solving problems, planning organizations and making strategies are under the control of cognition and changes can be brought about in them according to the different situations and how the brain responds to them.

 

 

Article Author: Smiljan Mori is the founder of MindOver™ Network, Brilliant solutions for Performance, Motivation and Happiness. He is also the creator of Big U Academy, , the Kitepreneur NetworkTM and Kitepreneur Lifestyle Academy. He has literally created a successful business and coaching empire from scratch and is a best-selling author and motivational speaker who brings unparalleled professional experience and the latest scientific research from neuroscience and positive psychology to audiences around the globe. He has shown more than 150,000 people from 50 countries how to change their lives for the better.

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Motivaction For Life by Smiljan Mori

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