We Answer Your Brain-Boosting Neuroplasticity Questions
“Neurons that fire together, wire together. Neurons that fire apart, wire apart.”
What is neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity can be described as the ‘muscle building’ part of your brain. These brain ‘muscles’ can build and get stronger over time. By reinforcing our neural pathways and creating new connections, we’re capable of strengthening our neural pathways and therefore our neuroplasticity. All thanks to our super-dynamic brains.
Have you noticed how certain characteristics you thought you’d always have, have in fact shifted and changed? Or perhaps you’re 40 and you now think differently to when you were 30. As a result of new experiences, continual learning and constant adaptation, we are tweaking our brain’s structure and shifting/changing/strengthening our neuroplasticity. Ultimately changing the way our brain works.
If we stop using certain parts of our brain, the strengthening can stop, which can potentially stifle that area of the brain and even stop it working. If we keep using all areas of our brain, then technically there should be less chance of ‘losing it.’
“Neuroplasticity is at work throughout life. Connections within the brain are constantly becoming stronger or weaker, depending on what is being used.”– Brain Works
What’s a quick definition of neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity = your brain’s ability to shift and alter like plastic, as a result of new experiences and learning.
And a longer definition?
“Neuroplasticity is a continuous processing allowing short-term, medium-term, and long-term remodelling of the neuron synaptic organization, with the aim of optimizing the functioning of neural networks during phylogenesis, ontogeny, and physiologic learning, and following brain injury.”– Science Direct
What other terms can be used to describe neuroplasticity?
- Brain plasticity
- Neural plasticity
Who discovered neuroplasticity?
Michael Merzenich played a key part in the discovery of neuroplasticity. He set out to prove that the brain was 100% fixed and could not alter in the way that neuroplasticity proves otherwise. His findings proved his thesis was wrong and neuroplasticity is very much in existence.
William James first applied the term “plasticity” to certain behaviours in 1890 in The Principles of Psychology, however, it seems the first person to use the term ‘neural plasticity’ appears to have been the Polish neuroscientist Jerzy Konorski.
How are neuroplasticity and growth mindset related?
Neuroplasticity has shown time and time again that the brain can change and adapt. So when it comes to growth mindset, they organically go hand in hand. There’s potential to strengthen neurological pathways by practicing an activity again and again, allowing the brain to restructure itself. Leaders are often found to have a growth mindset which is mimicked by their followers. If you’re someone with a growth mindset, always looking to learn and develop, then your brain’s plasticity may be flexing as you read this article!
What are neuroplasticity games?
Neuroplasticity games or brain training games are designed with the aim to potentially improve and boost cognitive function. Whether you’re boosting your memory, enhancing your reaction time or improving your mood; brain training games can be a great tool to flex your neuroplasticity. Peak – Brain Training games are an example of science-backed games designed with your brain in mind.
A handful of Peak’s games are designed by in-house scientists who collaborate with top neuroscientists and universities to create games which may help improve your neuroplasticity.
Can neuroplasticity increase IQ?
IQ tests are standardized to a median score of 100 and a deviation of 15. If your score is above 130 you’re in the top 2.1% percentile (go you.) So when it comes to increasing your IQ, what role does your neuroplasticity have to play? As mentioned earlier, your brain’s plasticity can be flexed and reinforced by many things, including practicing something on repeat, trying new things and gaining new experiences. As a result, connections in the brain are strengthening and can potentially boost your IQ.
Can you increase neuroplasticity?
There are many theories and methods which have been shown to potentially boost neuroplasticity and these include:
- Intermittent fasting
- Reading books
- Quality sleep
- Limiting stress
- Exercise and movement
- New experiences like travelling
- Memory training games/devices
- Learning to play an instrument
- Using your non-dominant hand
Do you have any in-depth definitions of Neuroplasticity?
“Plasticity: The brain’s ability to adapt by creating new or modifying existing neural connections. The capability of the brain to exhibit plasticity is important after an injury in order to compensate for any acquired deficits.”– David Eagleman, renowned neuroscientist
“Your brain has the ability to regenerate and heal itself through a process known as neuroplasticity. You can grow new brain neurons; create new, positive, and productive brain pathways; and enlarge the parts of your brain that helps you think clearly so that you view life stressors as manageable challenges rather than insurmountable threats.”– Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., practicing psychologist
Whether you’re learning a new language, mastering a new hobby, navigating a new relationship, grappling with a new job, or starting a mediation practice, your brain’s process of building and unbuilding is at work. You’re adding capacity to the neural circuits you’re using the most actively, whilst old ones whither away… Eventually, whole regions of the brain that are being actively used start to gain mass.”– Dawson Church, Ph.D.