Is Neuroplasticity Real?

Is Neuroplasticity Real?

The term neuroplasticity” is used to describe the brain ability to change and adapt in response to experience. It often said that neuroplasticity is the key to learning and memory, and it a central feature of brain development.

But what does the evidence actually say? Is neuroplasticity real, or is it just a myth?

Let take a look at the evidence…

Studies in animals have shown that the brain can indeed change in response to experience. For example, rats that are raised in enriched environments (with lots of toys, playmates, and opportunities to explore) have brains that are physically different from rats raised in standard lab environments.

These differences include changes in brain size, neural connectivity, and gene expression. Similarly, studies in humans have shown that things like meditation and juggling can lead to physical changes in the brain.

So yeah, neuroplasticity is definitely real.

But it important to keep in mind that not all changes in the brain are due to neuroplasticity. For example, changes in brain activity during development are mostly due to changes in the number of neurons (a process called neurogenesis”), not neuroplasticity.

And some changes in the brain, like those caused by diseases or injuries, are not under our control. So while neuroplasticity is definitely real, it not always a good thing.

In any case, there still a lot we don’t know about how neuroplasticity works. But as we learn more, we may find ways to use it to our advantage for example, by using brain training exercises to improve cognitive performance.

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