It’s quite incredible to consider the amazing capacity of your brain, known as plasticity, to grow new neurons on an as needed basis, and to indefinitely renew and restructure itself. In Part I, we considered one way the brain adapts to change by strengthening present behaviors.
In this post we discuss what goes on when you adjust or expand your habits, either consciously or subconsciously. A second way your brain adapts to change is when it:
It’s no secret. You have an ability to make big or small adjustments to current behaviors. What does this mean for your brain, however?
- To adapt to modifications, the brain connects existing neurons in new ways.
When you modify an existing behavior, internally, your brain adapts to the adjustment by growing new synaptic terminals. This rewiring allows the neurons associated with the behavior to connect in different ways, adding new connecting pathways between neurons, while also strengthening some of the existing neural connections.
This ability for change makes it easy for you to adjust or expand behaviors in different directions, and to transfer a set of skills learned in one situation to another similar yet perhaps more challenging one. For example:
- The more languages you know, the less effort it takes to learn other languages.
- The mastery of one athletic endeavor, i.e., water skiing, makes it easier to learn a similar one, i.e., snow skiing.
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