Neuroplasticity is the ability for the neurons in our brains to grow and shrink as necessary in response to using certain neural pathways or shorting the usage of other neural pathways.
For example, in an interview conducted by Nancy K Dess on Norman M. Weinberger, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California at Irvine, on the role of music in brain function, people who play music show physical changes in their brain. Specifically in regards to left hand players verses right hand players. (Though, not referring to the creative brain.)
NKD: “Does musical experience shape the human brain?”
NMW: “It seems to. For example, the cortical representation of digits 2 to 5 on the left hand of string players is greater than for the right, suggesting that musical experience does influence the brain.” – PT
(Psychology Today Review.)
Neuroplasticity is not only huge in all learning, but particularly interesting with language learning. Because young kids have a more malleable brain than adults, young kids who learn a second language have more gray matter.
“Plasticity can also be observed in the brains of bilinguals. It looks like learning a second language is possible through functional changes in the brain: the left inferior parietal cortex is larger in bilingual brains than in monolingual brains.
Those who learned a second tongue at a younger age were also more likely to have more advanced gray matter than those who learned later.” – Neuroplasticity: An Extraordinary Discovery of the Twentieth Century With these two examples you can see how the theory of neuroplasticity has broad applications in many areas of our lives. This is hugely a part of how we learn and pick up new skills. It is important to apply these skills otherwise the brain will get rid of information that hasn’t been used. If you aren’t using your brain at all, you will be more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
“A healthy brain should be like the jungle, with a tremendous number of synaptic connections. This is referred to as synaptic density and is a direct measure of brain reserve. A brain should not look like the island with one palm tree. The reason is simple. Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia will invade the brain and begin to cut down the neurons and synaptic connections, like a weed-whacker cutting through the weeds around your house.- Neuroplasticity: An Extraordinary Discovery of the Twentieth Century
As the age old phrase goes, use it or lose it!
(Careers in psychology – Review.)