Top 15 Insights About Neuroplasticity, Emotions and Lifelong Learning

What does mod­ern brain and mind science have to offer to improve edu­ca­tion, health and qual­ity of life? Here you have some of the most pop­u­lar high­lights about neuroplasticity, emotion and cognition from my book The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fit­ness, cour­tesy of the thou­sands of read­ers enjoy­ing and anno­tat­ing the Kin­dle edi­tion of the book.

Which of these high­lights sur­prise you the most? Why?

  1. "Emo­tion is the sys­tem that tells us how impor­tant some­thing is. Atten­tion focuses us on the impor­tant and away from the unim­por­tant things. Cog­ni­tion tells us what to do about it. Cog­ni­tive skills are what­ever it takes to do those things."

  • "Work­ing mem­ory is the type of mem­ory that allows us to both hold infor­ma­tion in mind and work on it as needed."
  • "The cen­tral con­cept in this new approach is neu­ro­plas­tic­ity, the brain's life­long capac­ity to change and rewire itself in response to the stim­u­la­tion of learn­ing and expe­ri­ence. This includes both the life­long abil­ity to cre­ate new neu­rons -- neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis -- and to cre­ate new con­nec­tions between neu­rons -- synaptogenesis."
  • "Con­trol­ling and man­ag­ing emo­tion (includ­ing stress and anger) is cru­cial for per­form­ing suc­cess­fully in anything."
  • "Some­times our hypoth­e­sis will be right, and some­times it will be wrong. The fear of failing, the fear of looking not smart, is a key obstacle to learning that I see too often, especially with people who want to protect perceived reputations to such an extent that they do not let themselves try new learning cycles."
  • "...a healthy brain is a brain that has the right amount of plasticity: not too much and not too little..."
  • "Med­i­ta­tion is one of the tech­niques to change both brain activ­ity and struc­tures, and may give us unique con­trol over atten­tion by pro­mot­ing broad­en­ing and focus."
  • "Learn­ing is phys­i­cal. Learn­ing means the mod­i­fi­ca­tion, growth, and prun­ing of our neu­ronal net­works, through experience."
  • "... true brain fitness refers to having the brain functionality -- cognitive, emotional, executive -- required to thrive in the environment we face each day."
  • "The only leisure activity that has been associated with reduced brain function is watching television. This has been shown, for instance, by one study which followed more than 5,000 individuals, aged 55 years and older, for 5 years."
  • "A consequence of the brain's plasticity is that the brain may change with every experience, thought and emotion, from which it follows that you yourself have the potential power to change your brain with everything that you do, think, and feel. So brain fitness and optimization are about much more than crossword puzzles and blueberries; they are about cultivating a new mindset and mastering a new toolkit that allow us to appreciate and take full advantage of our brains' incredible properties."
  • "In every field, elite performers devote more time to practice than to the actual performance. To perform at the highest level, you need to protect and optimize practice and learning time."
  • "We need to expand our vocabulary: 'IQ' and 'memory' do not encompass all of the brain's functions. The brain is composed of neuronal networks serving distinct functions, including various types of memory, but also language, emotional regulation, attention, planning, and many others. This is important because our life and productivity depend on the functionality of all these brain functions, not just one."
  • "... the more a network of neurons is activated (e.g., the more often the neurons fire together), the stronger the connections become. If a network supporting a brain function is repeatedly stimulated through practice and training, it will become stronger, contributing to the optimization of that brain function... the less a network of neurons is activated the weaker the connections become, and weak connections end up dying. This accounts for the popular idea 'use it or lose it' -- brain functions that are not stimulated end up losing their efficiency since the neural networks supporting them weaken or dissipate."
  • "Physical activity and physical exercise are different ... Physical exercise (e.g. swimming) refers to the effortful activity of particular parts of our bodies. While both may bring benefits, it is clearly physical exercise that helps build capacity and muscle strength. It is thus physical exercise that contributes to staying physically fit. This is the kind of exercise that also brings brain benefits."
  • As you can see, much food for thought, and much room to start transferring these findings and concepts from research labs into our daily lives.

    To Learn More:

  • Read the book's first chap­ter free Here (click on but­ton Read first chap­ter free)