The common held belief was that the brain was a physiologically static network of neurons, and once programmed it was very difficult to change or reprogram after childhood.
Today this belief has been rapidly replaced with an understanding that the brain is ‘plastic’ and ‘malleable’. Neuroplasticity of the brain (also known as cortical re-mapping) refers to the ability of the human brain to change as a result of one’s experience.
This is good news for us as human beings, because it means we can change and replace ideas, thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve us, meaning we can change the way we interpret the world around us.
No longer are we stuck in a place that we don’t want to be, or living a life that is far below our potential, we can, through our experiences create new connections within the brain to help us to achieve our goals, defeat disease, break bad habits and live a fuller healthier life.
One of the main principles of how neuroplasticity works is based upon the fact, that the connections within the brain are constantly being removed and recreated. This idea has been encapsulated in the aphorism “neurons that fire together, wire together” and “neurons that fire apart, wire apart”
Today the role of neuroplasticity of the brain is widely recognized in learning, recovery from brain damage, memory, fitness and exercise and the treatment of learning difficulties.
Many years of research have found that substantial changes take place in the lowest neocortical processing areas, and these changes can greatly alter the pattern of neural activation in response to experience. Experience can and does actually change the brain’s physical structure (anatomy) and functional organization (physiology) from top to bottom.