Thursday, November 15, 2012

Experiences Sculpt Brain

Did you know there is now a wealth of evidence that experiences sculpt both brain and behavior? Recent work in cognitive neuroscience has provided clear evidence that sustained experience changes neural structures. For example:

1. London taxi drivers who engage in sustained direction finding show larger gray matter of posterior hippocampi, with the magnitude of the effect increasing with experience, suggesting experience to be the causal mechanism

2. Canadian postal workers spend thousands of hours sorting postal codes by letters and numbers jointly, and this experience changes categorical representation of these two symbolic systems into a single more unitary system

3. Sustained practice in learning to juggle increases the volume of cortical tissue in the bilateral mid-temporal area and left posterior intraparietal sulcus and the effect generalizes to older adults

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