Neuroplasticity (or brain plasticity) is a term used to describe the neural changes in neural pathways caused by changes in body injury, thinking patterns, emotions, environment and behavior.1
Scientists use to think that the brain was relatively unchangeable after childhood. However, scientists now know that the brain is always changing by the modifying of connections that exist between neurons well into adult hood.2 The term Neuroplasticity replaced the former idea.
Neuroplasticity can happen on micro or macro levels. Beginning with molecular changes caused by learning or even large-scale cortical changes that actually remap the brain, such as from brain injury. Studies show that environment and cognition can alter the connectivity of neurons.3
Not only can the brain change throughout adulthood, but even believing that it can change makes it change quicker! According to a 2007 study by Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck, students that had suffering math scores were divided into two groups. One group was taught proper studying skills, while the other group was taught about the brain and how it can change, remap and rewire. They were told that because of the neuroplasticity of the brain, that they could increase their intelligence.
The group that was just taught about the brain’s neuroplasticity, increased intelligence beyond the group that was taught studying habits!4