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STEM Matters: Neuroplasticity- What’s that?
_STEM Matters Mgr: Marisa Ostos_
As we all know, the brain is what helps us experience sound, do a math problem, and even feel a warm hug. Along with having all of these fascinating capabilities, the brain has this wonderful network of firing neurons that helps us to learn new things. How does this work, and what does this have to do with neuroplasticity?
To begin, the brain is made up of a special network of nerve cells called neurons which help to transmit information to our bodies. They work by firing electrical impulses through different sections of the network (different sections of our brain) to help us think, feel, and ultimately experience life. When you hear your favorite song, the sound you hear is transmitted into electrical impulses through the neurons to specific sections of our brain. These electrical impulses via the neural network are at the root of our experience as a sound. So a song heard causes those electrical impulses to fire within the brain, ultimately helping us to feel that feeling of happiness, warmth, familiarity, passion, or even nostalgia that our favorite song can bring to us. Because the brain is made up of these neurons, this network of cells is connected to each other in a certain way.
Because the brain is made up of these neurons, this network of cells is connected to each other in a certain way. However, this doesn’t mean that these connections are set. Each time we experience or learn something new, our brain is being activated in a way that it’s possible for new neural connections to be made. This means that neurons can form new connections to other neurons, connecting different parts of our brains together to help us learn something new! This is what neuroplasticity is all about! Neuroplasticity means that our brain has the ability to form new neural connections, thus helping us to learn and experience something in a brand new way altogether. Let’s give a cheer to our amazing brain and its neuroplasticity capabilities!