Brain exercise: how is this possible?

braintop These 3 pictures represent a simplified image of brain activity taken from right above our heads, with our Frontal Lobes at the top of each image. Dark color indicates most activity, light color some activity. (Basic brain anatomy here).

The 3 images show the brain activity happening in 3 different moments in time when one person is doing exactly the same thing.

Question: How is that possible? how come we don’t see the activation of the same areas?

The Answer appears as a Comment below. Credit: The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger As Your Brain Grows Older book, by Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg.

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6 Comments »

  1. Alvaro said

    In short, the image to the left shows what happens when the person is encountering, doing, that activity for the first time. The middle one shows what happens when the person is internalizing the new skill/ knowledge, still in transition. The image to the right shows what happens when the person is doing exactly the same task as in the 2 other figures, but that task is already familiar, learned, not novel anymore.

    You can read a good overview online, by Dr. Sylwester, here:
    http://www.brainconnection.com/content/216_1/printable

    Some quotes:

    “Goldberg provides considerable research evidence to argue that the right hemisphere (in most humans) is organized principally to process novel challenges, and the left hemisphere familiar routines. For example we process strange faces principally in our right hemisphere, and familiar faces in the left. Musically naïve people process music principally in their right hemisphere, trained musicians in the left.”

    “He argues that although both hemispheres are active in processing most cognitive functions, the relative level of involvement shifts from the right to the left hemisphere over time, and with increased familiarity and competence. The exploratory right hemisphere is thus organized to rapidly and creatively respond to a novel challenge, but the more stable processing systems in the left hemisphere eventually transform the successful initial responses into an efficient established routine that we activate whenever the challenge (or something close to it) reoccurs.”

  2. […] See some brain images that explain the process of learning a new skill, from what happens when we first encounter it, to what is going on while we are internalizing it in a transition mode, to what happens once it is familiar thanks to practice. […]

  3. eleanor said

    fascinating

  4. […] See some brain images that explain the process of learning a new skill, from what happens when we first encounter it, to what is going on while we are internalizing it in a transition mode, to what happens once it is familiar thanks to practice. […]

  5. […] Using your brain to solve creative challenges is excellent practice and will help slow down the effects of aging. The limitation with your current brain workout program is that it does not have enough variety or novelty to work out all your mental muscles. Have you ever seen the guys in the gym with the buff upper bodies supported by little chicken legs? The same thing can happen in your brain. Just as you crosstrain in your physical fitness routine (mixing cardio with strength training and flexibility) to get a balanced workout, you need to crosstrain your mental fitness to exercise your brain through motor coordination, emotional understanding, memory, focus and attention, sensory communication, language skills, and mental visualization. […]

  6. […] some brain images that explain the process of learning a new skill, from what happens when we first encounter it, to what is going on while we are […]

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