Every time I learn more science I am always fascinated. I always figured complicated processes were driven by even more complicated "parts." Yet, it is amazing how very basic laws and ideas can produce a very complex system. Take the nervous system as an example. The brain and nervous system combined is arguably the most complex machine in the world. It retains memories, makes new memories, develops, changes, and has a vast amount of potential. Yet, in the end, part of the communication process is due to positively and negatively charged ions and electricity. How can something so basic allow for such complex function?
Another amazing concept introduced in the text is the idea of neuroplasticity. The idea that the nervous system can change due to thought, activity, and learning gives every individual the potential to better themselves. It is almost like a "leveling tool." Even though some people are born with extremely high IQs and others with amazing talent for music, maybe there is unknown potential to change what we start with. I wonder, to what extent can we change the brain? Could neuroplasticity be the key to treating learning problems? Finding treatments for neurological disorders? Is there a limit to this seemingly unlimited potential for improvement?
I am very excited to see what future research will find. How will both current and new research take advantage of this opportunity? Maybe it will start in education or medicine and become widespread. Take a look at the Arrowsmith school in Canada. It utilizes this idea to help with learning! (check out the video at http://www.arrowsmithschool.org/video-broadband.htm)
The woman who founded this school was Barbara Arrowsmith. She herself had many challenges to overcome including poor spatial understanding, a poor working memory, and a difficult grasping concepts. She applied her research on neuroplasticity to improve her life. She even utilized Donald Hebb's theory in which neurons that fire wire together along with the idea of use to improve it. Overall, her approach to therapy is to utilize the parts of the affected brain area to strengthen its original function.
After improving her learning ability she founded the Arrowsmith School and is helping kids overcome their learning setbacks. This is a great example of how science and psychology can drastically improve people's lives.