Neuroplasticity & Games

WHAT STIMULATES NEUROPLASTICITY?

Neurons (nerve cells) connect or reconnect and change the brain’s structure and function when they are stimulated through repeated input. That input can be physical, sensory or mental, depending on what we are trying to learn.

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Think about what is required to learn a new skill:

  • To speak a new language, the inputs are the sounds, cadence, vocabulary, and grammar. These inputs must be practiced frequently and consistently over an extended time to be able to achieve fluency.

  • To play a musical instrument, the inputs are the physical sensation of the keys or strings, the pressure required to produce the right sound, the correlation of the notes to the sound and rhythm, and the coordination of putting it all together. Again, it takes repeated practice (connecting and reconnecting neurons), persistence and refinement to learn to play.

  • We chose to use word games to encourage stimulation of the neural cortex.  We tried Bingo and Crossword but landed on Word-Find which is easier to post in our weekly web page updates, and uses terminology of the topic discussed for each episode.

 

Just as you exercise your body, you must exercise your brain to keep it healthy. Keeping your brain growing and learning requires real effort and real engagement. And repetition. Repeated practice can set you on an upward spiral, with the joy of the effort and the results spurring you to continue to try.

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