Can You Design Your Own Brain? Yes, You Can! – Part 1

Posted by: michael  :  Category: DIY Brain Health

In this short series we’re going to look at how you can design your own brain. I bet you didn’t think you could do that, did you?

Well, you can… and why shouldn’t you. I mean we have designer clothes, designer houses, designer this… designer that, so why shouldn’t you have a designer brain too.

But here’s the really exciting part… your designer brain isn’t going to be a designer brand that thousands of others have. It will be super-exclusive, so exclusive in fact, that no-one else will have it. It will be unique to you. Now that’s what I call “designer”.

How is it possible for you to design your brain? Well, you see the brain has a remarkable ability to shape itself depending on your experiences. This capacity is known as brain plasticity.

Brain plasticity means that you can grow (or shrink) parts of your brain in accordance with your experiences. So you can literally and deliberately change the shape of your brain and create a designer brain – surely the ultimate DIY project!

So how can you do it?
Let’s get down to work and see how we can create our very own designer brain. We can do that simply by selecting and performing activities that activate the particular areas of the brain we would like to build.

What I’ve tried to do is:
            * Present activities that are known to stimulate the brain
            * Indicate what parts of the brain are activated
            * Suggest why you might want to do the activity.

So, here are some activities for you to consider…

1. Learning to play a musical instrument
Arguably, this is the most effective single activity other than physical exercise for overall brain development. Let’s see if we can find out why…

a)   Reading and interpreting music. This activates the visual cortex. Why would you want to stimulate it? The visual cortex carries out visual processing and detects aspects such as edges, orientation, movement and colour and so is important in how we perceive objects. Examples of the visual cortex at work would be the tracking a ball flying through the air or choosing a ripe apple from the tree in your garden

b)   Moving hands and fingers over instrument. This activates the motor cortex. Why would you want to stimulate it? The motor cortex is involved in planning, coordinating and controlling voluntary movement – these are movements you consciously make as opposed to involuntary movements such as breathing. Examples of voluntary movement include swallowing, shaking hands and so on.

c)   Getting in tune. Processing and adjusting pitch and melody so that the tune sounds as it should, activates the auditory cortex. Why would you want to do that? The auditory cortex has a key role in processing and understanding sounds. If it is not functioning properly sounds would be jumbled and difficult to understand.

d)   Getting the fingers in the right place at the right time. This activates the parietal lobe. Why would you want to stimulate it? The parietal lobe coordinates information received from the senses particularly visual information and it aids in tasks like instructing attributes such as hands and fingers to be there where and when they are required.

e)    The touch of the instrument. The feel of the instrument stimulates the sensory cortex. Why would you want to do that? The sensory cortex processes information from the senses such as the eyes, nose, ears, touch and temperature. If the sensory cortex is not functioning efficiently you could, for example, fail to realise that you’ve just picked up a very hot object that is actually burning your hand.

f)      Getting the timing and note order right. This activates the pre-motor cortex. Why would you want to do that? The pre-motor cortex is important in providing sensory guidance and in control of various muscles. If your pre-motor cortex is not functioning properly you might, for example, find it difficult to plan and coordinate activities that require the use of two hands like tying your shoe-laces..

g)    Bringing it all together. This activates the frontal lobe. Why would you want to do that? The frontal lobe is important in planning and coordinating activities. It is also considered to be the emotional control centre. In the latter regard, the frontal lobe when functioning efficiently helps you control your emotions  and act rationally in situations, for example, that might arouse anger. When the frontal lobe function is impaired it may prove difficult to get motivated or do tasks that have multiple steps such as organizing a party or even cooking  a meal without missing out one of the steps.

2. Learning a second language
It’s never too late to learn a second language, although you would find it easier if you were to start at a young age. Why would you want to learn another language?

Well, it seems that bilinguals have a higher density of grey matter in their parietal lobe. In other words, learning another language altered the grey matter.

Is that good? Yes, maximum brain function requires a high level of interconnectivity among brain neurons. Grey matter is composed of neurons and connections so the more dense it is the more likely it is to effectively perform its role particularly in regard to intellectual function.

There are two areas in the brain that deal specifically with the speaking and understanding of language, however there are several other parts of the brain involved as well. The areas are Broca’s area which is responsible for motor functions linked to speaking such as movement of the tongue and mouth and Wernicke’s area which is involved in the recognition and comprehension of spoken words.

Other parts of the brain that have involvement in speaking and understanding language include: the anterior temporal lobe, cerebellum, parietal and frontal lobes All in all, learning a second language will give your brain a pretty fair sort of workout that could beef-up your grey matter and by association your IQ.

In Part 2 we’ll continue to look at ways in which you can reshape your brain to the design you want.

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11 Responses to “Can You Design Your Own Brain? Yes, You Can! – Part 1”

  1. Jim Says:

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  3. Rejser til Finland Says:

    OP: I might be daff (lord knows I have been told lol) but that made totally no sense…

  4. michael Says:

    Hi thank you for your frank comment. It is unfortunate that you didn’t understand the intent of the post because the principle involved offers great potential. Perhaps if I give a brief overview it might help clarify things. The basic idea is simply that you can change parts of your brain by undertaking certain activities that stimulate the particular area you are targeting. So by deciding what parts you want strengthen or weaken you can ‘design’ your own brain. I hope that helps. Regards Michael.

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  6. michael Says:

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  11. michael Says:

    We have all the information we need stored in our body’s cells – all we need do is learn how to access it.
    Cheers Michael

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